Coronavirus Updates and Information

An important announcement regarding Coronavirus/COVID-19 and how it affects Special Olympics Illinois competition/events (UPDATED 5/20)

Special Olympics Illinois continues to take the threat of COVID-19 very seriously. Our number one priority is keeping our athletes, volunteers, families and constituents safe.

We are constantly evaluating data and direction on a daily basis from the CDC, the Illinois Department of Public Health, Governor Pritzker and Special Olympics International to determine what is best for the athletes, volunteers, coaches, families and partners in terms of safety and health. We strive for quality experiences at our competitions and fundraisers. In light of recent information from the State of Illinois, we have decided to put a freeze on training and events through July 6. Given this timing and the training procedures set in place for event preparation by Special Olympics Illinois, State Tennis Championships and Outdoor Sports Festival will be cancelled.

Even though there is a pause on in-person training and events, we will host a Virtual Summer Games. This virtual event will take place Tuesday, June 9 – Sunday, June 14.  Activities are being planned for each day for athletes, coaches, volunteers, and other members of the SOILL community to enjoy. Stay tuned to our social media channels and website for more information as it becomes available. 

Also, at this point, while we are still looking to continue local and regional events in the back half of the year, we need to look at how those competitions take place with relation to State of Illinois guidelines. For example, events may become smaller in nature (50 people or less), possibly requiring them to be run at multiple venues within a Region on the same day. They also may be more focused on individual skills as opposed to team events. As always, we are evaluating and discussing the information on a daily basis and continually re-assessing what immediate future events may or may not look like. We will keep you updated on any further developments as they happen. We look forward to the return of events when possible.

If you have program-related questions, please contact Marty Hickman. For questions related to fundraising, please contact Matt Johnson.

It will require ALL of us taking every precautionary measure to ensure that everyone stays as healthy as possible. Please join us in taking this seriously for the safety of all of our athletes and the safety of our community at large. It’s important that we all stay positive over the next few weeks. We’ll get through this by supporting each other, practicing safe social distancing, checking in on one another, and spreading facts, not fear. Know that we are all in this together.

Special Olympics Illinois, in cooperation with Special Olympics International and the WWE, is introducing a whole new way to exercise at home. The 4-week “School of Strength” session will begin this Sunday, March 22nd. Athletes, Unified Partners, coaches, family members and friends are encouraged to work out to these videos 5 days a week to help you stay fit and reach your goals.  Click here for full details and to access the program information—we look forward to you joining us on this journey!

Additionally, we’ve been sharing “Healthy and Fit Tips” on our website and on our social channels! These tips include resources for mental and physical health.

SOI has prepared a list of frequently asked questions on the topic of virus prevention and control that you can reference. The CDC also has a lot of great information that is updated regularly (including how to avoid contraction of the virus if you are in the group of higher-risk individuals).   If you become aware of anyone in the Special Olympics Illinois family who becomes infected with coronavirus, please immediately alert Dave Breen.

Here are some tips to help make sure we all stay healthy:

  • If you’re feeling even slightly under the weather or you’re running a fever, please stay home. Whether you’re an athlete, coach, family member or volunteer, please don’t put everyone else at risk because you don’t want to miss something. We know missing out isn’t any fun, but taking the chance that someone could get sick because of your actions isn’t fun either.
  • Wash your hands after using the restroom and before eating — do so for AT LEAST 20 seconds.
  • Use a paper towel to turn off the faucet and open bathroom doors, not your freshly-washed hands
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Sneeze or cough into your arm, not your hands
  • Avoid shaking hands and high-fives
  • Avoid drinking from the same cup or bottle as someone else
  • Set up a home training regimen with your local athletes to make sure everyone still stays in shape
  • Keep an eye on our social media accounts over the next week as we work with our athlete-leaders to develop a training plan for our athletes to stay fit in this time without practices
  • For updates on the virus, visit the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention website daily

For all future updates on the virus and how it affects Special Olympics Illinois, please visit

Additional Resources:

Illinois Department of Public Health

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

World Health Organization