Volunteers should be
encouraged to remain educated about risks associated with the
pandemic, including that COVID-19 is an extremely contagious virus
that spreads easily in the community, and even fully vaccinated
individuals can transmit the virus to unvaccinated individuals.
Volunteers should take all reasonable precautions to limit potential
exposure for girls, themselves, and their families. Councils should
highlight this important message in a way that promotes awareness,
preparedness, health, and community service. These are important
times to be a safety-minded Girl Scout and demonstrate Girl Scout values.
Troops are currently able to meet in person as long as everyone is complying with the current guidelines from CDC, GSUSA and GSC. While virtual is still a preferred method of engaging in troop activities in person is permitted. All troops that are currently meeting or that are going to begin meeting in person, at a public indoor/outdoor or residential outdoor location, will need to do the following:
- Complete a Meeting-General TAR Activity Packet which includes the following forms that are all dated 4/15/2021: (TAR, Roster, Acknowledgement Form) and submit it to the Safety Coordinator in each community for approval annually.
- If meeting at an outdoor residential location, you will also need to complete the Residential Agreement Form and submit that with your Meeting Request Packet.
- Follow all guidelines contained in Safety Activity Checkpoints and refer to our additional COVID -19 Guidelines for additional information and communicate the requirements to the other adult volunteers and parents.
- Ensure all participants complete the Pre-Screening form and keep accurate attendance records.
- It is recommended that everyone wears masks and socially distances, regardless of vaccination status. When visiting any GSC property, masks are required indoors and outdoors unless participating in a high adventure activity that does not permit it, such aquatics.
- Ensure that families in your troop or group are aware of and comfortable with how you will conduct any in-person any mask/distancing-optional interactions.
- Always have the following items: cleaning supplies, sanitizer, tissues, disposable facemasks, and disinfectants. Clean and sanitize high touch surfaces and supplies upon arrival, in the middle, and at end of event. Limit shared supplies.
- Make sure girls are washing their hands and using sanitizer frequently. Avoid touching their faces or physical contact.
- Avoid shared food sources and offer individual wrapped/packaged snacks or encourage attendees to bring their own food and drink.
- If someone is sick or running a temperature above 100.4 they should stay home, if already at an activity or event they should be sent home if sick or symptomatic.
- All paperwork that is collected for troop meetings must be kept on file for at least the entire school year. This includes, but is not limited to: meeting rosters for each meeting, pre-screening forms, adult certifications, and any other information such as meeting schedules, etc.
Troop Meeting Spaces
Troops can meet in residential or public outdoor spaces providing there is adequate room for social distancing. Troops may now also meet at public indoor spaces where there must be enough room for social distancing as well as appropriate ventilation. Volunteers should get advance permission from the property owner or the jurisdiction that provides the location.
- Meetings may not be held in fitness centers or gyms, where a greater risk for contracting the virus may exist. Schools or churches may not permit outside groups on premises, so always check and confirm ahead of time.
- 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.
Always remember that all troops must follow and adhere to all current COVID-19 safety and health guidelines as well as communicate the requirements to the other adult volunteers and parents. They must utilize all social distancing practices and follow all preventative guidance.
This would include but is not limited to: everyone wearing a mask at all time that completed covers their mouth and nose, cleaning and sanitizing of all space and supplies before and after use, 6 feet of social distance is always practiced, pre-screening form and temperature checks each time. These steps in addition to all the guidelines and forms must be adhered to.
When using any public spaces always make sure that the grounds and location are completely safe for children.
Please be sure to:
- 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, be sure to implement additional practices, such as:
- If you will arrive after another user group, plan to bring sanitizing wipes and/or spray to get the space ready for your troop.
- If faucets are manual, take some time to show girls how to shut them off with a paper towel. Use paper towels for doorknobs whenever possible.
- Leaders should have supplies on hand to ensure areas are clean and sanitized for girls and adults, such as: wipes, sanitizing spray, paper towels, sanitizer, and disposable masks
- Be sure to implement a cleaning/sanitizing regime for bathroom use. Such as an adult is to clean high touch surfaces after use, ensure girls are correctly washing hands and sanitizing etc.
Residential Outdoor Spaces
When using any outdoor residential spaces always make sure that the grounds and location are completely safe for children.
Please be sure to:
- Meetings should ideally be held outdoors, perhaps in the back or front yard of the home. (This is a COVID-19 pandemic-specific precaution.).
- The home must be the home of registered, background checked, council approved Volunteer.
- Girls may not meet in a home where a registered sex offender lives or visits during scheduled meeting times.
- Background checks should be conducted for all adults living in or visiting the home.
- The troop should be able to focus without disruptions from other household members.
- Make sure that pools are fenced or otherwise safely sectioned off.
- Any equipment, tools or recreational apparatus that is deemed unsafe for girls such as outdoor trampolines should all be secured, and girls are not able to access them.
- Animals and pets should be kept in a place that is separate from the meeting space.
- Homeowners should consider any personal homeowner insurance implications. The homeowner should ask their homeowner’s insurance carrier if there are any insurance exclusions regarding holding troop meetings at the home, in the event of an accident or injury.
- Homeowners should consider any personal homeowner insurance implications. The Homeowner should ask their Homeowner’s insurance carrier if there are any insurance exclusions regarding holding troop meetings at the home, in the event an accident or injury occurs.
- Council staff should confirm with their council’s insurance broker that a Girl Scout volunteer homeowner would be covered under the council’s General Liability insurance carrier, in the event an accident or injury occurs during a Girl Scout meeting at the home.
- Ensure that both the troop leader and co-leader can see girls and always monitor their whereabouts.
- 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.
- Weapons must be completely out of view and stored in a locked space.
- Medication, dangerous cleaning products, or any poisonous substance must be stored in a secure space out of sight, preferably locked.
- Ensure that the Hygiene and Risk Mitigation and all other guidance in this document are followed. (this is a COVID-19 specific precaution)
Meeting options should remain flexible. Troops that wish to meet online should continue to do so. GSUSA recommends maintaining a virtual to in-person ratio of at least 20/80. Holding approximately 20% of meetings virtually will keep tech skills sharp and virtual meeting habits fresh and on the ready should they be needed. Always be sure that girls complete an Internet Safety Pledge and have parent permission before participating in online/virtual programs or meetings. In addition please be sure there is always adult ratio/chaperones present for supervision.
Use Safety Activity Checkpoints for to help guide virtual meeting plans: Virtual Troop Meetings.