Special Olympics Australia –
Information regarding Coronavirus

UPDATE – Thursday 14 May 2020

We are all very keen to return to training, competition and the gifts, skills, and friendship associated with our Special Olympics community.

This week the Federal Government began talking about how we can do this.

The National Cabinet released the “National Principles for the Resumption of Sport and Recreation Activities”, which provides the pathway for a safe return to sport. We have spent the week reviewing these principles.

The Australian Institute of Sport also released their plan to ‘Reboot Sport’. This plan is called the “AIS Framework for Rebooting Sport” and is based on current best evidence, and guidelines from the Australian Federal Government then applied to sport by specialists in sport and exercise medicine, infectious diseases and public health.

These principles and framework will help us figure out how we can safely return to sport.

The timing of when we return to sport will be based on advice from all levels of Government and Public Health Authorities.

This is a complex process across different states and sports.

We will always:

  • Keep the health and wellbeing of our athletes at the centre of every decision.
  • Act to safeguard the entire Special Olympics community, including athletes’ families, carers and supporters.
  • Support national efforts to preserve public health and minimising the risk of community transmission.

Terry Visscher, General Manager Sport Development, and the Special Olympics Sport team are currently working on the plan to return us to sport as safely as possible.

Our plan will include important input from Sport Australia, National Sporting Organisations, State Sporting Organisations and members of Special Olympics State Leadership teams.

As our plans are developed, we will keep you up to date.

We look forward to returning to our ‘new normal’ soon.


Monday 20 April 2020

In line with National and State guidelines, all sports training, competitions and events are cancelled until further notice.

As the global and local situation changes, this decision will be reviewed and updated.

Keep up to date with all the latest information at www.health.gov.au


Friday 20 March 2020

Considering unfolding developments in relation to the Coronavirus, Special Olympics Australia has made the difficult decision to cease all 2020 school program delivery until further notice.

All term 1 school programs are to cease effective immediately. No term 2 programs are to be scheduled or to commence until further notice.

We anticipate returning to normal program delivery from the beginning of Term 3, pending a review of the Coronavirus situation and Australian Government recommendations for the sport and education sectors.

If you would like to discuss any aspect of our school program, please contact Pierre Comis, Head of Schools and Participation.

Download our 'What you need to know' Infographic on Coronavirus


Wednesday 18 March 2020

The situation with coronavirus (COVID-19) is changing rapidly. We are doing all we can to protect our athletes, volunteers, coaches and our Special Olympics community. 

Advice from Special Olympics Inc. (SOI)
We have received notification from SOI which states, “SOI is strongly advising all Regions, Programs, and SOI to cancel all in-person events through 31 May 2020, at which point we will reassess the situation and provide updated guidance”.
This recommendation from SOI is in line with our recommendation made on Friday 6 March 2020 and we urge you and your Special Olympics Club to follow this advice to protect yourselves and others around you.

Impacts on business
All Special Olympics Australia staff have now been asked to telecommute (work from home) with immediate effect and until further notice.
This is also based upon advice from SOI and will ensure that we are limiting the number of people working in our offices and out in the community in order to minimise the risk of exposure.
All staff are available as usual on phone and email. If you need any assistance with membership, events, fundraising, communications or club and state operations, please contact the relevant staff member via 1300 225 762.

Read FAQs and hints and tips on how to maintain physical fitness


Friday 6 March 2020

Considering unfolding developments in relation to the Coronavirus, Special Olympics Australia recommends that our members and clubs postpone all existing training, competitions and other events until further notice.

We recognise the unique context associated with providing services for people with intellectual disabilities and have taken this decision after careful consideration and balancing the benefits, risks and mitigation options.

Special Olympics athletes and their health and wellbeing are at the centre of this decision.

We note that the Australian Government advises the risk in the community is currently very low, but because the outbreak scenario is rapidly changing, and our athletes are vulnerable people, we have made this proactive decision to protect our community.

This recommendation is for any Special Olympics or affiliate event that Special Olympics athletes may attend. This includes planned State Games and multi-sport events.

Importantly, preparation for the scheduled 2020 Junior National Games in October at Launceston will continue in the expectation that the Games will proceed as planned. Teams and athletes attending the Junior National Games should continue with their administrative plans for the Games to proceed but exclude training, competitions and other events.

Events that do not involve Special Olympics athletes will continue as planned with risk mitigation strategies implemented.

We recommend everyone practise good hygiene. Good hygiene measures include:
- washing your hands often with soap and water
- using a tissue and covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze
- avoiding close contact with others, such as touching.

Maintaining physical activity is important to improve health outcomes of Special Olympics athletes. Where possible, physical activity should be continued with additional precautions such as use of good hygiene practises.

We recommend that people remain calm and cautious whilst acting on the best health advice available.

As the global and local situation changes, this decision will be reviewed and updated. We will remain vigilant and focussed on the wellbeing of our athletes and community.


Additional resources can be found -

For the latest advice, information and resources:





Basic protective measures: