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COVID-19 Policies WEBhero LARGE

COVID-19 Girl Scout Updates

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. Therefore, our Girl Scout COVID-19 Guidelines are focused on keeping our members and our communities safe.

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.

The council is adopting 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 II.

Please review the updates to GSVSC’s reopening strategies and the steps we are taking to fight the spread of COVID-19 and comply with Gov. Northam’s executive orders as of April 1, 2021. These guidelines will remain in place until further notice.

Council Phases: We Remain in Phase II

Phase I: March 2020 - August 3, 2020

  1. No in-person meetings/events/activities.
  2. Support virtual and family experiences. 
  3. No carpooling, overnights, domestic or international travel allowed.

Phase II: August 3, 2020 – Present 
Members of troops, groups and/or service units must agree and adhere to all GSVSC COVID-19 Safety Requirements to gather in-person. 

  1. In-person troop/group meetings and local day field trips are permitted only. 
  2. In-person gathering requirements must be (numbers updated as of March 19, 2021): maximum of 50 people at an in-person INDOOR gathering OR maximum 100 people at an in-person OUTDOOR gathering.  
  3. No carpooling, overnights, or domestic or international travel allowed.
  4. Cohorting is not an option for troops, groups or service unit activities at this phase. Troop/group and/or service units must limit the total number of participants for meetings, trainings, and/or program event activities to the maximum number of participants based on the indoor and outdoor gathering setting requirements above. See General Reopening and In-Person Gathering Guidelines for Girl Scout Meetings, Activities, & Travel for planning program event-related activities.

Phase III: Date TBD (potentially May 1, 2021 or sooner; dates of phases are subject to change based on guidance from the CDC, VDH, and GSUSA and dependent upon Governor Northam’s Executive Orders meeting the in-person gathering criteria outlined below.

Members of the troop, groups and/or service units must agree and adhere to all GSVSC COVID-19 Safety Requirements to gather in-person. At Phase III: 

1. In-person gathering requirements: 

  • Maximum of 75 people or more at an in-person indoor gathering by Governor's Executive Order.
  • Maximum 150 people or more at an in-person outdoor gathering by Governor's Executive Order.
  • Program-related event and meeting activities should be carried out in cohorts (units); cohorts may not mix or co-mingle at any time, including during meal times, program activities, etc.

2. In person gatherings for program-related event and meeting activities should be carried out in cohorts (units/pods) cohorts may not mix or co-mingle at any time, including during meal times, program activities, etc. Cohorts are not to exceed the total maximum number of allowed participants on site for indoor or outdoor gatherings at one time. 

3. In-person troop, group meetings and local day field trips will be permitted.

4. Local or regional in-person troop, group, and/or service unit overnights/camping activities will be permitted up to three days/two nights. (Additional GSVSC overnight requirements for parent/guardian supervision/transportation, pre-screening, isolation, and sleeping accommodations are to be determined. See "In-Person Gathering Guidelines for Girl Scout Meetings, Activities, & Travel" below for definitions of these travel types.)

5. Troop (only) carpooling will be permitted (Additional GSVSC girl and chaperone/supervision, driver /transportation/carpooling, pre-screening, and isolation requirements are to be determined.); will be limited to no more than three  households per vehicle; additional COVID mitigation restrictions will apply. 

6. No domestic or international travel allowed. (See "In-Person Gathering Guidelines for Girl Scout Meetings, Activities, & Travel" below for definitions of these travel types.)

7. Provisional planning & promotional clearance will be provided for domestic travel within the continental United States for travel that occurs after October 1, 2021. (Dates subject to change based on US/VA travel guidelines and/or restrictions.) 

8. 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.)

9. Extended travel guidelines will be provided to 2020 and 2021 graduating seniors.

Phase IV: Date TBD
Guidelines established based on significant positive changes to minimize transmission of COVID-19. Additional pre-screening and isolation guidelines to be determined. Members of the troop, groups and/or service units must agree and adhere to all GSVSC COVID-19 Safety Requirements to gather in-person. At Phase IV: 

  1. Troop, group, and/or service unit carpooling will be permitted. (Additional GSVSC girl and chaperone/driver supervision/transportation/carpooling, number of households per vehicle, pre-screening, and isolation requirements are to be determined.)
  2. Troop, group, and/or service unit public transportation will be permitted. (Additional GSVSC girl and chaperone/driver supervision/transportation/carpooling, number of households per vehicle, pre-screening, and isolation requirements are to be determined.)
  3. Local in-person troop, group, and/or service unit overnights/camping activities will be permitted up to three days/two nights. (Additional GSVSC overnight requirements for chaperones/supervision, drivers/transportation, pre-screening, isolation, and sleeping accommodations are to be determined.)
  4. Regional in-person troop, group, and/or service unit overnights/camping activities will be permitted for more than three days/two nights. (Additional GSVSC overnight requirements for chaperones/supervision, drivers/transportation, pre-screening, isolation, and sleeping accommodations are to be determined.)
  5. Tentative approval will be given for in-person, troop, group, and/or service units for domestic travel domestic travel within the continental United States for travel that occurs after October 1, 2021 Dates subject to change based on US/VA travel guidelines and/or restrictions.
  6. Tentative approval will be given for international travel that occurs after May 1, 2022. Dates subject to change based on US/VA travel guidelines and/or restrictions.
  7. Extended travel privileges will be approved for 2020 and 2021 graduating seniors based on their ability to comply with GSVSC Graduating Seniors & GS Fund Extension Guidelines. 

Phase V: Date TBD 
Guidelines established based on our new normal. Approval for domestic and international travel can resume without requiring tentative approval.

General Reopening Guidelines

Girl Scouts of Virginia Skyline Council will resume full, normal in-person activities only after Virginia has successfully passed out of National Phase 3 of the re-opening process, developed by the White House back in April 2020 and are updated by the governor’s office specifically for Virginia. The council has developed a similar phased approach to guide safe gatherings for our Girl Scout members for this year and next year. 

Effective April 1, 2021, the Virginia state mandate by Governor Northam for social gatherings is as follows: 

  • Indoor gatherings of up to 50 people are permitted. 
  • Outdoor gatherings of up to 100 people are permitted. 
  • All individuals ages five and older must cover their mouth and nose with a mask as described and recommended by the CDC if they are in an indoor setting shared by others outside of their household. 
  • All individuals must practice proper physical distancing at all times. 

Therefore, all GSVSC Girl Scout in-person gatherings for indoor settings will remain restricted to no more than 50 people until further notice and outdoor gatherings have been expanded to allow up to a maximum of 100 people on site at one time. This includes all in-person, council-sponsored sessions of program events, activities, and training.

Meeting outdoors is preferred over meeting indoors; local parks or outdoor community or church pavilions are highly encouraged. 

Cohorting (dividing members into units/pods and keeping them separate throughout the entirety of the program or meeting activities) is allowable indoors for troops, groups or service unit activities for up to a total of 50 people on site at one time. Cohorting is allowable outdoors for troops, groups or service unit activities for up to a total of 100 people on site at one time.. Troop/group and/or service units must continue to limit gatherings for meetings, trainings, and/or program event activities to the total number of participants based on the indoor and outdoor gathering setting requirements above.

When planning a gathering or activities for a troop, group or service unit that exceeds what is currently allowed, you must gather in smaller groups—such as age-level groups or patrols in scheduled (interval) sessions throughout the day. There must be at least a 30 minute gap in-between gatherings to allow for proper sanitization of all hard/touched surfaces, tables, chairs, equipment, supplies, bathroom facilities, etc. The first troop, group, or patrol members must have left the premises before the next troop, group, or patrol members arrive for the next scheduled session.

Virtual meetings are always possible. Virtual meetings or phone conferences should be offered. The council continues to develop resources and advice to help leaders with virtual meetings. Complete this Zoom survey to request a Zoom license or to participate in a council-led Zoom meeting.

We will continue to monitor local and national directives, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Health , and Virginia Department of Health . The guidance we provide is intended to be used in conjunction with Safety Activity Checkpoints in accordance with our council’s individual state and local COVID-19 circumstances which remain fluid.

If updates from sources such as the governor’s office, Centers for Disease Control or National Institutes of Health lead to changes in our evaluation of the situation, then we will communicate via our website, The Girl Scout Connections digital e-newsletter, and social media.

Headquarters Reopening Strategies

Girl Scouts of Virginia Skyline Council offices and activities resumed on Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020. We continue to follow the rules and guidelines set forth by Girl Scouts of the USA, the Virginia governor, the Virginia Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC).

Doors to the headquarters' building remain locked. Visitors will be allowed by appointment only. Visitors must call the office and complete a CDC self-assessment before being allowed to enter the building. Staff and visitors must wear a mask/face covering in common spaces, hallways, and when meeting with another staff member or customer. Social distancing guidelines must be followed.

The following supplies will be provided onsite at headquarters: sanitizer, cleaning supplies/wipes, masks, and gloves. All staff members and visitors will be required to have their temperature checked upon entering the building. Anyone with a temperature of 100.4 or higher will not be allowed to enter the building. Staff with a temperature of 100.4 or higher will be sent home immediately and not allowed to return until fever-free for 72 hours.

In-Person Gathering Guidelines for Girl Scout Meetings, Activities, & Travel

Refer to the Indoor COVID Square Footage Calculations section for the minimum square feet required per person for indoor activities.

In-person troop or group meetings, and day-only activities that include local field trips are permissible. Troop or group leader(s) are to keep the council informed of troop/group high adventure activities or local field trips by submitting an Activity/Trip Permission (#2129)

NO troop carpooling until council has successfully moved to Phase III. No troop public transporation until Phase IV. See "Transportation Guidelines" section for specific details.

NO group or service unit carpooling or public transpration until council has successfully moved to Phase IV. See "Transportation Guidelines" section for specific details.

NO local or regional camping or overnight activities permitted until after council has successfully moved to Phase III. At that time, the council will begin to consider approvals for locarl or regional troop or group overnight or camping activities that are limited to no more than three days/two nights; additional quarantine restrictions will apply.  

NO domestic (extended) travel permitted until after council has successfully entered Phase IV.

NO international travel until after council has successfully entered into Phase V and nonessential travel to other countries is deemed safe.

Troop INDOOR Meeting Size: the current maximum is 50 people; must maintain the girl-to-adult ratio by grade level. See Volunteer Essentials for details.

Troop OUTDOOR Meeting Size: the current maximum is 100 people; must maintain the girl-to-adult ratio by grade level. See Volunteer Essentials for details.

Types of Travel (as defined by GSVSC) 
Day Field Trips:
involves traveling within or outside of the council footprint and/or state of Virginia but must not involve troop/group activities that require an overnight stay. 

Local Travel: involves travel within our local state of Virginia or states that directly border Virginia (Maryland, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, and North Carolina, also Washington D.C.); activities and travel takes place over a period of time that is no longer than two days/three nights. 

Regional Travel: involves travel outside the state of Virginia, but remains along the East Coast region only (Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia,West Virginia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, and Florida.); activities and travel usually takes place over a period that may be longer than three days/two nights but no longer than 10 days; Phase III COVID guidelines restrict all regional travel time frames to no more than three days/two nights.  

Domestic Travel: involves travel outside of Virginia and the East Coast Region but remains within the lower 48 states/Continental US; activities and travel usually takes place over a period that may be 3 to 14 days or more; travel may involve public transportation by plane, train, or bus. 

International Travel/Cruises: involves travel to Hawaii, Alaska, other countries and/or travel by cruise ship. Activities and travel takes place over a period that may be anywhere from 5 to 14 days or more. 

Transportation Guidelines

Girl Scouts has adopted a zero-transportation and troop carpooling policy until the council has safely entered into Phase III.

  • Individual parents must continue to drop-off and pick-up their own girls from all Girl Scout meetings and activities or plan to travel and remain with the troop during all local day field trip activities.
  • Volunteers may not transport girls, other than their own, during this time. 
  • Troop or group members may NOT travel together with others outside of their household. Once council has entered Phase III, troop carpooling will be permitted but limited to three households per vehicle; additional COVID mitigation restrictions will apply. No troop carpooling with more than three households until the council successfully enters into Phase IV.
  • Large group or service unit carpooling and/or public transportation are not allowed until the council has entered Phase IV. 
Summer Camps

Effective May 1, 2021, the Virginia State mandate by Governor Northam states that day and overnight summer camps may begin operations under the following guidelines: 

  • All camps will develop and implement a communicable disease plan to mitigate the risk of infection to campers and staff entering the camp environment.

  • The plan must include, but shall not be limited to: 

    • the pre-screening requirement for a negative molecular test within 3-5 days prior to the beginning of camp

    • or 14-day symptom screening and isolation period for the camper and all persons in the family that have contact with the camper. Campers utilizing symptom screening must restrict their close contacts to those only inside their family for the duration of the 14-day period. 

  • The plan must also include protocols for streamlined travel and drop-offs with limited interactions between parents and camp personnel and other campers.

  • The plan will employ the use of cohorts (units/pods):  

    • Cohorts (units/pods) may not be mixed, including during meal times, program activities, etc. 

    • Cohort (unit/pods) size may not exceed 25 campers, not including staff. 

    • When any camper or staff is traveling throughout the camp or near other cohorts (units/pods), a strict 10 feet of physical distancing and mask wearing must be observed from those not in their cohort. 

    • In the case of inclement weather, camps must plan for indoor settings that allow for 36 sq. ft per person for each cohort (unit/pod). 

    • Indoor facilities must accommodate 113 sq. ft. per person for any indoor program/event-related activities.

    • Each cohort must have access to the required number of bathroom and hand washing facilities. The plan must include instructions for campers to self-sanitize all touched surfaces before and after use. If the facilities are shared among units, when possible, the plan should include assigned stalls and/or scheduled use with an increase in the overall frequency of sanitizing all bathroom touched surfaces (door knobs, facet/toilet handles, light switches, toilet seats, etc.).

  • Ten feet of distancing must be observed when engaging in singing, cheering, exercise, or other activities involving increased exhalation.

Types of GSVSC Summer Camps
Day camp
is for girls in kindergarten and up, with activities on three or more consecutive days for four hours or more, using council-approved sites. The occasional overnight camp may be offered.

Twilight camp is for girls in kindergarten and up, with activities on three or more consecutive evenings for four hours or more, using council-approved sites. The occasional overnight camp may be offered.

Weekend camp is for girls in kindergarten and up, and typically lasts for two-three days with one or two overnights, using council-approved sites. Weekend camps are planned and carried out by a group of girls and volunteers.

Travel camping is for experienced older girls and adult campers. The group travels from one site to another on foot or via motorized or non-motorized transportation over a period of three or more nights, staying at different campsites along the way.

Resident camp is for girls who have finished kindergarten. Girls camp for three to fourteen days and nights (the average is five nights), using council-approved sites. They plan activities with their counselors/volunteers, taking advantage of the resources available at the campsite.

Social Distancing Guidelines

Refer to the Indoor COVID Square Footage Calculations section for the minimum square feet required per person for indoor activities. 
 
  • Meeting outdoors is preferred over meeting indoors; local parks or outdoor community or church pavilions are encouraged. 
  • Maintain six feet of physical distance between people who do not reside in the same household. 
  • Maintain at least 10 feet in any setting that includes physical activity, singing, cheering, or chanting. 
  • At such time, when cohorts are allowable, cohorts (units) may not mix during the entirety of the program or meeting activities.  Cohorts must maintain at least 10 feet of distance between cohorts (units) in any indoor or outdoor setting.
  • Follow all preventative guidance (such as hand washing and face coverings).
Face Masks Guidelines
  • All individuals ages five and older must cover their mouth and nose with a mask as described and recommended by the CDC if they are in an indoor setting shared by others outside of their household.
  • All individuals in the Commonwealth aged five and older must cover their mouth and nose with a mask, as described and recommended by the CDC, when outdoors and unable to maintain at least six feet of physical distance from other individuals who do not live in the same household.
  • Girls can bring their own masks. Have disposable masks on hand for those who need them.
  • Teach girls how to handle their face coverings so that the coverings are effective: Improve How Your Mask Protects You (CDC)
  • Remind girls and their families that Girl Scouts wear face masks not only to protect themselves, but also to protect others. Face masks are a civic responsibility and a sign of caring for the community.
  • Some girls or volunteers may not be able to wear masks, due to medical conditions such as asthma. Volunteers or parents/guardians should be instructed to contact the council for guidance on how best to handle these exceptional circumstances. 
  • Troops should inform families so they are aware if there is a member who will participate without wearing a mask. 
  • Council will assess whether adaptations and alternatives for individuals with health conditions or disabilities should be considered to increase the feasibility of wearing a mask or determine if additional measures can be put in place to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading if it is not possible to wear one. These situations will be addressed on a case-by-case basis. 
  • There may be circumstances where exceptions cannot be made. 
COVID-19 Exposure Mitigation Guidelines

Follow the resources developed by credible public health sources such as the Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC) or your local public health department. Volunteers are to share these with girls and adults, and ensure that they are practiced during meetings and activities. When possible, 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:

  • Get vaccinated; register to get vaccinated.
  • Wear a mask.
  • Stay 6 feet away from others outside of your household.
  • Avoid crowds, avoid congregating and poorly ventilated spaces; increase ventilation by opening doors and windows, use fans whenever possible.
  • Avoid sharing personal household items.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently; before and after use of shared or frequently touched surfaces.
  • Know the symptoms.; monitor your health daily.
  • Stay home if you are sick. Review CDC Guidelines on "How to Protect Yourself & Others."
  • Cover cough and sneezes; cough and sneeze into a tissue, throw the tissue in the trash, and wash or sanitize hands.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Review CDC Guidelines for "When and How to Wash Hands."
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth. Wash hands if you do touch.
  • On-site temperature checks are preferred, but we understand that this may not always be feasible. Volunteers, girls, and parents should take temperatures prior to group interaction to confirm no one is not running a fever and temperature is a normal 98.6 degrees. Anyone with fever or temperature higher than 100.4 should skip all in-person Girl Scout meetings or activities until their temperature is normal for at least 72 hours without fever-reducing medications and all symptoms have improved.
  • Follow CDC Guidelines on "What to Do If You Are Sick."
  • Add your phone to the COVID fight and help Virginia stop COVID-19. Download Virginia’s free COVIDWISE Exposure Notification app to help protect your community while protecting your privacy. Download on the Apple App Store or get it on Google Play.
COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tools

Council staff, volunteers, families, and girls should take a self-assessment to check symptoms prior to any in-person Girl Scout gathering. These tools are a guide to help bring awareness and seek appropriate medical care. These tools are NOT intended for the diagnosis or treatment of disease or other conditions, including COVID-19. It is recommended to use self-assessments tools based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.

Apple COVID-19 Screening Tool
Google COVID‑19 Self-Assessment
Blue Cross Blue Shield Self-Assessment
Mayo Clinic COVID-19 Self-Assessment

Girl Scout Family Guidelines

It is to be understood that meeting in-person is a personal decision families must make for their girls and individuals must make for themselves. 

It is to be understood that a communicable disease is not covered under the Girl Scouts of the USA's general liability policy provided through Girl Scout membership. Additional insurance coverage is available for purchase. Please contact the council at info@gsvsc.org for additional information.

Vaccines are an important tool to help stop the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Girl Scouts cannot require families, girls or volunteers to vaccinate. The decision to vaccinate is a personal decision families must make for their girls and individual adults must make for themselves.

Parents are to ensure their child does not have a fever or feel ill before coming to the in-person meeting or gathering. Child must be fever free without any fever-reducing medications and all symptoms have improved.

All individuals must complete a temperature check and should agree to the Girl Scout Culture of Care Pledge prior to participation.

All individuals who are ill, living with someone who is ill or showing symptoms or in a high-risk category may not participate in in-person meetings or gatherings.

All individuals must complete a COVID-19 Questionnaire, Participation Agreement, and Pledge (#1082) and COVID-19 Waiver (#1083) prior to any in-person participation.

Volunteers should avoid providing self-serve, potluck, buffet or family-style food or drinks. If the event is a family gathering, then each family should provide their own food and drinks. See the "Food & Drink Guidelines" section below. 

Remind girls not share food and drinks with others outside of a family unit.

Remind girls not to drink from water fountains. Girls should each bring their own bottles of water.

Each girl can provide her own box of supplies (markers, scissors, glue, etc.) This box can be carried to and from the meeting or collected, labeled, and stored in one location. Each box is to be sanitized before being stored or reused.

Keep girls Girl Scout health records up-to-date. 

Report any known exposure or positive COVID-19 test to council.

Troop Meetings at Council Camps/Properties Guidelines

Council camps/properties are available for use FREE of charge for troop meetings.

  • Submit your reservation to the council. 
  • Send a complete roster of all members who will be in attendance. 
  • A limited number of days and times are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Please understand the following guidelines will be activated:

  • Only one troop/group on camp/property at a time.
  • Gatherings will be scheduled for a maximum of two hours.
  • Limited to 50 people maximum for INDOOR activities and 100 people maximum for OUTDOOR activities. This includes girls, volunteers and family members.
  • All members of the group are required to wear masks or facial coverings for indoor meetings.
  • Troops can use the outdoor spaces, including fire circles and pavilions, as well as bathrooms.
  • To build a fire, at least one troop volunteer must have appropriate outdoor education training.
  • Specific program activities, areas and equipment may not be available. 
  • Shared food items are not permitted. Girls/adults/families should provide their own food packed and brought from home.
  • Troops/groups must follow all GSVSC COVID-19 Exposure Mitigation Guidelines. 
Phase III Troop/Group Travel & Overnights

Once council enters into Phase III, troops or groups must complete the Activity/Trip Permission (#2129) form when planning ANY overnight or camping activities; overnight/camping activity must occur after May 1, 2021, and cannot last more than three days/two nights. (Additional pre-screening, isolation, and sleeping accommodation guidelines to be determined.) Due to Phase III carpooling restrictions, parents or guardians may need to continue to provide supervision/transporation to and from activities. When parents/guardians attend a trip/overnight, they must be registered and background checked, and must be able to stay overnight during the entire activity when providing transportation for the troop. 

  • Activities/trips lasting more than three days/two nights will NOT be approved until we move to Phase IV; provisional planning & promotional clearance may be provided if trips/travel occurs after October 1, 2021. 

  • Troop carpooling will be permitted but limited to three households per vehicle; additional COVID mitigation restrictions will apply. No carpooling with more than three households until the council successfully moves to Phase IV.

  • Troops/groups are expected to research and plan to meet all safety requirements. Rates of infection, quarantining before and after trip, and requirements for COVID-19 testing and vaccines may vary based on location of activity.

Local or Regional Travel
Local or regional camping or overnight activities will be permitted after council has successfully moved to Phase III. At that time, the council will begin to consider approvals for local or regional troop or group overnight or camping activities that are limited to no more than three days/two nights; additional quarantine restrictions will apply.

Troops are expected to research and plan to meet all safety requirements. Rates of infection, quarantining before and after trip, and requirements for COVID-19 testing and vaccines vary by countries and venues.

Domestic Travel
Until further notice troops or groups may not travel within the continental United States for the spring/summer of 2021. Council will begin to provide planning & provisional promotional clearance for domestic travel that occurs October 1, 2021, or later. (Dates subject to change based on US/VA travel guidelines and/or restrictions.) 

Troops are expected to research and plan to meet all safety requirements. Rates of infection, quarantining before and after trip, and requirements for COVID-19 testing and vaccines vary by state and venues. 

International and Cruise Travel
Troops may not travel internationally or on cruises for the spring/summer of 2021. GSUSA has postponed all international destinations until summer 2022. Council will begin to provide planning & provisional promotional clearance for international travel that occurs May 1, 2022, or later. (Dates subject to change based on US/VA travel guidelines and/or restrictions.) 

Troops are expected to research and plan to meet all safety requirements. Rates of infection, quarantining before and after trip, and requirements for COVID-19 testing and vaccines vary by countries and venues.

Types of Travel (as defined by GSVSC) 
Day Field Trips:
 involves traveling within or outside of the council footprint and/or state of Virginia but must not involve troop/group activities that require an overnight stay. 

Local Travel: involves travel within our local state of Virginia or states that directly border Virginia (Maryland, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, and North Carolina, also Washington D.C.); activities and travel takes place over a period of time that is no longer than two days/three nights. 

Regional Travel: involves travel outside the state of Virginia, but remains along the East Coast region only (Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia,West Virginia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, and Florida.); activities and travel usually takes place over a period that may be longer than three days/two nights but no longer than 10 days; Phase III COVID guidelines restrict all regional travel time frames to no more than three days/two nights.  

Domestic Travel: involves travel outside of Virginia and the East Coast Region but remains within the lower 48 states/Continental US; activities and travel usually takes place over a period that may be 3 to 14 days or more; travel may involve public transportation by plane, train, or bus. 

International Travel/Cruises: involves travel to Hawaii, Alaska, other countries and/or travel by cruise ship. Activities and travel takes place over a period that may be anywhere from 5 to 14 days or more. 

Girl Scout Meetings in Public Spaces Guidelines

Meeting outdoors is preferred over meeting indoors; local parks or outdoor community or church pavilions are encouraged. 

Troop meetings in the home are not permissible. Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) has always discouraged troop meetings in the home. GSUSA strongly believes not making exceptions out of concern that there would be greater risk of exposure. 

Meetings are not permissible in fitness centers or commercial gyms, where a greater risk for contracting the virus may exist.

Girl Scouts may not gather INDOORS at the maximum number of 50 participants, if the activity or location does not make it feasible for all participants to follow social distancing. (See guidelines to calculate in-person meeting square footage.)

Girl Scouts must obtain advance permission from the owner of the location or facilities being used. 

Schools or churches may not permit outside groups on premises, so always check and confirm ahead of time.

For meetings at public facilities, ask the facility in advance:

  • Is the space cleaned and are touch surfaces (door knobs/handles, light switches, counter tops, tabletops, chairs, handrails, restrooms, toilets, floors, 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 and soap dispensers are available in the restroom (sensory or manual)?
  • Does the facility follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state health department guidelines?

Girl Scouts are to supplement public facility cleaning practices. Arrive at least 20 minutes prior to Girl Scout meetings to wipe down and sanitize touch surfaces to prepare space for Girl Scout activities. After meetings, allow time to sanitize and wipe down touch surfaces to leave the meeting space better than you found it. 

Council camps/properties are available for use FREE of charge for troop meetings. Be sure to contact the council for scheduling and submit your reservation.

Cookie Booths

Girl Scouts of Virginia Skyline Council's Safe Booth Guidelines and other cookie program-related information surrounding the pandemic were issued on January 1, 2021. We will update you through the eBudde system and other communications as well as post the link here to these guidelines.

Indoor COVID Square Footage Calculations

Volunteers are to calculate square footage needs so that all participants can properly social distance.

Calculations should be based on a circle radius of six feet equal or approximately 113 square feet per person for all INDOOR program event-related activities; e.g., 10 participants require 1130 sq. ft. of space to properly social distance. Here online is an Occupant Capacity Calculator.

When planning outdoor activities, indoor facilities must be available and able to accommodate a minimum of 36 sq. ft per person for inclement weather or the event must be postponed/cancelled.

Large In-Person Events

Prior to May 1, 2021, in-person gathering or activities for a troop, group or service unit that exceeds what is currently allowed, must gather in smaller groups—such as age-level groups or patrols at scheduled (intervals) sessions throughout the day. Group sizes may not exceed the current gathering size restrictions of 50 indoors and 100 outdoors. There must be a minimum of a 30-minute gap in-between each group gatherings to allow for proper sanitization of all hard/touched surfaces, tables, chairs, equipment, supplies, bathroom facilities, etc.  The first troop, group, or patrol members must have left the premises before the next troop, group, or patrol members arrive for the next scheduled session.  For example: 

  • Group 1 participants arrive for 9:30 AM check-in.
  • Group 1 programming runs from 10 AM-11:45 PM. 
  • Group 1 participants leave premises by 12:00 NOON.
  • Staff and volunteers sanitize all hard/touched surfaces, equipment, bathroom and handwashing facilities between 12 NOON to 12:30 PM.
  • Group 2 participant check-in begins at 12:30 PM.
  • Group 2 program runs from 1-2:45 PM.
  • Group 2 leaves premises by 3 PM.
  • Staff and volunteers sanitize and prepare for Group 3 arrival at 3:30 PM, etc.
  • Repeat for each additional group. 

After May 1, 2021: TBD; once council officially moves to Phase III; exact maximum gathering restrictions are dependent upon Governor Northam’s Executive Orders. Council will provide size and number of cohorts based on current gathering restrictions outlined in Governor Northam’s Executive Orders; whichever is most restrictive at the time of event. However, the following event structure can be used when planning summer in-person gatherings occurring after May 1, 2021:  

TBD* (after May 1, 2021), if current Governor Northam’s gathering restrictions allow:   

  • Program related event and meeting activities should be carried out in cohorts (units/pods); cohorts may not mix or co-mingle at any time, including during meal times, program activities, etc.

  • For example, indoor events may have up to 5 cohorts of 10 girls and no more than 3 cohort adult leaders; not to exceed 75 people total on site at one time or current indoor gathering restrictions, whatever is the least. 

    • Indoor facilities must be able to accommodate 113 sq. ft. per person for all indoor program/event-related activities

  • For example, outdoor events may have up to 4 cohorts (units) of 25 girls and 7 cohort adult leaders; not to exceed 150 people total on site at one time or limit to the current maximum outdoor gathering restrictions, whatever is the least.

    • Indoor facilities must be able to accommodate 36 sq. ft per person for inclement weather or the event must be postponed/cancelled and/or participants safely evacuated.

    • When any cohort member or staff is traveling throughout the outdoor space or near other cohorts (units), a strict 10 feet of physical distancing and mask wearing must be observed from those not in their cohort. 

    • Proper sanitization of all touched / hard surfaces, bathroom facilities, etc., must occur before and after use prior to cohorts using shared spaces.

*These cohorting gathering restriction cohorts are based on a hope that our state government will continue to remove restrictions for gathering; the amount of participants and number of cohorts are subject to change.

The council is hoping to transition to Phase III and allow gatherings upto 75 indoors and 150 outdoors by this summer. We continue to actively plan for opening in-person day camps this summer, as restrictions allow.

Food & Drinks Guidelines

Volunteers should not provide food or drinks. If the event is a family gathering, then each family should provide their own food and drinks; avoid providing self-serve, potluck, salad bars, buffet or family-style food or drinks options; prepackaged (unopened) individual-sized bottled water or drinks may be provided.

Do not drink from water fountains. Girls and volunteers should each bring their own bottles of water.

Do not share food or drinks with others outside of your family unit.

ServSafe training may be required when providing food service or selling food items as part of money-earning activities. When food needs to be held at either a hot or cold temperature, as opposed to baked goods, volunteers and girls are to contact their local health department for guidance and training within their local jurisdiction.

If food service is being provided as a money-earning activity, you must provide individual, pre-packaged boxes or bags instead of a potluck, buffet, or family-style meals. Always avoid sharing of foods, drinks, and utensils.

Anyone serving or handling prepackaged meals must wear a mask & clean gloves. Ensure everyone handling food, washes hands (even if they will be wearing gloves) prior to any food prep or meals, following CDC handwashing guidelines.

Always use disposable food service items (e.g., utensils, dishes). If disposable items are not feasible, ensure that all non-disposable food service items are handled with gloves and washed with dish soap and hot water or in a dishwasher. Individuals should wash their hands after removing their gloves or after directly handling used food service items.

For money-earning activities, provide drive-thru pick up and/or front porch drop off. Provide physical guides, such as tape on floors or sidewalks and signs on walls, to ensure that individuals not from the same household remain at least 6 feet apart when waiting in line to order or pick up.

Avoid Personal Contact at In-Person Activities Guidelines

Practice social distancing by keeping at least six feet of space between others and everyone ages five and above must cover their mouth and nose with a mask while indoors and when outdoors and unable to maintain at least six feet of physical distance from other individuals who are outside of their family household.

Have hand washing/sanitizing supplies available. Have everyone sanitize hands upon arrival, throughout (at least every 30 minutes) and just before leaving; use hands-free handwashing stations whenever possible; use a barrier for frequently touched surfaces (faucet handles, door handles, etc.). 

Avoid all 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. Create a safe way for members to greet and end meetings without any physical contact. 

Games and activities will need to be chosen to ensure physical contact does not happen.

Avoid the use of shared materials such as markers, scissors, etc. by having each girl provide her own box of items. This box can be carried to and from the meeting by the individual girl. If collected and stored in one location, each box should be wiped off with sanitizing wipe before being stored and before being reused. 

If there are shared items, sanitize each item before and after each person uses the item.

Provide trash baskets or bags for meeting and activity spaces, if not already available. Make sure that the trash baskets or bags are always easily accessible.

First Aid Supplies Guidelines

Troop first aid supplies should include COVID-19 prevention items including hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol), hydrogen peroxide wipes, tissues, disposable facemasks, and disinfectants. Trash baskets or bags should be supplied for meeting and activity spaces, if not already available.

Disposable or no-contact thermometers may be added to supplies if available and not cost-prohibitive; however, parents are to check temperatures before allowing their girl(s) to join in-person Girl Scout activities.

First Aid/CPR

Keep First Aid/CPR Training skills up to date for any emergency.  

If in-person training is not available, volunteers can receive on-line training with a council approved training provider (Red Cross/American Heart Association). Once possible in your jurisdiction, volunteers are to resume in-person skills assessment.

Disinfecting Guidelines

Use a household cleaner or see the Environmental Protection Agency's list of effective cleaners approved for use against COVID-19. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products.

Girl Scouts are to supplement public facility cleaning practices. Arrive a minimum of 20 mins prior to GS meetings to wipe down and sanitize touch surfaces to prepare space for Girl Scout activities. 

After meetings, allow time to sanitize and wipe down touch surfaces to leave the meeting space better than you found it. 

Routinely clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that are frequently touched (tabletops, chairs, equipment, etc.)

Avoid the use of shared materials such as markers, scissors, etc. by having each girl provide her own box of items. This box can be carried to and from the meeting by the individual girl. If collected and stored in one location, each box should be wiped down with sanitizing wipe before being stored and before being reused. 

Sanitize each item before and after, if equipment or supplies must be shared.

COVID-19 Symptoms at Girl Scout Meeting/Event Guidelines
  • Isolate and transport those who are sick. In the event a participant (adult or child) begins to exhibit COVID-19 symptoms (or later tests positive for COVID-19, or later realizes exposure to someone with symptoms or a confirmed or suspected case), instruct participants to notify the designated volunteer COVID-19 point of contact for that activity.

  • Clean and disinfect. Close off areas used by a sick person and do not use these areas until after cleaning and disinfecting them (for outdoor areas, this includes surfaces or shared objects in the area, if applicable).

    • Wait at least 24 hours before cleaning and disinfecting. If 24 hours is not feasible, wait as long as possible. Ensure safe and correct use and storage of cleaning external icon and disinfection products, including storing them securely away from children.

  • Advise sick individuals of home Isolation criteria. Sick members or participants should not return to Girl Scouts until they have met CDC’s criteria to discontinue home isolation

  • Gather attendance records and health forms. Document what happened using the Incident Report (#1089) and submit to the council at CEO@gsvsc.org.

  • Promptly notify council. Once the person has been safely isolated and/or transported, promptly contact the council during regular business hours at 540-777-5100 or contact the council emergency number after hours: 540-598-0974. Refer to the guidelines for reporting and communicating a positive COVID-19 test or known exposure section.

    • In accordance with state and local laws and regulations, council staff will notify local health officials, staff, and families immediately of any case of COVID-19 while maintaining confidentiality in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). 

    • Council staff will request the required documentation from volunteers in charge of activity and advise those who have had close contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19 to separate themselves, self-monitor for symptoms, and follow CDC guidance if symptoms develop. 

Reporting a COVID-19 Positive Test or Known Exposure Guidelines
  • Girl, volunteer, and staff health information is private and strictly confidential. 

  • In the event of a COVID-19 positive test result or known exposure to someone who has tested positive to COVID-19, do not contact the parents or troop members. 

  • Promptly contact a GSVSC council staff member in this situation at 540-777-5100 or contact the council emergency number after hours at 540-598-0974. 

  • Volunteers responsible for the troop, group, or service unit gathering, where participants had a known exposure to COVID-19, will be asked to submit copies of the following documents to council: 

    • Meeting, activity, event or gathering attendance records

    • Participant health forms

    • Signed COVID-19 Questionnaire, Participation Agreement, and Pledges (#1082) and COVID-19 Waivers (#1083)

  • A council staff member (not volunteers) will be responsible for taking the necessary steps to to correctly handle the situation. 

    • Confirm and trace the positive tester

    • Notify volunteers or parents of anyone who may have been exposed or impacted by a positive test result

    • Notify the facility of where a troop or group has met 

    • Alert the Virginia Department of Health

Records Retention

Girl Scouts is not a covered entity under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). However, Girl Scouts takes the privacy and protection of our members' data very seriously and does manage personal identifiable information (PII), personal health information (PHI) and other confidential information. Therefore, Girl Scouts does not retain personal data any longer than necessary and does not share personal data beyond a strict “need to know” basis.

  • With respect to paper pre-screening forms (#1082 COVID-19 Questionnaire, Participation Agreement and Pledge, and #1083 COVID-19 Waiver) that are collected manually, the forms should be saved for the duration of the membership year. After the conclusion of one full membership year and it has been deemed with most certainty that no record of COVID-19 exposure or positive testing occurred during or immediately following the gathering for which the forms were collected, all pre-screening forms can then be disposed of/shredded. 
  • If exposure or positive testing has been reported, then follow council "Reporting a COVID-19 Positive Test or Known Exposure Guidelines" and submit all required forms to council. 
Vaccination FAQ

Once adults are permitted to receive the COVID-19 vaccination in their home state, are volunteers required to be vaccinated before they can meet in person with girls?
Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) and GSVSC strongly encourages, but does not require, vaccination for volunteers. State laws and policies may vary from council to council. As of now, the COVID-19 vaccines will 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.

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 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?
COVID-19 vaccines are not expected to become available for children before the end of 2021. 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 will 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.

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?
Yes. For the protection of all members as well as the families and communities we serve, [GSVSC] will continue to practice, and encourage all members of the Movement to practice, all CDC-recommended health and safety protocols, regardless of whether or not an individual has received the vaccine.

When Girl Scouts Meet In-Person (Overview)
It is to be understood that meeting in-person is a personal decision families must make for their girls and individuals must make for themselves. 

 

Vaccines are an important tool to help stop the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Girl Scouts cannot require families or individuals to vaccinate.  The decision to vaccinate is a personal decision families must make for their girls and individual adults must make for themselves. 

 

It is to be understood that a communicable disease is NOT covered under the Girl Scouts of the USA's general liability policy provided through Girl Scout membership. If you have questions regarding the purchase of additional insurance coverage, please contact the council at info@gsvsc.org.

Meeting outdoors is preferred over meeting indoors; virtual meeting options should be made available for those who do not wish to meet in-person. 

All participants must follow Governor Northam's Executive Orders regarding social distancing, face mask, handwashing, disinfecting, ventilation, and all other guidelines as outlined by Girl Scouts of Virginia Skyline Council and recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Until council enters into Phase III, parents must drop-off and pick-up their own girls from all Girl Scout activities.

All individuals must agree to a temperature check and the Girl Scout Culture of Care Pledge (#1082) prior to their participation.

All individuals must complete a COVID-19 Questionnaire, Participation Agreement, and Pledge (#1082) and COVID-19 Waiver (#1083) prior to their participation. 

A designated, trained volunteer must be on site to serve as point of contact and lead person in charge to: 

  • Confirm temperature checks, and keep stellar attendance, contact, and health records for all participants. 
  • Routinely clean areas before and after all in-person meetings or activities; must have cleaning supplies available for all in-person meetings or activities.

Avoid preparing and providing food or drinks. If the event is a family gathering, then each family should provide their own food and drinks. Do not share with others outside of your family unit. See the "Food & Drink Guidelines" section for complete details. 

ADDITIONAL GIRL SCOUT COVID-19 RESOURCES
COVID-19 National Phases of Reopening
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Virginia Department of Health
How to Talk to Your Girl About Coronavirus

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.