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COVID-19 Updates from GSSJC

Last updated Sept. 1, 2021 at 5 p.m. CT.

Girl Scouts of San Jacinto strives for all Girl Scouts, volunteers, and families to feel included and safe throughout their Girl Scout experience. We continue to monitor COVID-19 through the Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, local public health departments, and counties and cities within our council jurisdiction.

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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. The status of community spread and risk to participate in activities is continually changing. Girl Scouts should ensure they are following current guidance from GSSJC as well as the CDC and local public health authorities for personal health and hygiene, and cleaning and disinfecting. Additionally, Girl Scouts should be prepared by having masks, hand sanitizer, and cleaning supplies available.

If any Girl Scout or participant is confirmed to be COVID-19 positive within 14 days of participating in a Girl Scout activity, the family must contact Melissa Hardy (mhardy@sjgs.org) to allow council staff to manage communication and contact tracing and maintain appropriate confidentiality.

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Group Size

All participants must be separated into activity groups of no more than 15 total people (including at least two adults or required adult ratio). Meeting space must accommodate the size of the group and include the ability to maintain six feet of physical distance between members of different households. Volunteers will receive additional guidance about maintaining activity cohorts/pods at larger events. 

Masks

Outdoors, masks are not required. Per CDC guidelines issued July 27, 2021, indoors, masks are strongly recommended.

Masks are required in groups where there is an individual with a medical need or a high-risk individual. Our Girl Scout Promise drives us to provide experiences where all girls are confident they belong. With this, we ask that members of a group in this situation help support these members and wear a mask for the duration of the activity. Participants are expected to recognize that due to confidentiality, the details for the requirement of masks in the troop/group will not be publicly shared. Mask status may change.

Event coordinators, troop leaders, and vendors may still make the decision to require masks for specific activities. This requirement must be made clear as part of the registration process for activities or in any pre-activity information. Mask status may change. When participating in Girl Scout activities, Girl Scout troops must wear masks for indoor activities or meetings if their local school/district requires masks indoors.

Masks are required in all GSSJC indoor facilities. GSSJC staff should refer to current employee responsibilities regarding COVID-19 protocols.

Members must follow the recommended and required mask and safety guidelines of vendors when participating in vendor programming.

Vaccinations

GSSJC does not require its members to be vaccinated against COVID-19. However, the council encourages members to educate themselves about the vaccine and become vaccinated when eligible. It is important to keep in mind that vaccines are not available for our age 11 and under Girl Scouts at this time.

While COVID vaccination is not required, accurate medical forms including vaccination records are required for all Girl Scouts in case of emergency.

Reminder: no participant can be excluded or segregated from an activity based on vaccination status.

Physical Distancing

Members should keep six feet of distance between themselves and members of different households.

Pre-Screening

Attendees should complete a permission slip and pre-screening form before each in-person activity and stay home when not feeling well or exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms. Volunteers should maintain the screening log at check-in.

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Travel
Short Troop Trips

Troops or groups traveling for four days and three nights must follow the Safety Activity Checkpoints (SACs) for Transporting Girls and Travel/Trips in addition to any other relevant SACs. Submit one F-413 (Short Troop/Group Trip Form) per activity group to travel@sjgs.org at least three weeks (21 days) in advance. Each activity group must include at least one (1) travel-trained (Camping and Overnight Basics or Camp Trained) volunteer and one (1) First Aid certified volunteer. Larger troops should be split into separate activity groups and units. Larger groups traveling with more than one activity group may contact the Girl Experience Department (travel@sjgs.org) to develop a COVID-safe plan.

The troop or group must follow GSSJC, state of Texas, local/ county and CDC guidelines for indoor gatherings. Permission slips for the trip must include parent signature on the detailed itinerary indicating all planned stops.

Carpooling with members who are not in the same household is permissible, provided all girls and adults inside each vehicle are in the same activity at the destination, with express written permission from parents/guardians of all children and acknowledgment of these guidelines by all adults in the vehicle (see carpooling guidelines).  Groups should strive to travel together, caravanning to ensure all participants arrive together. Commercial and public transportation is not permitted.

Prior to departure the troop leader and/or driver must collect the following signed forms from each participant and complete the screening log:

The troop leader must check temperatures each morning of the trip. If a participant shows symptoms consistent with COVID-19, the entire activity group must go home. 

Extended Troop Trips

Extended travel is currently allowed to domestic locations. Troops/groups cannot use any public or commercial transportation. The following forms are required:

Troops or groups traveling 5+ days must follow the Safety Activity Checkpoints (SACs) for Transporting Girls and Travel/Trips in addition to any other relevant SACs. Each activity group must include at least one (1) travel-trained (Camping and Overnight Basics or Camp Trained) volunteer and one (1) First Aid certified volunteer. Larger troops should be split into separate activity groups and units. Larger groups traveling with more than one activity group may contact the Girl Experience Department (travel@sjgs.org) to develop a COVID-safe plan.

The troop or group must follow GSSJC, state of Texas, local/ county and CDC guidelines for indoor gatherings. Permission slips for the trip must include parent signature on the detailed itinerary indicating all planned stops.

Carpooling with members who are not in the same household is permissible, provided all girls and adults inside each vehicle are in the same activity at the destination, with express written permission from parents/guardians of all children and acknowledgment of these guidelines by all adults in the vehicle (see carpooling guidelines). Groups should strive to travel together, caravanning to ensure all participants arrive together. Commercial and public transportation is not permitted.

Prior to departure the troop leader and/or driver must collect the following signed forms from each participant and complete the screening log:

The troop leader must check temperatures each morning of the trip. If a participant shows symptoms consistent with COVID-19, the entire activity group must go home. 

Social Distancing and Sanitization Procedures
  • Masks must be worn at all times unless unsafe to do so (e.g., while sleeping, bathing or swimming). See mask guidelines.
  • Sleeping arrangements: girls should be assigned to beds at half capacity of the sleeping area. Girls should sleep with heads as far away from each other as allowable for the space.  If sleeping in personal tents, all occupants within each tent must be from the same household. Whenever possible, tent and cabin flaps should be rolled up while inside.
  • All participants are encouraged to bring personal (travel-size) hand sanitizer to carry along hikes or other activities that may happen outside of their reserved area. Troops should bring refill bottles of sanitizer and refill frequently.
  • In bathroom facilities shared by members of multiple households, wear masks except while showering, and adhere to proper handwashing and sanitizing.  If possible, tooth brushing should be done at the handwashing station outside.  Please adhere to the maximum capacity signs on the bathroom facilities.
  • When using shared surfaces and areas like water coolers, sinks, tables, door handles, etc., encourage girls and adults to wash hands and/or use hand sanitizer before and after touching surfaces.
  • Craft activities should be as contained for each participant as possible. Girls should have their own supplies that should not be shared. If there is difficulty in adhering to this, follow the “shared surfaces” guidance above.
Meals

When serving meals please adhere to the following:

  • Adults, wearing gloves, mask and hair pulled back should serve all shared items at meals such as bulk packaged items like bread, plates, napkins, etc.
  • Ensure participants are spaced out with at least six feet between each person while eating.

Outdoor dining is strongly preferred. When necessary, troops may dine in restaurants that allow at least six feet between each activity group while dining.

Carpooling
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Carpooling

It is imperative to take all safety precautions when girls are traveling in motor vehicles. Coronavirus transmission risk is high when people are in close proximity, less than six feet apart. The risk increases when people are in a closed-in area or indoors for longer than 10 minutes. Always, for every in-person event, meeting, or transportation arrangement, conduct the prescreening process to ensure that coronavirus does not touch Girl Scout gatherings. GSSJC advises against participating in carpooling if high-risk individuals live in the households of the passengers.

GSSJC cautions that parents should be very careful with carpool decisions. Individual parent/household drop-off and pick-up are encouraged. When necessary, carpooling is permitted with the following requirements:

  • Passengers from a maximum of three households in the same vehicle. Passengers to and from the same activity must be from the same households. (e.g., the same girls from three households, but one parent could drop off and another could pick up).
  • All passengers in each vehicle should be participating in the same activity group once they reach the destination.
  • All carpools must be documented on the activity log kept by the volunteer at check-in.
  • Drivers must complete the pre-screening process when picking up girls from their caregivers. Caregivers/Parents must complete the permission slip and acknowledgment forms in advance and give them to the carpool driver to submit at check-in.
  • If any passenger in the vehicle cannot check-in at arrival or must leave during the event due to COVID-19 symptoms, exposure, temperature, etc. All passengers in the same carpool must leave together.
  • All passengers in the vehicle should wear a face mask that covers nose, mouth and chin.
  • External air ventilation is required. Do not recirculate interior air, and when possible at least crack the windows or a sunroof to increase outside airflow.
  • Arrangements are preferred between households who are regularly carpooling for other activities or school/childcare.
  • No eating or drinking (i.e., activities requiring masks to be removed) while in the vehicle.
  • Passengers should sit as distant as feasible within vehicles, hard surfaces such as handles and seatbelt buckles should be disinfected before and after.

Volunteers and parents who do not comply with these requirements are at risk of not being allowed to participate in Girl Scout activities. Volunteers responsible for each activity and who are documenting check-in and participation log, are empowered to limit participation for non-compliant participants on a case-by-case basis.

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