As our state continues to take steps to reopen safely, Special Olympics New York has developed a Return to Activities plan. The most important priority reflected throughout this plan is the health and safety of all of our participants: athletes, Polar Plungers, Unified partners, coaches, volunteers, family members, caregivers and staff.

Special Olympics New York has established a Return to Activities plan developed in close partnership with Special Olympics International and in compliance with federal and state guidelines. In-Person activities will be carried out in accordance with these guidelines and only as long as it continues to be safe to do so.

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Polar Plunge COVID Safety Plan

Instead of large groups congregating and plunging at once, we have restructured the event so that each team will have a personalized Polar Plunge experience in a controlled and safe environment. Polar Plunge waves will be assigned by team and be compliant with the CDC event guidelines and NYS Governors orders. All spectators and volunteers will be required to wear masks. Plungers will be asked to wear masks up until plunge time.

Signage will be up throughout the venue with social distancing and safety reminders. Rolling PA announcement will also be made throughout the event.

For 2021 there will not be a large tent or large gathering space for participants to congregate. The events will be in an open air environment. For some venues there will be a registration cap.

Registration Process

At Outdoor Registration Check In:

All participants will be required to sign a digital waiver upon online registration to limit contact on the event day. Online fundraising will be strongly encouraged, if participants have offline donations they will be asked to mail to the office prior to the event. If cash and checks are brought to the event they will be placed into an envelope, sealed and processed in a safe and contained environment after the event.

A volunteer, wearing a mask and gloves, will check in each participant and verify their registration from a paper spreadsheet. For participants who raise the minimum fundraising threshold they will pick up a green bracelet for those who do not they will get a yellow bracelet. Participants will then take their sweatshirt from the sweatshirt table sorted by size. Volunteers who organize sweatshirts on the tables will be wearing gloves and masks. Hand sanitizer will be available at each registration station and sweatshirt pick up tables.
There will be a separate area/table for those who did not register online. They will need to sign a paper waiver.
Volunteers will be wearing a mask and gloves and pens will be sanitized between uses.

Social Distancing Ambassadors will be on hand in the registration area to ensure proper social distancing. No more than one team will be going through this process at one time.

The Plunge:

Each Polar Plunge Team will be assigned a Plunge time. For example, XXX Team will have a specific time slot for said team only. Teams will not be able to check in until 10 minutes before their assigned plunge time. Upon check in (above process) they will be directed to the beach. Volunteers (social distance ambassadors) will also be on hand to enforce proper social distancing within teams on the way to and on the beach. Depending on State guidelines groups of said mandated number will be able to plunge in one allotted timeframe. If teams are larger than group allotments, they will be split into multiple time slots. Individual participants (not signed up with a team) will be assigned a plunge time as well. Once again, no more than the allotted maximum will be assigned at once. Plunge times will be assigned approximately every 10-20 minutes.
This personalized approach will not only allow for proper social distancing but also give our participants a very exclusive experience in the water with a dedicated photographer.

Divers will be in the water and EMS on hand for each plunge.

Specific to each event:

Bathrooms – If available, only the allotted number of people will be allowed in the bathroom at a time. Both indoor and port-a-potties – volunteers will be on hand to sanitize handles and provide hand sanitizer.
Changing tents/areas: If permitted, one plunge team at a time will be in the changing tents. Surfaces will be wiped down in between groups. Areas will be large enough to ensure proper social distancing. This will be evaluated by location and may not be offered at some venues in 2021.
** Numbers in each wave will be dictated and adjusted based on current NYS Event Guidelines per the Governor.

Many are asking if the plunge is still on? YES!!

Where is plunge being held? Parking is here as well (for this year only):
Sharpe Reservation, Camp Mariah, 436 Van Wyck Lake Rd, Fishkill, NY 12524

What are the times? We will be contacting all team captains as we get closer to the date of plunge, 2/20/21. We will designate times for each team to arrive at Sharpe Reservation. We will only allow groups of 10 at a time and will space accordingly. Each plunge time will be approx 15 minute intervals throughout the day.

We will be reaching out to team captains for their preferable time slots, if available. We will do our best to accomodate your needs. Individuals will also be called to setup a time. 
(If your team is more than 10, you can arrive at the same time, but must break out in groups of 10 after you arrive and park at Camp Mariah).

UPDATE: WE ARE HOLDING AN ALL CAPTAINS VIRTUAL CALL ON THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 11TH AT 6PM. IF CAPTAIN CANNOT ATTEND, PLEASE ASK ANOTHER MEMBER TO PARTICIPATE. INDIVIDUAL PARTICIPANTS WILL ALSO BE ON THE CALL.

Where is parking? This year, parking is at Sharpe Reservation. Please arrive 15 minutes earlier to your plunge time.

We highly recommend teams drive up in GROUPS to Sharpe Reservation. So, please setup a place and time to meet and then drive up to Sharpe together as a group. Thank you!

Are we adhering to COVID regulations: YES!

What will happen when you arrive at Sharpe?

1. Before you enter gate, your temperature will be checked. So if you have any symptoms of COVID, please do not attend.

2. If you do NOT have a temperature, you will be asked to sign two waivers, one for Sharpe Reservation and one for Special Olympics New York.

You will also be given an envelope where you can put your day of donation(s) in (please add your name and total amount of donation(s) on outside of envelope) DO NOT SEAL - We will seal at registration. PLEASE NOTE: Those with $0 day of, will be asked to give a minimum of $25 to plunge that day or you will not be allowed to plunge).

You will then be allowed to pass the gate. Then, follow signs to Camp Mariah and park in the parking lot to the right when you get to Camp Mariah.

3. After arriving, you will be greeted and will be directed to follow signs to registration where you will then hand in your donation envelope (if you have one) and you will also be given a bracelet if you are plunging (must be worn at plunge time).

4. If you raised $100, you will also be given a coupon to get your sweatshirt at the registration area (so if you do not have an envelope, you will go here to get your sweatshirt coupon).

You can get your sweatshirt in the designated sweatshirt area.

5. After registration, you will be escorted to the plunge area.

After plunge, you can then head home - thank you for your support and love you show for our Athletes!

OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION:

Spectators - we will be limiting this to a minimum. If you plan on bringing a spectator, they will have to adhere to all policies as well and will have to be among the 10 per group allowable. NO EXCEPTIONS

NO BUILDING USAGE

NO BATHROOMS

NO CHANGING TENTS

ALL ACTIVITES ARE OUTSIDE, SO PLEASE DRESS APPROPRIATELY

Cedar Hill Photography will be joining us again this year to take photos of everyone this year. Welcome back!

Everyone must wear a mask at all times.

Social distancing is strictly enforced.

Wearing a mask is mandatory when you plunge.

Arrive wearing your bathing suits/plunge costume.

Absolutely NO congregating as to avoid large crowds!

Chris and I want to ensure safety and health are of the utmost priority. I believe you will all agree this is foremost.

We hope you continue to register, and join us in supporting our Athletes who so truly need your support during these trying times.

If you have any questions, please do not hesiate to reach out to us!

Most importantly, please continue to have fun! Just because things are different, it doesn't mean we cannot continue to enjoy and have fun at this event.

Thank you all!

More to follow!
FREEZIN FOR A REASON!

Teresa Gilli, 845-262-6011, tgilli@nyso.org

Chris Hamel - chamel284@gmail.com