Coronavirus COVID-19 Update
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Coronavirus COVID-19 Update


In light of the evolving Coronavirus (COVID-19) that is impacting our state, Girl Scouts of Connecticut (GSOFCT) announced that its Camp Laurel Resident Camp will not be operating this summer. The decision was made following guidance issued by the State of Connecticut regarding overnight and residential camping.

Families with girls registered for the Camp Laurel Resident Camp are being encouraged to hold on to their registration spots. Girl Scouts of Connecticut’s Camping Services will be providing more details in the near future on the status of its Day Camps and opportunities to move existing registration to other exciting programs expected to rollout this summer.

If you have questions on registration, or otherwise, please contact Girl Scouts of Connecticut’s Customer Care department at (800) 922-2770.

 

5/6/2020

Following executive orders from Governor Lamont, which advise school closings until at least May 20, we will be extending the suspension of GSOFCT sponsored in-person activities until June 15. Troops and Service Units should follow the state and CDC guidelines. We will also continue to adhere to Governor Lamont’s recommendation that nonessential businesses and nonprofits operate remotely so Connecticut residents can Stay Safe by Staying Home. All GSOFCT Service Centers will remain closed until Wednesday, May 20. On May 20 or earlier, we will reassess with guidance from governing bodies and the needs of the Council.  We will continue to provide you with updates as they are available.

All GSOFCT retail shops will also be closed until at least May 20. Please visit our website www.gsofct.org to access our online retail portal and shop with GSOFCT.

In light of this new guidance, our events and troop meetings are only possible via virtual platforms.  We encourage you to take advantage of some of the virtual meeting solutions outlined below to stay connected.  Please visit GSOFCT at Home to participate in our virtual programming that will continue to grow over the coming weeks.   

We are working to brighten the lives of those working on the front lines in the midst of this healthcare crisis.  Please visit www.gsofct.org/givecookies and consider sending the gift of Girl Scout Cookies to our local healthcare workers.  If you would like to learn more, please contact Product Sales.  You can help us spread the word by sharing the above link on your social media feed, in your community groups, or to others who may have an interest.

Please stay tuned for further updates regarding closures and continue to check our website www.gsofct.org for the most up-to-date information on COVID-19. For the latest information on Girl Scout Cookies, click here. For immediate questions or concerns, contact Customer Care at (800) 922-2770 or customercare@gsofct.org.

Will Girl Scouts of Connecticut be cancelling any programs?

All GSOFCT sponsored in-person events are suspended until June 15.  Troops and Service Units should follow the state and CDC guidelines. This includes in-person troop meetings, cookie booth sales, and all events - indoor and outdoor. We will reevaluate at that time and post updates as they are available.

Is Girl Scouts of Connecticut cancelling summer camp?

To ensure a safe experience for everyone at Girl Scouts of Connecticut, we are monitoring this issue carefully. The State of Connecticut has announced that summer youth camps are allowed to open. At this time, we will decide by mid-May what camp will look like for this summer. Whether we operate a full season, limited season or virtual, we will communicate with you when that decision is made.

We are working 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. As we move forward in planning our future programs, we want to say thank you for all that you do in Girl Scouting.

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

Girl Scouts of Connecticut is monitoring the situation closely. All GSOFCT sponsored in-person events are suspended until June 15.  Troops and Service Units should follow the state and CDC guidelines. This includes in-person troop meetings, cookie booth sales, and all events - indoor and outdoor. We will reevaluate at that time and post updates as they are available. 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.

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. While we cannot endorse or support specific online meeting tools for your use, there are tools troops and Service Units may use for virtual meetings. See below for a list of free and low-cost tools that could be useful to you. We encourage troop co-leaders to look at these and alternative options and discuss with parents and girls to determine what the best solution is for your troop’s needs.

You will likely find that of the options below, Skype, Facebook Group, and Google Hangouts will be the most intuitive for you and your youth, as well as platforms that they may already be familiar with. Zoom is providing services to schools to help with virtual learning so this may become a popular and familiar platform.

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.

Since COVID-19 is spread through contact with others, is it still safe for our girl to be selling cookies in public places?

All GSOFCT, troop, and service unit in-person activities are suspended until June 15. Troops and Service Units should follow the state and CDC guidelines. We will reevaluate at that time and post updates as they become available.  Please contact Product Sales if you have specific questions related to the cookie program. 

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.