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COVID-19 Updates and FAQs

11.19.2020 Updates:

  • Troop Activity Reopening Guidelines (Indoor Activities and Meetings)

GSOFCT’s in-person and virtual troop activity guidelines have continued to evolve, following the State of Connecticut and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommendations outlined in Connecticut’s Reopening Plan.

We encourage you to continue to take advantage of the virtual meeting solutions to stay connected.  Please visit GSOFCT at Home to participate in our virtual programming that will continue to grow over the coming months.  

At this time, indoor troop meetings in the home are not allowed due to the increased risk of exposure.

GSOFCT will continue to adhere to Governor Lamont’s recommendation that nonessential businesses and nonprofits operate remotely so Connecticut residents can Stay Safe by Staying Home. Our GSOFCT staff will continue to operate with the flexibility to work remotely.

GSOFCT Camp properties are open to all membership, staff, and long-standing outside user groups (no new outside user groups at this time). Please view the Property Usage schedule for availability.

Please visit our retail shop page HERE to access our online retail portal and shop with GSOFCT.

FAQs

Will Girl Scouts of Connecticut be cancelling any programs?

GSOFCT’s in-person and virtual troop activity guidelines have continued to evolve, following the State of Connecticut and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommendations outlined in Connecticut’s Reopening Plan.

Before any meetings take place, upon receiving a copy of guidelines/safety measures from the co-leader, the caregiver/parent will be asked to provide consent via email for a girl’s participation at an in-person event. Please be sure to review additional details on the required troop cleaning, mask, social distancing, and troop travel protocols outlined in the Troop Activity Information drop downs below.

Will consent be required for girls to participate in in-person activities?

Before troop meetings take place, upon receiving a copy of guidelines/safety measures from the co-leader, the caregiver/parent will be asked to provide consent via email (or in some other written form) for a girl’s participation at an in-person event.

Any meeting to be held in a location other than your troop’s normal meeting place will require a “Troop Trip Application” form https://form.jotform.com/91685810839166 completed.

Is Girl Scouts of Connecticut cancelling summer camp?

GSOFCT’s Camping Services opened four of our day camps for the 2020 Summer Camp season – Aspetuck (Weston), An-Se-Ox (Oxford), Merrie-Wood (Manchester), and Laurel Day Camp (Lebanon).

Residential camp programs (Camp Laurel Residential) remained closed for this season per the State of Connecticut’s guidelines restricting overnight camping. We have made the difficult decision to close camps Katoya (Milford) and Carlson (Bristol) for this summer. This is not a permanent closure for these camps, but served as an opportunity for us to best focus our staff, programming, and resources while adhering to the safety guidelines for summer youth camps in Connecticut.

We are continuing to work with the American Camp Association to ensure we are following best practices and will continue to look to the CDC and State of Connecticut Office of Early Childhood for additional guidance.

Feel free to reach out to our Camping Services Team at camp@gsofct.org should you have any questions or concerns.  

What is Girl Scouts of Connecticut doing in response to the Coronavirus?

Girl Scouts of Connecticut has continued to monitor the situation closely. The Council has convened a taskforce which is actively monitoring guidelines provided by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and State of Connecticut to respond quickly to any shifts in their recommendations.

There are additional resources and information available in the Troop Activity Information on safety protocols for troop meetings, travel, and mask usage.

All girls – even if you’re not a Girl Scout yet – are invited to participate in our virtual programming offered through GSOFCT at Home. Girl Scouts and their families can join our GSOFCT @ Home Facebook Group which features daily challenges and activities.

To help ensure you can stay connected to your community, Girl Scout and otherwise we are providing information about internet services. Please note that we cannot endorse any particular service. Providers are offering free internet to support online school and work access through the Keep Americans Connected Pledge: https://about.att.com/pages/COVID-19.html   

o   Comcast – free 60 days: https://www.internetessentials.com/covid19  

o   Altice – free for those with K-12  and higher education learners: https://www.alticeusa.com/news/articles/feature/corporate/altice-usa-brings-free-broadband-k-12-and-college-students-during-coronavirus-pandemic

o   Charter/Spectrum – free for those with K-12  and higher education learners: https://corporate.charter.com/newsroom/charter-to-offer-free-access-to-spectrum-broadband-and-wifi-for-60-days-for-new-K12-and-college-student-households-and-more

o   AT&T – Removing Home Data Caps: https://about.att.com/pages/COVID-19.html

Does Girl Scouts of Connecticut have an online conferencing tool that my Troop or Service Unit can use to meet virtually while public gatherings are discouraged/prohibited due to COVID-19?

 

We are fortunate to be living in a time when digital tools are readily available to allow us to connect in meaningful ways, while maintaining social distance. Keeping the Girl Scout sisterhood strong from home? We are excited to announce that GSUSA has entered into a partnership with Zoom and we are now able to offer Girl Scout volunteers the opportunity to purchase an enterprise Zoom license for $40 for the year. This license is normally $20/month so this is a savings of $320 over what the normal cost would be. This is a single user license that provides the user the opportunity to have 500 participants in the Zoom meeting which can run up to 24 hours.

If you are interested in a Zoom license through GSOFCT, please purchase your license here.

Your girls can stay connected, continue building their skills, and have a blast no matter where they are. Learn about the benefits of having a Girl Scout Zoom license.

Each Monday, the purchased licenses will be sent onto Zoom for issuance. We expect that the invitation to set up the license should be sent by week’s end to the user. Please watch for an email from Zoom if you are the purchaser of the license. Just a reminder that this license is for Girl Scout use and is an accepted use of troop funds.

Don’t know how to use Zoom? There are a series of short ‘how to’ videos in gsLearn to help you utilize this platform. Sign into gsLearn through MYGS on gsofct.org and then enter “ZOOM” in the search function and start learning about this new platform.

Still have more questions, please reach out to Customer Care at 1-800-922-2770.

 

Video and Audio-Conferencing Tools with free versions 

While all of these options have a free version, please note you may be prompted to consider their upgraded versions for a subscription fee.

  • Zoom - FAQ
    • Note: Meetings durations maximum of 40 minutes in free version
  • Skype - Support
    • Note: Up to 10 participants free
  • Webex – Help Center
    • Note: Limited file and content sharing in free version

Chat and Collaboration Tools with free versions

Additional low-cost tools for collaboration and conferencing to consider if the above options do not meet your group's needs.

What is a coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans. In humans, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The most recently discovered coronavirus causes coronavirus disease COVID-19.

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus. This new virus and disease were unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don't feel unwell. Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment. Around 1 out of every 6 people who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness. About 2% of people with the disease have died. People with fever, cough, and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention.

What steps can girls, volunteers, and staff take to prevent the spread of coronavirus?

Please follow all of the steps recommended by the CDC (see https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/2019-ncov-factsheet.pdf). The same simple steps that prevent the spread of ordinary flu viruses work against coronavirus and other illnesses:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. 
  • Cough into a tissue or your elbow (not your hand). Then throw tissue away and wash hands. 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands. 
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick, with temperature above 100.0 F (38.7 C) or do not feel well, appear weak or ill.
  • Consult your health care provider if you have special health conditions that put you at increased risk.

Can the virus that causes COVID-19 be transmitted through the air?

Studies to date suggest that the virus that causes COVID-19 is mainly transmitted through contact with respiratory droplets rather than through the air.

Can COVID-19 be caught from a person who has no symptoms?

The main way the disease spreads is through respiratory droplets expelled by someone who is coughing. The risk of catching COVID-19 from someone with no symptoms at all is very low. However, many people with COVID-19 experience only mild symptoms. This is particularly true at the early stages of the disease. It is therefore possible to catch COVID-19 from someone who has, for example, just a mild cough and does not feel ill. World Health Organization (WHO) is assessing ongoing research on the period of transmission of COVID-19 and will continue to share updated findings.

What is CDC doing about COVID-19?

This is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation and CDC will continue to provide updated information as it becomes available. CDC works 24/7 to protect people’s health. More information about CDC’s response to COVID-19 is available online.

Where can I go to learn more about COVID-19?

In addition to the State of Connecticut and CDC websites, anyone with questions can contact 2-1-1 or text CTVOID to 898211.  The hotline is available 24 hours a day.  Additionally, Yale New Haven Health Services has set up a call center.  The number is 203-688-1700.  That line is staffed with a live person from 7am - 7pm. 

Are children more susceptible to the virus that causes COVID-19 compared with the general population and how can infection be prevented?

No, there is no evidence that children are more susceptible. In fact, most confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported from China have occurred in adults. Infections in children have been reported, including in very young children. From limited information published from past Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) outbreaks, infection among children was relatively uncommon.

Are children at increased risk for severe illness, morbidity, or mortality from COVID-19 infection compared with adults?

There have been very few reports of the clinical outcomes for children with COVID-19 to date. Limited reports from China suggest that children with confirmed COVID-19 may present with mild symptoms and though severe complications (acute respiratory distress syndrome, septic shock) have been reported, they appear to be uncommon. However, as with other respiratory illnesses, certain populations of children may be at increased risk of severe infection, such as children with underlying health conditions.

Are there any treatments available for children with COVID-19?

There are currently no antiviral drugs recommended or licensed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for COVID-19. Clinical management includes prompt implementation of recommended infection prevention and control measures in healthcare settings and supportive management of complications. See more information on CDC Clinical Guidance for COVID-19. Children and their family members should engage in usual preventive actions to prevent the spread of respiratory infections, including covering coughs, cleaning hands often with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer, and staying up to date on vaccinations, including influenza. Additional information on prevention measures can be found here (Prevention for 2019 Novel Coronavirus).

How long will it take to develop a treatment or vaccine?

Several drugs are being tested, and some initial findings are expected soon. A vaccine to stop the spread is still at least a year away.

Who is at risk for COVID-19?

Currently, those at greatest risk of infection are persons who have had prolonged, unprotected close contact with a patient with symptomatic, confirmed COVID-19 and those who live in or have recently been to areas with sustained transmission.

Does Girl Scouts have any medical expertise?

While Girl Scouts strives to be a resource for girls and their caregivers, we want to ensure that official guidance of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and other official sources reach our members in a timely and efficient manner.

There is a lot of hate/ racism towards the Asian community, how is Girl Scouts of Connecticut creating a safe space?

Unfortunately, these kinds of discriminatory attacks can occur at times like these. Girl Scouts of Connecticut strongly condemns acts of discrimination against the Asian community, or any other demographic group. We are proud of our legacy of inclusion and diversity. Girl Scouts is and always will be a safe space for all girls, regardless of the demographic group to which they belong.

Troop Activity Reopening Information (Updated 11.19.2020)
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GSOFCT In-person Troop Activity Reopening Guidelines

These guidelines have been created in accordance with GSUSA guidance and current CDC and Connecticut State guidelines. It is to be expected that these guidelines will change with the uncertain progression of the pandemic and the ever-evolving recommendations from these governing agencies. Please be sure to check the GSOFCT website for the latest COVID-19 updates.

Many of our troops and service units are eager to conduct in-person meetings given that the current State guidelines suggest in-person meetings are now possible.

At this time, indoor troop meetings in the home are not allowed due to the increased risk of exposure.

The following recommendations serve to illustrate the guidelines under which GSOFCT troops may consider participating in the following:

  • In-person Meetings
  • Troop Trips
  • Service Unit Events and Activities

GSOFCT’s in-person and virtual troop activity guidelines have continued to evolve, following the State of Connecticut and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommendations outlined in Connecticut’s Reopening Plan.

Consent to Participate
Before troop meetings take place, upon receiving a copy of guidelines/safety measures from the co-leader, the caregiver/parent will be asked to complete and return the  COVID-19 Informed Consent Form prior to a girl’s participation at an in-person event. Please be sure to review additional details on the required troop cleaning, mask, social distancing, and troop travel protocols outlined in the Troop Activity Information.

Documentation Prior to Meeting
Any meeting to be held in a location other than your troop’s normal meeting place will require a “Troop Trip Application” form completed.

Any meeting that is to be held on private home property must also complete a Private Residence Authorization Form to be attached to the Troop Trip Application. Among other things, this form alerts the homeowner that their personal homeowner’s insurance is responsible for any accident/incident occurring during an event on their property. 

Private Residence Annual Authorization Form

Logistical Recommendations
At all troop meetings, at any level, the co-leaders are responsible to see that all COVID-19 safety measures, including maximum number of participants, social distancing, wearing of masks, and appropriate hygiene are adhered to.

It is recommended that troops continue to hold periodic virtual meetings through the end of the 2019-2020 membership year in an effort to keep all members safe and healthy and to accommodate those who are not ready to meet in person.

Troop Meeting Size
In-person meetings must strictly follow state guidelines in place at the time of the meeting and as articulated by the State of Connecticut and CDC. For instance, current mandatory limits are 10 persons outdoors. This number will change as the pandemic continues to change. It is the responsibility of the co-leader to be aware of all current guidelines. Bookmark this link for the most up-to-date State of Connecticut Guidelines.

Large troops can create ways to break themselves into smaller groups, such as: to gather in age-level groups, use patrols, or gather groups of girls around a particular badge they’d like to work on.

Troop Meeting Space

As of November 18, 2020, troops can no longer meet indoors at a private residence, effective immediately.

Troops may meet in outdoor spaces where social distancing can be maintained. Troop co-leaders must receive advance permission from the property owner or the jurisdiction that provides the location. For additional details of state guidelines please check here.

Troop Meetings in Public Facilities
Troop volunteers should 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)?
  • Are there safety and mask requirements?

Troop co-leaders may need to supplement any practices that are less than required. For example, if the troop arrives after another user, troop volunteers should plan to bring sanitizing wipes to get the space ready for their troop. Another example: if faucets are manual, troop volunteers must take some time to show girls how to shut them off with a paper towel and to use paper towels for doorknobs whenever possible.

Meetings may not be held in fitness centers or gyms because the atmosphere in sports facilities is aerosolizing making them a higher risk for contracting a virus.

Troop Meetings in the Home
During this time, indoor troop meetings in the home are not allowed due to the increased risk of exposure.
Troop meetings in the backyard of a member home may be allowed if the space is appropriate and the homeowner is aware that their insurance will be covering the gathering.  No pool parties or private pool use is allowed at this time, even in a member’s private pool with a lifeguard on duty.  See above for documentation requirements for meeting on private home property.

Transportation
Individual parents should drop off and pick up their own girls from meetings. Carpooling and public transportation are not allowed at this time in order to maintain social distancing.

Attendance
Troops must take attendance at each troop meeting or event in order to insure there can be adequate contact tracing if a participant is later diagnosed with Covid-19.  Attendance can be recorded by a troop adult in their person cell phone, on paper and kept in the troop notebook, or recorded in the Volunteer Toolkit.  The troop leadership team is responsible for insuring that this information can be made available if needed.

During the Meeting or Activity
Clarification on Masks & Social Distancing

During all Girl Scout meetings, activities, events that are in person, all participants should wear masks as they arrive and depart.

For outdoor meetings:

Once participants are in their specific location for the duration of the activity, and are socially distanced, they may remove their masks, unless otherwise prohibited by the venue.

Personal space can be shared with others in the same household but socially distanced from others in the group.  All participants but must put their masks back on when moving to a new location, getting supplies, going to the restroom etc. if others are present. Social distancing is defined as at least 6 feet between participants of family groups. Any participant that wishes to keep their face covered during troop activities will be respected.

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

Other COVID-19 Precautions to be Observed

  • Hand sanitizer or hand washing must be available for use before, during, and after all troop activities
  • Disinfecting wipes or sanitizing procedures must be followed to clean all high touch areas prior to the girls’ arrival, during activities and at conclusion of the troop meeting. See cleaning and disinfectant information at the end of this document.*
  • Supplies should not be shared, i.e., crayons, markers, scissors etc.
  • Food should either be brought by each girl for their sole use, or prepackaged and handed out to participants wearing mask and gloves
  • No sharing of food is allowed and no potluck/buffet meals may be served
  • All  caregiver/parent decisions about participation should be respected, and girls should be provided with an alternative activity if they choose not to participate in the meeting or activity
  • Troop co-leaders and volunteers must feel comfortable with troop plans for meeting

Due to their age, caregivers/parents of Daisies & Brownies should review social distancing with their girl prior to the meeting to make sure she understands how to interact with others at the meeting. Co-leaders should plan for enough volunteers to support safe behaviors.

At this time, no overnight troop travel is allowed except in the following case:

Outdoor Overnights

  • Effective September 25, 2020, troops may have outdoor overnights using the girl/adult safety ratio as long as each girl is sleeping in her own tent either alone or with members of her own household (i.e. guardian, sibling).
  • Additional review of troop travel will be made in the weeks ahead based on evolving State guidelines.

Troops may travel for day trips within Connecticut and to states that are not included in the State of Connecticut’s Travel Advisory.  High Adventure activities are also permitted, as long Girl Scouts of Connecticut, CT State, and CDC guidelines are followed, and approval is received to attend the location.  Carpooling for troop travel outside of the household unit is not allowed.  At any time that one of the states named is added to the Connecticut state list that requires quarantine after visiting, it is no longer a suitable destination for Girl Scout travel.

As a reminder, at this time, no carpooling is allowed in order to maintain social distancing.

Troops must complete the appropriate troop travel paperwork and all girls must have a Covid-19 Informed Consent Form on file with their troop co-leaders to participate.  If non-registered family members are participating in troop activities, Plan 2 Supplemental Insurance must be purchased.

If at any time Connecticut is added to the list of the states that must quarantine after visiting neighboring states, Girl Scouts of Connecticut members will no longer be allowed to travel outside the state.

Service Unit Events

Service Unit or Large Gatherings
The number of people that are permitted must be reviewed while following social distancing and face covering guidelines as well as proper girl-to-adult ratios. It is strongly recommended to meet outdoors and only when social distancing can be maintained. For more people or large gatherings, when the time is safely appropriate, follow the CDC guidelines:   Large Gatherings and Community Events .

In the Event of a Positive COVID-19 Case
Reporting and communicating a positive COVID-19 test should be managed by a council staff member.   Volunteers do not manage COVID-19 communication responsibilities.  All health information is private/confidential to be shared only on a need to know basis. There are laws and regulations governing sharing of health data.

If an individual who attended an in-person Girl Scout Activity tests positive for COVID-19, the individual/caregiver/parent should contact the GSOFCT Chief Mission Delivery Officer to who will begin the council’s COVID 19 protocols.

Tracy Knofla, Chief Mission Delivery and Inclusion Officer
tknofla@gsofct.org
1-800-922-2770 ext. 3306

Insurance Information

What liability do I have as a homeowner/renter when a Girl Scouts activity/event/meeting happens on my personal property?

Homeowners or renters must have adequate insurance on the property and accept the potential liability of having Girl Scout activities at their residences. Personal property damage or loss due to Girl Scout activities is the responsibility of the homeowner/renter and not of Girl Scouts of Connecticut. Furthermore, the homeowner/renter may be liable for accidents or injuries that occur in the home.

Can I purchase additional Plan 2 insurance to cover non registered members participating in Girl Scout activities/events/meetings on my personal property?

Yes, Plan 2 insurance can be purchased to cover those participants that are not registered.  Coverage may not be purchased for individuals not participating in the Girl Scout activities, i.e., younger siblings, friends, other adults present in the home etc. The plan covers all participants of a chartered Girl Scout Council activity for whom an Enrollment Form has been submitted and premium paid. Coverage is provided while: (a) attending or participating in any approved and supervised Girl Scout activity; or (b) traveling directly to and from any approved and supervised Girl Scout activity.

What should I do if there is an accident on my personal property during a Girl Scout activity?          

Please complete the Accident/Incident/Injury Form as completely as possible and return within 24 hours to customercare@gsofct.org.  

Property Usage
Camp Property Max Capacity
50 participants* 
Indoor Availability
/Capacity
Outdoor Camping Activities with limited capacity
An-Se-Ox, Oxford, CT Outdoor Trails
& Pavilions
Not Available Personal Tent
Camping
Archery, snow shoeing
Aspetuck, Weston, CT Outdoor Trails
& Pavilions
Not Available Personal Tent
Camping
Archery
Candlewood, New Fairfield, CT  Outdoor Trails
& Pavilions
Lighthouse (10 Person Capacity) Personal Tent
Camping
Archery,snow shoeing
Carlson Closed
Katoya Closed
Laurel, Lebanon, CT Outdoor Trails
& Pavilions
Laurelei's Troop house (10 Person Capacity) Personal Tent
Camping
Archery, snow shoeing
Merrie-Wood, Manchester, CT Outdoor Trails
& Pavilions
Not Available Personal Tent
Camping
Archery
Rocky Craig, Stamford, CT  Outdoor Trails
& Pavilions
Not Available Personal Tent
Camping
Archery
Yankee Trails, Tolland, CT Outdoor Trails
& Pavilions
Stone House (10 Person Capacity if using both floors) Personal Tent
Camping
Archery, snow shoeing
         
Service Centers
Max Capacity
10 Participants* 
Indoor Availability
/Capacity
Outdoor Area
 
North Haven Closed - To be revaluated January 2021
Hartford Closed - To be revaluated January 2021
Wilton Closed - To be revaluated January 2021

*Must follow all current local/State/government guidelines.

All of these changes do not mean that Girl Scouting stops. We encourage you to use webinars, teleconferences and other technologies to engage girls and adults. We also look to support you through virtual opportunities. 

The health and safety of our entire Girl Scout family is so important to us. We will continue to update you regarding critical information and further impacts to Girl Scout programming and operations. Thank you for your patience and steadfast support as we navigate this unprecedented and quickly evolving situation. We appreciate your commitment to Girl Scouts and we remain committed to you!

Thank you for exhibiting extraordinary Girl Scout spirit in these unprecedented times.