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COVID-19 Updates

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GIRL SCOUTS OF BLACK DIAMOND COVID-19 UPDATES

The Girl Scouts of Black Diamond is committed to the safety and well-being of our members. With novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Girl Scouts of Black Diamond is taking all possible and appropriate measures to offer support to our troops, volunteers and girls. At Girl Scouts of Black Diamond, there is nothing we take more seriously than protecting our Girl Scouts, and we are working to provide support in whatever way needed.

NEW COMMUNICATION

During this tumultuous time, we know you're receiving emails from a lot of different directions while trying to balance families, health and homeschooling. With that in mind, we do not want to add to the clutter, but we do want to communicate needed updates. This is what we plan to do moving forward:

Cookie Updates for Troop Leaders: These will come through eBudde communications. If you are not currently signed up, please email Denise.Davis@BDGSC.org.

Programming: Programs are updated here. Please join our Facebook groups for more information and to engage with the programming.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

To help ensure the health and safety of our community, our shop space is currently closed to the public. To place orders, please visit our 24/7 online shop or email shop@bdgsc.org.

PROGRAM UPDATES

The Council is expanding offerings for Girl Scouts, families and members at home:

Virtual Resources: Virtual resources will be available on the Council website for members and families, which will include national virtual troop meetings from GSUSA, as well as Virtual Learning Labs based on patch programs. 

Because of Her: Girl Scouts of Black Diamond staff has been working hard to make this patch program a virtual learning experience. We are making videos and uploading activity guides. Each week, we will explore and celebrate women who embody the Girl Scout Promise and Law, while being the change the world needs. Past videos and guides will remain online for all of our members to join at any time. Facebook groups have been developed, so girls can engage with each other as they learn about some amazing women. To learn more, please visit: https://www.bdgsc.org/en/Programs/virtual-programs.html.

The Because of Her patch set can be purchased from our shop, and be shipped directly to your girl. For more information, please contact shop@bdgsc.org.

Crocheting with Cristin: If you’re a visual learner, join Cristin as she teaches girls the basics of crocheting and a pattern for ear savers. In the first video, she introduces the basics of crocheting, including how to hold the needle and cast the yarn. In the second video, Cristin demonstrates how to make ear savers for medical masks. Learn more here https://www.bdgsc.org/en/Programs/virtual-programs.html, under Black Diamond on Demand.

Black Diamond Yoga Challenge: Get fit, while pratcicing social distancing at home. Learn more here https://www.bdgsc.org/en/Programs/virtual-programs.html, under Black Diamond on Demand.

Girl Scouts at Home: GSUSA is inviting every girl and any of their female friends to engage with other girls across the country! Girls can stay connected and continue making the world a better place. Programming is open to girls of all grade levels (K-12th grade). There are also awesome links for parents and families and troop leaders. We are all in this together as we continue to celebrate our national sisterhood. To learn more, please visit: https://www.girlscouts.org/en/girl-scouts-at-home.html.

Aquarium Adventures: Our Program Partners are stepping up to the plate to offer live interaction with animals. Join the WAVE Foundation at the Newport Aquarium every Monday, Wednesday and Friday to see live streaming videos of their center. This past Wednesday, they taught girls how to feed sharks. The videos will stay online for girls who join at a later time. This is a free program. Please visit https://wavefoundation.org/.

Facebook Groups: If you are a parent or volunteer, please join our Facebook Group. We are posting new opportunities for your girl almost daily.

Event Cancelation Policy: If you have been affected by the events being canceled or postponed, there are three options available:

  1. Do nothing. If the event you registered for is rescheduled at a date that works for you, we will automatically move your registration to that date.
  2. Request a gift certificate to be used at a different event. We offer events all year long, and there might be another program that catches your eye. You could also use the gift certificate in the shop.
  3. If none of the options above work for you, please reach out to our Customer Care Team to request a refund. They can be contacted at 304.345.7722 or at customercare@bdgsc.org.

Higher Awards: Recognizing that many schools, youth activities and community gatherings have been suspended, Girl Scouts is offering a three-month extension from Sept. 30 to December 31, 2020, to provide flexibility for Girl Scout Juniors, Cadettes, Seniors and Ambassadors earning Girl Scouts’ Highest Awards. This is particularly relevant for 5th grade Juniors, 8th grade Cadettes, and 12th grade Ambassadors who will bridge to the next program age level officially on September 30, 2020 and typically would be no longer eligible to earn the Bronze, Silver or Gold Award, respectively.

INTERIM COVID-19 GUIDANCE FOR VOLUNTEERS

This guidance is being provided as of the Edition Date of 06/01/20 (when a vaccine has not been made readily available). Girl Scouts of Black Diamond Council, Inc. may modify this guidance, from time to time as circumstances change.

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.

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.

Use these questions and reminders to help decide how and when to return to troop activities.

Troop Meeting Space: Outdoor spaces where social distancing can be maintained are strongly recommended for meetings. Get advance permission from the property owner or the jurisdiction that provides the location.

For meetings held at public facilities, 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, consider whether you can supplement any practices that are less ideal. For example, if you will arrive after another user group, plan to bring sanitizing wipes to get the space ready for your troop. Another example: 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.

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.

Troop Meetings in the Home: GSUSA strongly suggests no meetings in the home out of concern that there would be greater risk of exposure to other family members. The recommendation is to stay away from in-home meetings for the time being.

Troop Meeting Size: Concerning group gatherings, check your local restrictions to see size limits. Restrictions vary greatly from state to state, county to county, and even from town to town--and frequently change. Utilize all social distancing practices and follow all preventative guidance (such as face coverings).

If you have a large troop, stay connected while you wait for a safe time for everyone to gather. Large troops are wonderful, so stay together! Some ideas:

  • 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.

Transportation: Individual parents drop off and pick up their own girls from meetings. Carpooling and public transportation should be avoided, where possible, to maintain social distancing.

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: Virtual Troop Meetings.

Other helpful resources can be found here.

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.

Travel and Overnight Stays: Overnight trips are not permitted until after the home state is successfully past Phase 3 of its re-opening process. The timeframes will vary from state to state and even from county to county in some cases. As always, contact your council for prior approval before planning any overnight stays and follow guidance in Safety Activity Checkpoints.

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).

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. Talk to your council about alternative methods of training that may be available during this time.

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.

Face Coverings: Volunteers should remind girls that Girl Scouts wear face coverings (masks) not only to protect themselves but to protect others. Face coverings are a civic responsibility and a sign of caring for the community. Girls can bring their own face coverings. Have disposable masks on hand for those who need them. Volunteers can teach girls how to handle their face coverings so that the coverings are effective. Some girls or volunteers may not be able to wear masks, due to medical conditions such as asthma. Contact your council for guidance on how best to handle these exceptional circumstances as they arise.

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

BE A SOURCE OF COMFORT AND CALM FOR GIRL SCOUTS

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

Throughout our history, Girl Scouts have played an important role in helping to keep our country safe. The 1947 Girl Scout Handbook explains: "A Girl Scout is ready to help out wherever she is needed.
Willingness to serve is not enough; you must know how to do the job well, even in an emergency." During World War II, Girl Scouts tended victory gardens, sold war bonds, and collected scrap metal. The work of today’s Girl Scouts is just as essential.

Girl Scouts can continue to demonstrate leadership in the fight against coronavirus by teaching proper handwashing and other hygiene practices to their peers. They can learn about how coronavirus is spread and how to protect themselves and share this information with others. Girl Scouts can be a force for good by confronting misinformation about Asian-Americans, who increasingly have been the targets of racist attacks and discrimination.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

If you would like more information and updates about COVID-19, please visit the following links:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

World Health Organization

GSUSA

How to Cope with Feeling Overwhelmed 

Safety Activity Checkpoints