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Girl Scout Safety Amid Coronavirus

The most recent update is 7-29, 2022.  Originally posted March 13, 2020.

We are excited that Girl Scouts in Manitou Council can "Press Play!" for safe and fun Girl Scout activities by following the CDC guidelines. Throughout the COVID19 pandemic in Manitou Council our Girl Scouts, their parents, and our Girl Scout volunteers have been models of cheerfulness, can-do attitude, and willingness to take the steps needed to help each other.  It is clear the Girl Scout Law is being lived to the fullest in Manitou Council; you have been friendly and helpful, considerate and caring, and courageous and strong.  You've shown respect for each other and taken the steps necessary to be a sister to every Girl Scout. (7-29-22)

We encourage parents to keep their Girl Scouts up to date on childhood vaccinations, including COVID-19 and to get their Girl Scouts tested if they develop symptoms of illness. Washing her hands regularly, keeping a distance and wearing a mask if she may have been exposed to an illness, getting vaccinations, and staying home when not feeling well are all steps Girl Scouts can and should take to keep each other healthy.

While the pandemic is not yet over, and we may need to go back to more stringent guidelines, for the time being, troops can choose to meet and do activities without masks.  Additionally, those who choose to continue to wear masks will be accepted and celebrated in their Girl Scout troop without judgement. 

Girl Scouts, gathering in-person or virtually, have provided fun socialization, normalcy, and a supportive sisterhood for girls during this challenging situation. Girl Scout volunteers played a critical role in supporting girls at a time when they too were and are being challenged.  They have been role models of perserverance and flexibility. We cannot thank you enough. (2-28-2022)

In-Person Meetings, Sites, and Safety

Troop Meeting Spaces

Public buildings may not permit outside groups on premises yet or may require masks of all people.  Always confirm and follow the most stringent rules of the location.  Check with the owner or operator to determine capacity. (2-28-2022) 

Girl Scouts of Manitou Council Sites - If your Manitou Girl Scout troop is suddenly in need of a troop meeting site due to the intepretations of COVID-19 restrictions on public buildings and are in the area around Camp Manitou, Camp Evelyn or the Girl Scout Center, the Girl Scouts of Manitou Council is offering our troops the opportunity to use council buildings for troop meetings free of charge. Camp buildings are not open to the public and attendance at your troop meeting is by invitation only (8-20-2020 &10-7-2020.)

Camp buildings will be available for troop meeting use Sunday 4:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m., and all through the week daily 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., to Friday at 3 p.m.

The Girl Scout Center will be available for troop meeting use from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. daily. During the week day, when the Girl Scout Center is open to the public, the capacity for meeting at the Girl Scout Center is limited to 25 people.  During the evening and weekend, attendance in the building is by invitation only. No one should enter except those invited by your troop or by council staff or volunteers. (10-7-2020)

It is our hope to schedule troops for 1.5 hours per meeting, leaving a half hour between meetings to allow for social distancing and sanitizing. All safety and COVID-19-related guidelines must be followed in council buildings. We will be asking troop leaders to do basic sanitizing of buildings after each meeting to prepare for the next troop. 

Click here to request a Manitou Council site for your troop meeting.

Homes - If meeting in the home is the only option due to restrictions on public meeting spaces:

  • The home must be the home of registered, background checked, council approved Volunteer.
  • There must be at least two registered, unrelated, approved volunteers present at all times. 
  • Girls may not meet in a home where a registered sex offender lives.
  • The troop needs to be able to focus without disruptions from other household members.
  • Animals should be kept in a place that is separate from the meeting space.
  • The Homeowner should ask their Homeowner’s insurance carrier if there are any insurance exclusions regarding holding troop meetings at the home, in the event an accident or injury occurs. 
  • Weapons must be completely out of view and stored in a locked space.
  • Medication, dangerous cleaning products, or any poisonous substance must be stored in a secure space out of sight, preferably locked.
  • Meetings should ideally be held outdoors, perhaps in the back or front yard of the home.
  • While Girl Scout activities are taking place, entrance to the home must be by invitation only.  
  • All guidance provided here is followed. (2-28-2022)

Hygiene and COVID-19 Risk Mitigation. Follow the resources developed by credible public health sources such as the 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 are available on the CDC website.  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 an FDA approved hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Wash hands if you do touch.

First Aid Supplies. Troop first aid supplies should include COVID-19 prevention items including FDA approved 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. 

Disinfectants and Disinfecting. Routinely clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that are frequently touched in your meeting site (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

Virtual meetings The Volunteer Toolkit has expanded plans to make it easy to have both inperson and virtual meetings.   Girl Scouts at Home and The Troop Leader Blueprints on our website also have have fabulous resources, meeting plans, tips and other helps to make your virtual meetings successful and fun. 

Girl Scouts of the USA 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. 

Girl Scouts at Home and Virtual Meetings

The Volunteer Toolkit has expanded plans to make it easy to have both inperson and virtual meetings.   Girl Scouts at Home and The Troop Leader Blueprints on our website also have have fabulous resources, meeting plans, tips and other helps to make your virtual meetings successful and fun. 

Girl Scouts of the USA 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. 

Free Zoom Licenses allow for groups to meet up to 40 minutes.  Low cost Zoom Licenses are available especially to Girl Scouts troops to allow for unlimited use time and all the bells and whistles. These low cost Zoom Licenses can be purchased directly from the Girl Scout online shop. (7-28-2021)

Media Stars: One easy thing Girl Scouts of ALL AGES can do at home (with minimal supervision) is become a Media Star. Our Director of Communications started this program to work with Girl Scouts to tell their stories and share their creativity. For participating, Girl Scouts will receive the special Media Star fun patch for free. 

Sharing a story can mean a lot of things: an art project, self portrait, vision or inspiration board, news article, fictional short story, listicle, quiz, video, song, script, blog post, and more. The sky is the limit! The topic can be anything related to Girl Scouts or current events. Our Director of Communications is virtually available to help girls throughout the process. Questions or have a completed project? Contact  cassie@gsmanitou.org . Check  here  for more information and to see some of our current Media Stars projects. 

Manitou GIRL Magazine:  Girl Scouts of Manitou Council has a digital magazine aimed at Girl Scouts and their parents. Each issue features articles and ideas on Girl Scout topics, stories written by local Girl Scouts, advice and inspirational stories, STEM activities, crafts, fun activities or quizzes, and a recipe! Check out all our issues  here . 

The newest edition is now here! The fall edition features advice, inspiration, activities, recipes, games and more learning fun! We hope you enjoy this issue. For a printer friendly version - click here

 

Girl Scout Center and Assistance from Employees

The Girl Scout Center is open for visitors:

Monday - Thursday 8:00 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. (9-10-2021)

The Girl Scouts of Manitou Council remains ready to help bring the Girl Scout program to girls.  

Car-side delivery of your order can be made by calling 920-565-4575, ext 310 before arriving. 

Council Employees are working in the Girl Scout Center, at camp, and from home.  You are free to contact them at any of these places. 

You can also feel free to continue to:

  • Send us an email at growstrong@gsmanitou.org
  • Call us at 920-565-4575 to leave message,
  • Contact a specific employee directly, using our Staff Directory, or
  • Log on to the Girl Scout Shop to order Girl Scout items to be delivered to you.
  • Call ahead and make an appointment with any staff member. 

(2-28-2022)

Cookie Sale Rewards Involving Travel

Through the Girl Scout Cookie Sale many troops earned tickets to various fun venues across the state

We will keep troops who earn these awards informed when it is not possible to redeem those awards due to the health regulations of those sites.  If awards are completely not able to be redeemed due to the health guidelines of the council or the location, alternative awards will be provided. (2-28-22)

Follow guidelines for troop activities in traveling to these destinations.

Reporting Potential COVID19 Contact and Exposure

In the event of a suspected COVID-19 infection or a positive test result among members of your troop that may have infected other members, promptly contact Girl Scouts of Manitou Council at (920) 565-4575. Other contact numbers are on your emergency procedures card. A council staff member will work with you to make the necessary contacts with those who may also have been exposed.

Girl and volunteer health information is private and should be only shared on a need to know basis.

2-28-2022

Keep her engaged and inspired in challenging times. Renew Now.

Supporting Your Sister Girl Scouts

Much research exists that shows that children are more resiliant in unfamiliar or traumatic circumstances if they know that there are adults who care about them in addition to their parents.  Troop leaders serve in this role and provide critical support to their Girl Scouts. 

Be a Source of Calm for Girls

Use this helpful resource How to Talk to Your Girl About Coronavirus from Girl Scouts of the USA to help minimize her stress and worry. 

In supporting others through this time of concern, and always, follow the Girl Scout Law.

I will do my best to be
    honest and fair,
    friendly and helpful,
    considerate and caring, 
    courageous and strong, and
    responsible for what I say and do, 
and to 
    respect myself and others, 
    respect authority,
    use resources wisely,
    make the world a better place, and 
    be a sister to every Girl Scout. 

Girl Scouts have always been a part of the solution in every crisis that has faced this nation, from wars to social upheavals. Encourage others to follow good preventative measures. When a crisis occurs Girl Scouts are compassionate to friends who may be frightened or sad and look for ways to help. Thank you for your service during this challenging time. (2-28-2022)

If you have questions or concerns, contact us:

growstrong@gsmanitou.org
920-565-4575