Girl Scouts of Greater South Texas 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
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. The current suggested maximum is ten people
(eight girls and two unrelated adult volunteers). However, check your
local restrictions for small gatherings. If more restrictive, follow
the local restriction. Restrictions vary greatly from state to state,
county to county, and even from town to town--and frequently change.
If a state allows more than ten to gather, utilize all social
distancing practices, and follow all preventative guidance (such as
face coverings). Get clearance from your council before planning any
gatherings of more than ten people.
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 an 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. (council to link for volunteers)
Other helpful resources can be found here: CLICK 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
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).
Note: Use culturally appropriate messages, materials, and resources.
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
· Confirming and tracing the positive tester,
· Contacting the parents of anyone who may have been exposed (or
· 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.