The percentage of positive COVID-19 tests in Manitou Council has risen in the past 14 days and considerably exceed the state average. Troop-sized groups can meet virtually or outside, or take extra special care to practice safe social distancing and wear masks at all times when inside or in confined spaces outside. Multiple troops or larger Girl Scouts groups should only meet in person if outside where social distancing can be practiced. Limit the number of people who are not troop members from coming in contact with the girls. (8-31-2020)
Individual Girl Scout troops and groups can meet while following the guidance and limitations provided here. (8-31-2020)
Face Coverings. Girl Scouts must wear face coverings (masks) in enclosed places, indoors and in public places where social distancing cannot be achieved, 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. Troops should have disposable masks on hand for those who do not bring their own mask. 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. In these cases, social distancing must be strictly maintained. (8-20-2020)
Troop Meeting Spaces
Outdoor spaces where social distancing can be maintained are strongly recommended for meetings and activities. Get advance permission from the property owner, manager or the jurisdiction that provides the location.
Indoor Spaces - Masks must be worn in all indoor/enclosed spaces or outside when social distancing cannot occur. (8-1-2020) Schools or churches may not permit outside groups on premises, so always check and confirm ahead of time. Once you know you can use the site, 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.
Girl Scouts of Manitou Council Sites - If your Manitou Girl Scout troop is suddenly in need of a troop meeting site due to the COVID-19 restrictions interpreted 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. (8-20-2020)
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.
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.
- Masks must be worn at all times indoors by all those in the residence when girls are present. (8-1-2020)
- 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.
- All guidance provided here is followed. (8-20-2020)
Meetings may not be held in fitness centers or gyms, where a greater risk for contracting the virus may exist.
Restrooms If there is no regulation about the number of persons in the restroom, have volunteers ensure girls take appropriate turns to maintain social distancing and that they wear their masks in the restrooms. After hand-washing, use tissue or paper towel to open doors and latches, touching as little as possible. (7-27-2020)
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. 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 has fabulous resources, meeting plans, tips and other helps to make your virtual meetings successful and fun. Free Zoom licenses allow for meetings of 40 minutes and less. Low cost ZOOM Licenses are available for Girl Scout troops to purchase beginning in late August to enable unlimited time of use and all the "bells and whistles" of Zoom. (8-20-2020)
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.
Make sure temperatures are taken prior to group interaction to confirm the individual is not running a fever and temperature is a normal 98.6 degrees Members with fever or temperature higher than 98.6 should skip the in-person gathering until their temperature is normal.
Personal contact. Hugs, handshakes, “high-fives,” and even activities like the friendship circle or squeeze can transmit COVID-19 from person to person. Refrain from these gestures for the time being. Create a safe way for girls and volunteers to greet and end meetings instead (like tapping elbows).
First Aid Supplies. Troop first aid supplies should include COVID-19 prevention items including 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. 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.
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