side menu icon
COVID-19 Policies WEBhero LARGE

COVID-19 Girl Scout Updates

LATEST COVID GUIDELINES ARE HERE

Working Together to Keep Our Girl Scout Community Safe
Updated: September 3, 2021

Girl Scouts of Virginia Skyline members and staff remain committed to providing our girls the consistency of Girl Scouts during these times of uncertainty. Whether gathering virtually or in-person, safety remains our cornerstone.

This information will be updated in response to any significant changes in our communities related to COVID-19; therefore, the phases and guidelines are subject to future changes. As directed by Girl Scouts of the USA, until all girl members in every program level are eligible for vaccines, for the protection of all members as well as the families and communities we serve, GSVSC will continue to practice and expects all members to disinfect/sanitize, utilize hand-washing measures, social distance and utilize face coverings when and where required.

Council is the first source for information on COVID-19 specific guidelines and restrictions for Girl Scouts. The council has adopted a phased approach to guide safe gathering for this year and next year. We recognize that our council spans many jurisdictions with ever-changing COVID-related decisions. Therefore, if local county/city government guidelines are more restrictive than the council guidelines, Girl Scouts are expected to follow the local county/city government’s guidelines (e.g., group size limits, mask use and travel restrictions). The council is currently operating in Phase IV. If the Delta or other variants warrants it, the council may move back to phase III or phase II.

Please review these updates and continued steps we are taking to fight the spread of COVID-19. These guidelines will remain in place until further notice.

Council Phases: Operating in Phase IV

Effective September 3, 2021, until further notice:

Council is currently operating in Phase IV.  In order to gather in person, Girl Scout members and their families must agree and adhere to all GSVSC COVID-19 Safety Requirements as outlined in this document. 

Phase IV: Effective September 3, 2021

Indoor & Outdoor Gatherings

  • Indoor gatherings are to be restricted by the square footage of the facility to allow for participants to properly social distance (36-100 sq. ft. per person) based on the activity being conducted. 
  • When gathering outdoors, inclement weather plans are to include enough indoor space so that participants can shelter indoors and maintain proper social distancing of 6 feet; otherwise must postpone or cancel. 

Masks & Social Distancing

  • During all indoor in-person gatherings or activities, all children ages 2 and older, and all adults are to wear a mask* and maintain 6 feet of social distance, regardless of vaccination status. 
  • During all outdoor in-person gatherings or activities, all children ages 2 and older, and all adults are to wear a mask* when they are unable to maintain 6 feet of physical distance, regardless of vaccination status. Individuals should always keep a mask with them at all times in case of close contact.

  • During all indoor and outdoor gatherings or activities, maintain proper social distancing of 6 feet.

  • Any activity that requires unmasking for greater than 5 minutes is not recommended as an indoor activity (eating meals, physical activity, playing a musical instrument, etc.)
  • If close contact occurs, limit to no more than 10 minutes and wear a mask.

* CDC recommends masks have two or more layers of washable, breathable fabric; completely cover nose and mouth; fit snugly against the sides of the face; don’t have gaps; have a nose wire to prevent air leaking out the top of the mask; block light when held up to bright light source.

There are different carpooling, masking, and social distance guidelines for Summer Camps.  See “Summer Camp” section for complete details.

In-Person Troop/Group/Service Unit Meetings
These Girl Scout meetings are permitted and volunteers must continue to: 

Troop/Group Spending
All families may not be ready to have their daughters meet with the troop/group in person. The ideal troop/group experience during these times would be to have some virtual opportunities. When planning activities or trips, volunteers should ensure 75% of the active girls are able to participate. All girls worked really hard during the council-sponsored product sales and will want to enjoy the outings that had been previously cancelled.

Activities/Trips/Travel

  • Volunteers no longer have to submit an activity/trip permission for ALL activities away from their regular meeting place. Instead, volunteers must submit an Activity/Trip Permission (2129) and obtain council permission for activities and travel that involve a) a day or overnight trip that includes non- registered participants; b) a day or overnight trip outside council boundaries; c) trips or overnights of 2 nights/3 days or more; d) travel outside the continental US e) camping activities, including backyard camping, campfires, outdoor cooking and cabin camping; f) programs that include human sexuality and related health issues; g) activities that present a greater risk than usual to participants. Refer to the Council Policy P1.

  • Continue to practice the "Hygiene and COVID-19 Risk Mitigation" guidance outlined in this document.

  • Obtain COVID-19 Questionnaire (#1082) & COVID-19 Waiver, Participation Agreement, and Pledge and Girl Scout Culture of Care Pledge (#1083) from all participants.

  • Confirm temperature checks prior to participation; keep a daily log of temperature checks for trips and overnights. 

  • Keep stellar travel rosters, as well as attendance, contact, and health records for all participants.

  • Obtain signed parent/caregiver permission slips prior to girl participation.

  • Communicate and enforce all council safety and COVID guidelines, as well as COVID guidelines for the state/local destination to which troops/groups are traveling
  • Not combine Girl Scouting activities or travel with family activities or travel as a means to avoid following Safety Activity Checkpoints, Council Policies, or COVID-19 Restrictions.

  • Follow proper COVID-19 exposure reporting procedures as outlined in this document. 

Local Day, Overnight & Regional Trips/Activities
Trips/activities up to three days/two nights are permitted for all grade levels. 

  • When renting or using your own tents, keep the sleeping occupancy at 50% of the manufacturer recommendation for the tent; avoid using family-size tents with occupancy capacity over 6 people unless only used by one family household.
  • When renting council properties or cabinettes/platform tents structures, limit sleeping capacity to 50% of the recommended occupancy. For example: 
    • council platform tents sleep 4-6 people; keep to 3 or less.
    • council cabinettes sleep 6-8; keep to 4 or less.

See “Guidelines for Girl Scout Meetings, Activities, & Travel” for further details. 

Extended Regional Travel
Travel beyond three days/two nights and national travel activities are permitted only for fully vaccinated adults and fully vaccinated girls ages 12 and above; all participants must provide proof of vaccination along with their Activity/Trip Permission (2129), See “In-Person Gathering Guidelines for Girl Scout Meetings, Activities, & Travel Progression” for further details. 

  • Additional Girl Scout activity insurance must be purchased. 

  • At least 75% of active girls in the troop/group must be able to participate in the trip/travel or activity. 

  • Additional supervision may be required.

  • Girls must have their own bed if they are sharing a room with a non-family member.
  • Girls may share a bed if all room occupants are from the same household.

Carpooling
Carpooling is permitted without household restrictions. Note that carpooling is not recommended as 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

  • When carpooling, if possible, girls from different households should not carpool.  
  • When carpooling, all girls (ages 2 and above) and adults must wear a mask at all times when inside a motor vehicle regardless of vaccination status. 
  • When carpooling, keep the windows partially open to provide ventilation.
  • When carpooling, always space out the girls to avoid crowding and ensure all girls are wearing seatbelt. 
  • When carpooling, obtain parent permission ahead of time if girls will be in a car together; keep a travel roster. 

See “Transportation Guidelines” for specific carpooling details.

Parents/guardians should provide camper transportation to and from summer camp. Due to COVID-19 safety protocols, carpooling with others outside the assigned camp unit/cohort/pod is NOT permitted. The summer camp carpool restriction is to protect the structures put in place as a means to mitigate the risk of transmission from one unit/cohort to another and significantly reduces the number of people who would be required to quarantine for 14 days should there be a report of COVID-19 exposure or positive test result. See Summer Camp section for details. 

Public Transportation
Public transportation is permitted. However, 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. When using public transportation: 

  • Obtain parental or legal guardian permission ahead of time; keep a travel roster.

  • Masks are required at all times while in planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling within the United States and in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations. 

  • Avoid peak hours.

  • Allow extra time to wait and avoid crowded buses, or subway cars.

  • Space out girls to avoid overcrowding (but keep to the buddy system).

  • Clean hands before and after public transportation travel. 

See “Transportation Guidelines” section for complete details.

International & Cruise Travel
International and cruise travel are not permitted at this time.  Provisional planning & promotional clearance will be provided for international travel that occurs after May 1, 2022. (Dates subject to change based on US/VA travel guidelines and/or restrictions.) *At least one year prior to trip departure, volunteers must have completed GSVSC GS 203 International Trip Training and a council-approved Intent to Travel for International Trips (#2279) form must be on file at council. Official approval will be assessed closer to travel dates.

“It’s Not Girl Scout Approved” – It’s Not a Good Idea!
Occasionally, a Girl Scout volunteer, in an effort to support the girls in the activities they would like to participate in, will decide to tell the girls and families that they will do the activity “as friends, and not as a Girl Scout troop” rather than find an approved vendor or modify the activity in order to comply with all safety guidelines. Then the girls in the active troop/group, supervised by the Girl Scout volunteers, engage in the activity together, and the supervising adults choose not to follow policies and procedures established in Volunteer Essentials, in a Safety Activity Checkpoint or COVID-19 guidelines. This could jeopardize the girls’ safety and also puts both the Council and the volunteer(s) at legal risk, because courts may look beyond the words to the actions (the girls in the troop/group, supervised by the Girl Scout volunteers, engaged in the activity together). It may also expose the volunteer to some personal liability if there is an accident, injury or liability that might have been avoided had the volunteer followed Girl Scout safety guidelines. Also, it is important to note that Girl Scout insurance does not cover participants in non-Girl Scout events and Girl Scout funds cannot be used for non-Girl Scout activities.

Vaccination FAQ

Now that all adults are permitted to receive the COVID-19 vaccination in Virginia, are volunteers required to be vaccinated before they can meet in person with girls? 

Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) and Girl Scouts of Virginia Skyline Council (GSVSC) strongly encourages, but does not require, vaccination for all volunteers. State laws and policies may vary from council to council. As of now, the COVID-19 vaccines may not be mandatory for Virginians, and there are no legal penalties for refusing it, but the Virginia Department of Health is urging individuals to get it once it’s available to them.

Once enough people are vaccinated against COVID-19, we can resume more of the everyday activities we enjoyed before the COVID-19 pandemic. The decision to vaccinate is a personal decision individual adults must make for themselves. However, we reserve the right to limit or exclude participation based on vaccination status for activities that may pose a higher risk.  

Can parents/caregivers ask about the vaccination status of volunteers?

While parents/caregivers may certainly ask, volunteers are under no obligation to disclose their personal vaccination status. Also, under no circumstances should a volunteer discuss the personal healthcare decisions of another volunteer or girl with anyone.

Can parents/caregivers or volunteers ask about the vaccination status of council staff and camp staff?

While parents/caregivers may certainly ask and GSVSC strongly encourages all council staff members who can get vaccinated to become vaccinated when the vaccine is available to them, council staff are under no obligation to disclose their personal vaccination status. Under no circumstances should one staff member discuss the personal healthcare decisions of another staff member with anyone. However, a council may disclose whether it has strongly recommended COVID-19 vaccinations for its staff.

Can parents/caregivers ask other parents/caregivers about the vaccination status of girls in the troop?

Parents/caregivers are certainly free to discuss vaccinations with other parents/caregivers when both parties are open to that conversation. However, parents/caregivers should not feel obligated to share personal medical information if they choose to maintain their privacy in the matter. GSVSC encourages parents/caregivers to respect the privacy of the girls and other adults in their girl’s troop.

Once vaccinations for children are available, can councils or troop leaders require girls to be vaccinated before they attend in-person activities?

Councils are encouraged to stay abreast of state regulations and the protocols that are practiced in public schools and use that information to inform their policies. As of now, the COVID-19 vaccines may not be mandatory for Virginians, and there are no legal penalties for refusing it, but the Virginia Department of Health is urging individuals ages 12 and up to get it once it’s available to them.

Once enough people are vaccinated against COVID-19, we can resume more of the everyday activities we enjoyed before the COVID-19 pandemic. The decision to vaccinate is a personal decision volunteers and families must make for their girls. However, we reserve the right to limit or exclude participation based on vaccination status for activities that pose a higher risk.

Once someone is vaccinated, do they have to continue to practice the safety protocols as outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), such as social distancing, washing their hands frequently, and wearing a mask?

As directed by GSUSA, until all girl members in every program level are eligible for vaccines, for the protection of all members as well as the families and communities we serve, GSVSC will continue to practice and expect all members to disinfect/sanitize, utilize hand-washing measures, social distance and utilize face coverings when required.

Additional Girl Scout COVID-19 Resources
Questions/Need Assistance

QUESTIONS/NEED ASSISTANCE
If you have questions or need further assistance, please reach out to us at info@gsvsc.org or 540-777-5100. If you have an emergency after hours, then please call the emergency number at 1-540-598-0974. Your call will be answered by a GSVSC staff member.