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Council Response to COVID-19

Updated 6/7/2021

Supersedes guidance provided on  May 1, 2021

Girl Scouts’ number one priority is the safety and well-being of our members and the families and communities we serve. Before implementing GSUSA’s recommended guidance, please confirm the current federal, state, and local COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions in your region to ensure your council is in compliance. Girl Scouts should always operate within the confines of what is permitted in their specific local region according to governmental public health authorities.

COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions can vary greatly from state to state, from county to county, or even from town to town. Restrictions will also fluctuate in response to COVID-19 transmission risk. Since it is imperative to stay within current local regulations, councils should frequently:

• Check your states’ Department of Health to ensure your jurisdiction is in compliance with its specific statutory norms and laws. List of State Departments of Public Health

• Verify whether or not your state’s governor has implemented any restrictive changes in response to elevated COVID-19 transmission risk: State by State Coronavirus-Related Restrictions

• Survey families for their comfort level with respect to returning to in-person gatherings

• Volunteers should regularly check and follow realtime local and national safety directives

In addition to monitoring state and local guidance it is important that you continue to monitor and implement the appropriate health and safety steps provided by the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

GSUSA has provided COVID-19 safety and health guidance for councils to share with their volunteers, recognizing that the timing of resuming in person troop meetings and activities will vary from state to state and even county to county in certain regions. This guidance is intended to be used for volunteers in conjunction with Safety Activity Checkpoints and according to each council’s individual state and local COVID-19 circumstances which remains fluid.

This guidance is being provided as of the Edition Date above from GSUSA (when a vaccine has not been made readily available to all). Girl Scouts Heart of the South may modify this guidance, from time to time as circumstances change. Please refer to this document from time-to-time to determine recommendations on Girl Scout activities around COVID-19.  Given the constantly changing guidelines in the 3 states and 59 counties that GSHS serves, volunteers should frequently visit this document to stay informed on the most recent recommendations.  Each update supersedes any previously posted information.

GSUSA strongly recommends resuming normal in-person activities only after your state and county have successfully passed its final phase of the re-opening process.

Volunteer Awareness. COVID-19 is an extremely contagious virus that spreads easily in the community. Take all reasonable precautions to limit potential exposure for girls, volunteers, and families.   It is an important time to be a great Girl Scout and demonstrate Girl Scout values.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to change as infection rates rise and fall in different areas. There may be regional differences or developments since this guidance was published. Continue to follow local and national directives. Discuss plans with families.

Pre-screening and Symptoms Check. Prior to in-person troop meetings and activities, all participants should be screened to ensure they are healthy and that they have not experienced symptoms that are associated with COVID-19 in the previous 72 hours, that they have not knowingly been in contact with someone that has exhibited symptoms or has been confirmed positive with COVID-19 and that they have not been to high risk geographical regions; particularly those regions with a 14-day quarantine period. 

Girl Scouts Heart of the South provides a COVID-19 Member Participation Waiver for troops and service units to use for pre-screening.

Volunteers that are planning events should complete pre-screening and symptoms check prior to each in-person gathering. If an attendee answers a question that would indicate a likelihood or a known possibility that they could be a carrier of the virus, they should not be asked to attend the gathering. Please be sensitive to the fact that girls may be experiencing symptoms that are similar but completely unrelated to COVID-19 and not contagious at all, such as headaches, allergies or a pre-existing condition. The goal is to keep the meeting safe from contagion and do the very best to ensure our girls are educated and healthy, not make it unnecessarily difficult or uncomfortable for girls to gather safely.

Restrictions by State. Before implementing these national guidelines, first and foremost: Check local restrictions for small gatherings in the council home state. They could vary greatly from state to state, county to county, or even from town to town. As of this Edition Date state restrictions are still changing. AARP publishes an excellent overview of restriction by state which is updated daily: AARP Coronavirus Restrictions by State. Check your state Department of Health (DOH) to ensure your jurisdiction is in compliance with statutory norms and laws.

The council’s Leadership Centers and Trefoil Trunk Shops are currently closed to the public, but council staff remain ready to serve members and their families. 

If you need assistance there are multiple ways to contact us:

  • Phone: 800-624-4185
  • Email: info@girlscoutshs.org
  • Chat: visit our homepage and look for the icon on the bottom right of the page

Returning to In-Person Troop Meetings and Activities Interim COVID-19 Guidance for Volunteers

Troops and Service Units who wish to resume in-person meetings and activities must submit an Acknowledgement of GSHS COVID-19 Guidelines prior to in-person gatherings taking place. 

Our team has also developed a COVID-19 Member Participation Waiver for any troops who would like a little more peace of mind. This form is not required by the council for in-person activities, but troops are welcome to use it.

Use the following guidelines to help decide how and when to return to troop activities. 

Troop Meetings
Troop Meeting Size

The current suggested maximum is ten people (eight girls and two unrelated adult volunteers). However, check your local restrictions for small gatherings.

If more restrictive than 10 people, follow the local restriction. Restrictions vary greatly from state to state, county to county, and even from town to town--and can frequently change. If a state allows more than ten to gather, utilize all social distancing practices and follow all preventative guidance (such as face coverings).

For large troops, have volunteers stay connected with girls while waiting for a safe time for everyone to gather. Large troops are wonderful, so encourage them to stay together!

Some ideas for volunteers:

  • Host virtual troop meetings (see below).
  • Gather up in smaller groups—such as age-level groups, patrols, or groups of girls with a particular badge they’d like to work on.
Large Gatherings

If your jurisdiction permits larger gatherings, confirm the number of people that are permitted and remind volunteers to allow for proper girl-to-adult ratios. It is strongly recommended to meet outdoors as opposed to indoors, and only when social distancing can be maintained. For more people or large gatherings, when the time is safely appropriate, follow the CDC guidelines: Large Gatherings and Community Events.

Volunteers should get council prior approval before planning any gatherings of more than ten people. Council staff may consider larger group gatherings greater than 10 people after considering the norms in the local region. Answers to the following questions will help guide this decision:

  • Has a successful final phase of re-opening been completed? (several weeks after)
  • Do state and local law permit larger gatherings? How many people permitted?
  • Have schools been re-opened for in-person classes?
  • Is the event indoors or outdoors? (outdoors is safer than indoors provided social distancing is maintained)
  • Can social distancing be maintained?
  • Always follow CDC guidance and all GSUSA guidance available in this document pertaining to large in-person gatherings and/or hosting council events.
Troop Meeting Space

Outdoor spaces where social distancing can be maintained are strongly recommended for meetings when the weather permits. Volunteers should get advance permission from the property owner or the jurisdiction that provides the location.

For meetings held at public facilities, volunteers should contact the facility ahead of time and ask:

  • Is the space cleaned, and touch surfaces (i.e., tabletops, light switches, chairs, etc.) sanitized, at least daily?
  • Who else uses the space (how often, what size is the group)? Is the space cleaned between groups?
  • What type of faucets / soap dispensers are available in the restroom (sensory or manual)?

Then, encourage volunteers to supplement any practices that are less ideal. For example, if the troop arrives after another user group, they should plan to bring sanitizing wipes to get the space ready for their troop. Another example: if faucets are manual, ask volunteers to take some time to show girls how to shut them off with a paper towel and to use paper towels for doorknobs whenever possible.

Meetings may not be held in fitness centers or gyms because the atmosphere in sports facilities is aerosolizing making them a higher risk for contracting virus.

Troop Meetings at Home

GSUSA suggests no meetings in the home out of concern that there would be greater risk of exposure to other family members. In certain exceptional situations and due to the current COVID-19 risk restricting public meeting options, councils may wish to evaluate in-home meetings on a case by case basis, particularly for those troops in rural areas who have regularly and successfully met in the home, have no elderly or immune compromised family members in the home, have been deemed safe beyond a final phase of re-opening and do not have access to a virtual or community-based location option. 

Backyard Meetings

For back and front yard meetings, make sure that the grounds are completely safe for children. For example, be careful that pools are fenced or otherwise safely sectioned off. The same goes for any equipment or tools or recreational apparatus that is deemed unsafe for girls such as outdoor trampolines. Make sure that pets are kept separate from the girls meeting space. Ensure that both the troop leader and co-leader can see girls and monitor their whereabouts at all times. Maintain the use of the buddy system for errands or bathroom breaks. If the property is large, ensure that the meetings space is kept distinctly separate from non-members.

Virtual Meetings

Meeting options may need to be flexible based on the fluid nature of COVID- 19 risk. Troops that are able to run online meetings as needed (or wanted) should do so. GSUSA recommends maintaining a virtual to in-person ratio of at least 20/80, which means to maintain virtual troop meetings at least 20% of the time to keep tech skills and virtual meeting habits fresh. Use the Safety Activity Checkpoints for Virtual Meetings, to guide your meeting plans.

While we cannot endorse or support specific online meeting tools for your use, we are aware of several tools troops and service units are using for virtual meetings. See below for a list of free and low-cost tools that could be useful to you. We encourage troop leaders to look at these and alternative options and discuss with parents and girls to determine what the best solution is for your troop’s needs.  Be sure to review the Safety Activity Checkpoints for virtual meetings.

While all of these options have a free version, please note you may be prompted to consider their upgraded versions for a subscription fee.

Chat and Collaboration Tools with free versions

Additional low-cost tools for collaboration and conferencing to consider if the above options do not meet your group's needs.

Activities/Programs
Day Trips and Activities

In conjunction with Safety Activity Checkpoints, follow the same guidance as Troop Meetings and Hygiene and COVID-19 Risk Mitigation guidance in this document. Call ahead to the facility or vendor to confirm that they are following CDC and state health department guidelines. If activity or sporting equipment is being provided, ask the provider if they wipe down equipment in between uses, similar to equipment at the gym. Make whatever appropriate accommodations that are necessary. For example, bring extra sanitizer if none will be provided for public use at the activity location. 

Follow the same recommendations on Troop Meeting Size for gatherings or activities open to the entire family, for “Invite-A-Friend” events, etc.

Travel and Overnight Stays

The timeframe for resuming travel will vary from state to state and even from county to county in some cases. As always, regardless of COVID-19 restrictions, volunteers must follow guidance in Safety Activity Checkpoints.

For the foreseeable future, volunteers must seek council prior approval before planning any overnight activities and continue to practice the Hygiene and COVID-19 Risk Mitigation guidance outlined in this document.

Once your state jurisdiction permits travel, proceed cautiously to integrate overnight travel back into Girl Scout programs. (It is important to note that even if a state or county does not have current restrictions on “travel”, it still may have restrictions relating to the number of people who can gather, the number of households that can be present in each gathering, or other restrictions that would apply to group travel, as opposed to individual or family travel.)

Requests for travel should be made by submitting the Girl Scout Travel Approval Form to Girl Scouts Heart of the South.

Although travel plans are often arranged several months in advance, recognize that the COVID-19 risk is fluid; it can and will change, and contingencies should be planned ahead of time for re-scheduling, cancelling, or pivoting to a virtual activity. For all planned trips, create a timeline and identify a drop-dead date when decisions must be made about whether or not to move forward with the planned trip, based primarily on the safety of our girls, along with financial commitment deadlines and/or other factors. You should also consider purchasing travel insurance but be sure to read all fine print and ask questions to ensure COVID or pandemic-related cancellation is covered; it is often excluded.

When making decisions about whether or not to approve troop travel or proceed with planned council-organized travel, use all current health and safety guidance available in your jurisdiction as well as for the destination jurisdiction to ensure the safety of girls. You can access a summary of restrictions by state here. Also, check all guidance provided by the CDC specific to Travel, and, for international travel, check U.S. Department of State Travel Advisories. Be sure to check the CDC and Department of State advice with respect to US or international travel. Also, consider using the Event Risk Assessment Planning Tool, published by Georgia Tech. This helpful interactive map geographically tracks COVID-19 risk factors by state and county. There is more information about the Georgia Tech tool located under the Additional Resources at the end of this chapter.

For planned international travel, continue to monitor all guidance from the CDC and Department of State. You can register a planned trip with the Department of State to receive updates when advisories change. You can also check COVID trends over time for select countries by checking the Council on International Educational Exchange’s (CIEE) Health Risk Index Report.

Once travel becomes possible again, travel approvals must be considered on a case by case basis, factoring in the risk associated with the specific type of travel being requested. For example, a troop might request to proceed with a camping trip, with girls and parents of separate households traveling separately, and sleeping and cooking in separate areas. For this type of trip, social distancing is possible and masks can be worn at all times other than when eating, and eating is occurring only within the family unit. But, as with all in-person activities, all guidance outlined in this chapter should be implemented; for example, follow the guidance in the section for Volunteer Awareness and for Pre-screening and Symptoms Check.

Always implement modifications to travel plans that make social distancing practicable; for example, as mentioned above, travelers from separate households practicing social distancing. Again, sustained contact within less than six (6) feet for longer than ten (10) 8 minutes within an enclosed area creates high risk for virus transmission. For travel that include girls and adults from multiple households who must be in close proximity (e.g. sharing transportation or accommodations), consider guidance related to resident camp programs. See the American Camp Association Resource Center for Camps which include a Field Guide for Camps. Strategies to mitigate COVID risk may include breaking the group up into smaller cohorts or instituting pre-trip quarantine and testing requirements, in addition to pre-screening and symptoms checks, which should take place before all in-person activities.

Check the CDC Domestic Travel Guidance details about various types of travel, risk factors, and steps to mitigate risk. Another additional resource to examine is the Educator Travel Toolkit created by the Student Youth Travel Organization (although this resource was created for trips planned with a tour provider, the suggestions are more broadly applicable.) Recommendations from this guide include: consider purchasing travel insurance (be sure to understand if the policy has COVID-19 or pandemic exclusions); plan to bring 1-2 adults beyond the ratio-required number of adults and to pre-book an extra accommodation space, in case it is necessary to isolate a traveler from the rest of the group.

See the Additional Resources located at the bottom of this document for travel related resources in addition to Safety Activity Checkpoints. Before implementing GSUSA guidance, first and foremost, always verify and stay in compliance with federal, state and local governmental health authority guidance or restrictions. 

Requests for travel should be made by submitting the Girl Scout Travel Approval Form to Girl Scouts Heart of the South.

 

Transportations (carpooling)

It is strongly recommended to adopt a zero-transportation policy (no carpooling girls) until the county, town or region is safely past its final phase of re-opening.

Until then, individual parents drop off and pick up their own girls from meetings and carpooling or public transportation should be avoided and not encouraged in order to maintain social distancing.

Once a county or region is fully past its final re-opening stage, carpooling may resume as necessary with precautions. For example:

- Girls and adults should wear masks when inside of a motor vehicle

- Space out the girls to avoid crowding

- Keep the car window opened, at least slightly, to circulate fresh air.

- Consider the personal situation of your girls:

  • Do they live with an immunocompromised person that they can put at risk? If so, perhaps make other accommodations for her with her parents.
  • Have the families been isolating, and free from contagion? If so the troop may essentially be a safe bubble.

It is imperative to take all safety precautions when girls are travelling in vehicles. Make sure parents are aware ahead of time if girls will be in a car together. Always, for every in-person event, meeting, or transportation arrangement, conduct the prescreening process to ensure that coronavirus does not touch Girl Scout gatherings. Public transportation should still be avoided.

Remember, sustained contact within less than six (6) feet for longer than ten (10) minutes within an enclosed area creates high risk for virus transmission, so be very careful with carpool decisions.

CDC guidance for ride shares and drivers for hire may be helpful as an additional reference when evaluating motor vehicle transportation or carpooling: Ride Shares and Drivers for Hire

Public Transportation

Public transportation should be avoided whenever possible as large groups of people, indoors, for longer than ten minutes are typical of most public transportation which increases transmission risk. Also, maintaining six feet social distance is often difficult or impossible with public transportation. However, when public transportation cannot be avoided and your council has vetted and approved public transportation then your council may approve it but only after communicating specific safety guidelines for public transportation circumstances:

  • Avoid peak hours
  • Allow extra time to wait and avoid crowded buses or subway cars or capacity restrictions
  • Space out girls to avoid crowding (but keep to the buddy system)
  • Consider grade level, age and maturity level of girls
  • Always wear a mask
  • Obtain parental or legal guardian permission, make sure they are aware
  • Clean hands before and after public transportation travel.
Business/Practices
Volunteer Awareness

COVID-19 is an extremely contagious virus that spreads easily in the community. Volunteers should take all reasonable precautions to limit potential exposure for girls, themselves and families.

Volunteers should regularly check and follow real-time local and national safety directives and survey families for their comfort level with respect to returning to troop meetings.

A short list of things that volunteers need to ensure for every in-person gathering:

  • Pre-screening and Symptoms Check forms are used
  • Girls and adults wear masks
  • Outdoors is preferred to indoors, whenever possible
  • Always maintain 6 feet distance
  • Wash hands
  • No touching the face
  • Carry disinfectant and make sure girls are using it as appropriate
  • Girls bring their own snacks and supplies whenever possible
Pre-screening and Symptoms Check

Prior to in-person troop meetings and activities, all participants should be screened to ensure:

  • they are healthy and that they have not experienced symptoms that are associated with COVID-19 in the previous 72 hours;
  • that they have not knowingly been in contact with someone that has exhibited symptoms or has been confirmed positive with COVID-19 or a person waiting to see if they are positive; and
  • that they have not been to high risk geographical regions particularly those regions that require a 14-day or otherwise specific quarantine period.

Sample Pre-Screening Questionnaire

Note: The CDC defines “close contact” as follows:

  • You were within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes or more
  • You provided care at home to someone who is sick with COVID-19
  • You had direct physical contact with the person (hugged or kissed them)
  • You shared eating or drinking utensils
  • They sneezed, coughed, or somehow got respiratory droplets on you

Prescreening and Symptom check applies to contact during a person’s personal life and professional life. The prescreening questions apply to medical and essential workers.

Please keep in mind that girls may be experiencing symptoms that are similar but completely unrelated to COVID-19 and not contagious such as menstrual body aches, headaches, allergies or a pre-existing condition. The goal is to keep the meeting safe from contagion and do the very best to ensure our girls are educated and healthy, not to make it unnecessarily difficult or uncomfortable for girls to gather safely.

Vaccines

GSUSA has prepared a vaccination FAQ sheet to address questions from parents and volunteers which can be accessed here:

COVID-19 Vaccination FAQs for Volunteer and Parent Questions 

Hygiene and COVID-19 Risk Mitigation

Follow the resources developed by credible public health sources such as CDC or your local public health department. Share these with girls and volunteers and ensure that they are practiced during meetings and activities. Place signs in the meeting or activity space to remind girls and volunteers to engage in everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Signs should include: 

  • Stay home if you are sick. 
  • Cough and sneeze into a tissue, throw the tissue in the trash, and wash or sanitize your hands. 
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Wash hands if you do touch. 
  • Volunteers, girls and parents should be reminded to make sure temperatures are taken prior to group interaction to confirm the individual is not running a fever and temperature is a normal 98.6 degrees. Members with fever or temperature higher than 98.6 should skip the in-person gathering until their temperature is normal. 
Personal Contact

Hugs, handshakes, “high-fives,” and even activities like the friendship circle or squeeze can transmit COVID-19 from person to person. Refrain from these gestures for the time being. Create a safe way for girls and volunteers to greet and end meetings instead (like tapping elbows).

Singing

If you normally close your meetings with a song, make certain girls and adults are all wearing masks.

Singing and shouting both project germs farther than talking.

Ask your girls to either hum their closing song, or sing quietly, and always, of course, with their masks on.

First Aid Supplies

Troop first aid supplies should include COVID-19 prevention items including hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol), tissues, disposable facemasks, and disinfectants. Trash baskets or bags should be supplied for meeting and activity spaces, if not already available. Make sure that the trash baskets (or bags) are easily accessible for girls. Disposable or no-contact thermometers may be added to supplies if available and not cost- prohibitive, however, parents should be checking temperatures and allowing their girl(s) to join group activities only when temperatures are normal.

First Aid / CPR Training

Keep skills up to date for any emergency. For the time period that in-person training is not available, volunteers can receive online training with a council-approved training provider. These are listed in the Safety section of Volunteer Essentials. Once possible in your jurisdiction, volunteers will need to resume in-person skills assessment.

Disinfectants and Disinfecting

Routinely clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that are frequently touched (i.e., table tops, markers, scissors, etc.). Use a household cleaner, or see the EPA’s list of effective cleaners approved for use against COVID-19. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products (e.g., concentration, application method and contact time, etc.). 

Household bleach is effective against COVID-19 for up to 24 hours when properly diluted. Check that the bleach is not expired and determine if it can be used on a given surface. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application and proper ventilation. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser. 

To prepare a bleach solution, mix: 

• 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of water or 

• 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water 

See the CDC’s website for more on cleaning and disinfecting community facilities. 

FDA Warning

The CDC provides an updated list of products that should never be used. Be sure to check FDA updates on hand sanitizers consumers should not use and stay away from all products deemed unsafe.

The FDA advised consumers (6/19/2020) not to use any hand sanitizer manufactured by Eskbiochem SA de CV in Mexico, due to the potential presence of methanol (wood alcohol), a substance that can be toxic when absorbed through the skin or ingested. FDA has identified the following products manufactured by Eskbiochem:

  • All-Clean Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-002-01)
  • Esk Biochem Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-007-01)
  • CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 75% Alcohol
    (NDC: 74589-008-04)
  • Lavar 70 Gel Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-006-01)
  • The Good Gel Antibacterial Gel Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-010-10)
  • CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 80% Alcohol
    (NDC: 74589-005-03)
  • CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 75% Alcohol
    (NDC: 74589-009-01)
  • CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 80% Alcohol
    (NDC: 74589-003-01)
  • Saniderm Advanced Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-001-01)

Methanol is not an acceptable ingredient for hand sanitizers and should not be used due to its toxic effects. Stay completely away from sanitizers containing methanol.

Consumers who have been exposed to hand sanitizer containing methanol should seek immediate treatment, which is critical for potential reversal of toxic effects of methanol poisoning.

Face Coverings (Masks)

Unless your state and local governmental health authority has announced otherwise, all girls and adult volunteers should wear masks indoors during in-person gatherings and wear masks outdoors when in close proximity with others who do not live in the same household. 

Masks may not be necessary when you are outside by yourself away from others, or with people from the same household. However, some areas may have mask mandates so always check the state, city, or county rules for the location you will be in.

See: CDC Cloth Face Cover Guidance.

The ease on mask wearing recently announced by the CDC which suggests resuming all activities as they were prior to Covid-19 pertains primarily to fully vaccinated individuals, not all individuals.

Since the vaccine has not been received by all individuals nor is it available for children under 12 years of age, the guidance for councils is to wear a mask in accordance with the specific parameters as outlined by state and local jurisdictions and supplement that guidance with CDC recommendations if needed.

There may be certain situations where masks are not necessary such as where solitary events are taking place outdoors (e.g., waterskiing, archery, horseback riding).  For snow skiing, wear a mask when on lifts or lift lines or at the lodge but when skiing - the mask can come down if needed.

Some girls or volunteers may not be able to wear masks due to medical conditions. Councils should have an established protocol for handling such scenarios. It may be appropriate to require a doctor’s note. Troops should inform families so they are aware if there is a member who will participate without wearing a mask due to medical exception. Volunteers should be instructed to contact their council for guidance on how best to handle these exceptional circumstances.

Reasonable accommodations should be made for people with disabilities that prevent them from safely wearing a mask.  When a medical exemption from wearing a mask is on file, the recommendation is that the individual use a face shield.  Several councils are already providing extra face shields, having them on hand as they would extra masks, for those situations.

Girls can bring their own face coverings (or face shields if they cannot wear a mask). Council staff and volunteers should have extra disposable masks and face shields on hand for those who need them. Volunteers can teach girls how to handle their face coverings so that the coverings are effective.

Some further guidance for mask wearing and the effectiveness of double masking can be accessed here:

Use Masks to Help Slow Spread | CDC

Improve How Your Mask Protects You | CDC

Reporting and Communicating a Positive COVID 19 Test

In the event of a COVID-19 positive test result, do NOT contact the parents or troop members. Promptly contact your council in this situation. A council staff member and NOT volunteers, will be responsible for: 

  • Confirming and tracing the positive tester, 
  • Contacting the parents of anyone who may have been exposed (or other volunteers), 
  • Notifying a facility or homeowner where a troop has met, and 
  • Alerting the state department of health. 

Let other volunteers know that council staff, NOT volunteers, will notify parents and others about a positive test result and that the tester’s identity is confidential. Remember that girl and volunteer health information is private and strictly confidential and should be only shared on a need to know basis with a council staff member. 

Food, Dining and Snacks

Be careful when handling and serving food and have girls be careful with each other when eating. Safety recommendations for food, dining and snacks include:

  • Encourage girls to bring their own foods to eat (bag lunch or dinner)
  • Encourage girls not to share their food after having touched it, such as a bag of chips.
  • Individually wrapped items are recommended.
  • If providing snacks, especially if unwrapped, have one person, wearing gloves, hand out items to each person, such as with cupcakes or cookies.
  • Use a serving spoon or scoop rather than reaching into a bag or bowl of snacks.
  • Use a buffet line only if staffed with a safely protected server with mask and gloves.
  • Avoid “serve yourself” buffets.
  • Public dining only as permitted in your local jurisdiction.
  • If serving family style, have one person, wearing clean gloves, serve everyone on clean plates
  • Use disposable plates, forks, napkins, etc. when possible.
  • Encourage girls to bring foods they can easily cook themselves (a prepacked foil pack) or hotdog for outdoor cooking.
  • Ensure everyone handling food, those serving, girls, adults, wash hands (even if they will be wearing gloves) prior to any food prep or meals, following CDC handwashing guidelines.
  • If sharing outdoor cooking utensils (roasting forks), they should be washed and sanitized between each use or bring enough utensils so that each person gets their own.
  • Continue recommendation for 6 foot spacing during mealtimes.
Restrooms

Be very careful in public restrooms. Most public restrooms will regulate the number of people using the restroom at the same time, depending on the size. If there is no regulator or signage, have volunteers ensure girls take appropriate turns to maintain social distancing and that they wear their masks in the restrooms. It is ideal to have automatic flushers and sensory faucets to wash hands. If these are not available, girls and adults should get in the habit of using tissue or paper towels to open doors and latches, touching as little as possible. If the restroom is large, have girls use every other stall and avoid using stalls with a person in the stall next to them at the same time. Restrooms and toilets are fraught with germs normally, and more so now considering the contagion of coronavirus.

Ventilation

The best guidance for keeping air clean is to conduct indoor activities with open windows to allow fresh clean ventilation of air. For our area in the summer months, it is not possible have open windows due to excessive heat and humidity. For these situations it is important to keep clean air properly flowing and air conditioning filters clean and upgraded very frequently.

Two excellent resources for proper air filtration include:

Ventilation in Buildings - CDC
Indoor Air and Coronavirus - EPA

Some tips that are outlined by the Center of Disease Control and the Environmental Protection Agency include:

  • Upgrading air filters to the highest efficiency possible compatible with your HVAC system
  • Checking filters to minimize filter air bypass
  • Consider using portable air cleaners to supplement increased HVAC system ventilation and filtration.
  • Placing fans, in dining halls for example, to direct air flow so air is not blowing from one person to the next.
  • Rebalancing or adjusting HVAC systems to increase total air flow.
  • High efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) fan filtration systems to enhance cleaning.
Additional Resources
CDC One-Stop-Shop Toolkit

The One-Stop-Shop CDC page offers an array of topic specific COVID-19 guidance.

There are many topics to review. This One-Stop-Shop site is updated regularly as situations arise.

Event Risk Assessment Planning Tool

This current interactive map published by Georgia Tech College of Sciences is a planning tool for troop meetings, service unit meetings and Girl Scout events. Volunteers can insert the size of a meeting (number of attendees) on the sliding scale to the left and then click on the destination state and county on the interactive map. Once the map link is clicked, a likelihood percentage appears which indicates the risk of COVID-19 exposure or the likelihood of contracting COVID at a gathering given the levels of infection, by county, nationwide. Find out more information on this interactive tool by visiting the Georgia Tech college of Sciences homepage.

Camp Phased Reopening Plan

Continue Girl Scouts at home with Girl Scout Digital Experience

Even though your girl’s daily routine may have changed, there are many ways she can still participate in Girl Scout activities and earn awards, even at home! Through Girl Scout Digital ExperienceGirl Scout Digital Experience we're offering Virutal Badge Labs, STEAM Series, trainings and at-home challenges and activities.

The following are available on the Girl Scout Digital Experience:

  • Virtual Badge Labs
  • Virtual STEAM Series
  • Virtual Trainings for Girls
  • Video Tutorials and Activities
  • At Home Challenges
  • Scavenger Hunts

 We invite you to follow us on Facebook where we are posting fun and free activities families can do together while at home.


Ways you can stay connected with your troop

It is unfortunate that COVID-19 is interfering with Girl Scouts’ ability to meet and learn together. Thank you all for taking steps to ensure the safety of girls in this difficult time. While we cannot endorse or support specific online meeting tools for your use, we are aware of several tools troops and service units are using for virtual meetings. See below for a list of free and low-cost tools that could be useful to you. We encourage troop leaders to look at these and alternative options and discuss with parents and girls to determine what the best solution is for your troop’s needs.  Be sure to review the Safety Activity Checkpoints for virtual meetings.

While all of these options have a free version, please note you may be prompted to consider their upgraded versions for a subscription fee.

Chat and Collaboration Tools with free versions

Additional low-cost tools for collaboration and conferencing to consider if the above options do not meet your group's needs.


Be a Source of Comfort and Calm for Girls

Girl Scouts of the USA has developed a helpful resource for How to Talk to Your Girl About COVID-19 to help minimize stress and worry in your Girl Scout’s life and give her a sense of calm and control.

Thank you for your help in keeping Girl Scouts a safe, fun space for everyone! If you have questions about how COVID-19 may impact Girl Scout activities, please reach out to us at info@girlscoutshs.org.

Additional information and resources about the Covid-19: