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Covid Guidelines

In-Person Troop Meetings Interim COVID-19 Guidance for Volunteers

Happy New Year!

As we welcome in 2022, we are urging everyone to use caution when considering participation in Girl Scouts activities. Due to the high positivity rate in New York, Girl Scouts of Nassau County is strongly encouraging going virtual for all meetings and activities during the month of January.

In an effort to limit non-essential activities, Girl Scouts of Nassau County will be evaluating all in-person programs for the month of January and will reach out to participants individually. In addition, our 2022 Cookie Rally (1/8/22) will be canceled and we are working to reschedule for a later date.

Thank you for being diligent in keeping our Girl Scouts safe. Please continue to check the CDC website for updates on health protocols and for NYS website for NYS restrictions. As always our staff will continue to be available but have been encouraged to work remotely as we take every possible precaution to stop the spread of COVID-19.  If you have any questions please contact customercare@gsnc.org.

The Updated COVID-19 Guidance for Volunteers below goes into effect beginning January 1, 2022.

As we say goodbye to 2021, we once again want to thank all of our dedicated volunteers for continuing to ensure safety standards. The safety of our girls, volunteers, members, families, and staff remains our number one priority at Girl Scouts of Nassau County. Looking forward to 2022, we are pleased to announce some changes to our GSNC Covid-19 Guidance for Volunteers. Please be sure to review all the sections below for specific details, here are some of the highlights.

  • Troops Meeting Request Form will not be required if you are currently meeting at your normal troop meeting location.
  • Day Trip Application will be needed for any meeting or activity that does not take place at troop’s normal meeting location/time, as it is considered a day trip.
  • Beginning February 1, 2022, troops will be permitted to submit Overnight Trip Application Forms for approval for troop overnights beginning March 15, 2022.  Overnight trips must follow Safety Activity Checkpoints and the GSNC Covid-19 Guidance for Volunteers.
  • Beginning February 1, 2022, troops will be able to submit applications online for Troop Camping at Blue Bay beginning March 15, 2022.  Application information, availability charts, and outdoor training information will be available on our website on January 15, 2022.

These dates will be re-evaluated and are subject to change based on the trajectory of the pandemic and recommendations of mitigation from the CDC, Department of Health, and other federal, state, and local agencies.

We look forward to seeing all the great adventures planned for 2022.  Photos can be sent to marketing@gsnc.org.

Wishing you all a Happy New Year!

Day Trip Application Form>>

General Considerations

Leading in-person activities during COVID-19 is optional. Volunteers should first decide if they are comfortable offering in-person GS activities for their troop before proceeding.

Leaders should share these guidelines with troop families, and make a collaborative decision with families based on comfort level, accessibility, and desired level of engagement.

GSNC continues to review and assess CDC, NYS and county guidelines and may make changes based on new information.  The COVID-19 pandemic continues to change as infection rates rise and fall in different areas.  Continue to follow New York State and national directives.

COVID-19 poses a serious health risk and so adhering to safety guidelines is critical for any in-person meetings or activities.  Please note that the CDC advises that older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Each family should evaluate and assess their risk in determining whether or not to participate in in-person Girl Scout activities.

GSNC recommends COVID-19 vaccination with booster for anyone eligible, and this decision should always be made in consultation with your healthcare provider.

Participants in any meeting, event, activity or trip should complete the following pre-screening questions before attending.

  • Have you or anyone with whom you live experienced any of the following symptoms within the past two weeks?
  • Have you or anyone with whom you live experienced any of the following symptoms over the past 24 hours? To your knowledge, have you been in close, sustained contact (within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more) with anyone showing any of the above-referenced symptoms, or anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 (Coronavirus)?
  • Please click the links above or go to https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html  for COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Volunteers should include these questions in each email confirmation they send to parents for meetings and events.
Meeting Guidelines

Beginning January 1, 2022:

Troop Meeting Request Form will not be required if you are currently meeting at your normal troop meeting location.

Day Trip Application will be needed for any meeting or activity that does not take place at troop’s normal meeting location/time, as it is a considered a Day Trip.

Outdoor Meetings
  • Girls and adults must follow any mask requirements for the location.
  • GSNC encourages considering wearing masks outdoors if you are going to be in close contact in a cluster for a period of time or in a crowded public area.
  • GSNC strongly recommends being socially distant whenever possible.
  • GSNC advises unvaccinated individuals to consider wearing masks and make efforts to social distance to provide a safe environment for our Girl Scouts.
  • Troops are prohibited from holding meetings or events at private residences, including front and back yards.
Indoor Meetings

All girls, volunteers and members must follow all New York State or National mask mandates if in place at the time of your meeting/event and follow safety guidelines as outlined by the CDC.

  • Due to current NYS Mandate masks are to be worn at all times indoors.  NYS mandate is to due to be re-evaluated mid-January be sure to check for updates on the New York State website.
  • Masks do not need to be worn when eating or drinking
  • GSNC strongly recommends being socially distant whenever possible.
  • GSNC advises unvaccinated individuals to consider wearing masks and make efforts to social distance to provide a safe environment for our young Girl Scouts who cannot be vaccinated.
  • Volunteers should remind girls that Girl Scouts wear face coverings (masks) not only to protect themselves but to protect others. 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 they are effective.
  • Troops and volunteers are prohibited from holding meetings or events at private residences, including front and back yards.
Food

To the greatest extent possible; minimize the number of individuals handling/serving food. Some suggestions include:

  • Utilizing individual servings.
  • Designating one server per table, rather than passing platters to each individual.
  • Larger groups should consider decreasing the number of individuals eating in indoor dining spaces at one time by splitting/rotating groups.
Transportation
  • GSNC highly recommends individual parents drop off and pick up their own girls from meetings.
  • If carpooling is necessary, all participants riding in the vehicle are required to wear a mask. Keep car window opened, at least partially, to circulate fresh air.
  • Public transportation should be avoided, when possible, to maintain social distancing, if necessary masks need to be worn.
Meeting Spaces

For meetings held at indoor or outdoor public facilities, 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)?

GSNC encourages volunteers to supplement any practices that are less ideal. For example, if the troop arrives after another user group, they should plan to bring sanitizing wipes to get the space ready for their troop. Another example: if faucets are manual, ask volunteers to take some time to show girls how to shut them off with a paper towel and to use paper towels for doorknobs whenever possible.
 
Please Note: Meetings in private homes, backyards, and front yards are prohibited. No meetings conducting GSNC official business (Troop meetings, service team or leader meetings) should be held in private households because of the risks it poses to those in the household.

Hygiene and COVID-19 Risk Mitigation

GSNC recommends reviewing the following list with all participants for meetings, trips, events and overnights.

  • 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 (100 degrees or over). Members with fever or temperature higher than 100 should skip the in-person gathering until their temperature is normal.
  • Parents and volunteers should consider these screening questions before attending each Girl Scout meeting or event (updated effective September 1, 2021):
    • Have you or anyone with whom you live experienced any of the following symptoms within the past two weeks?
    • Have you or anyone with whom you live experienced any of the following symptoms over the past 24 hours?
    • To your knowledge, have you been in close, sustained contact (within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more) with anyone showing any of the above-referenced symptoms, or anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 (Coronavirus)?

Also, volunteers should include these questions in each email confirmation they send to parents for meetings and events.

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.

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. 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 (the same guidance applies to volunteers).

First Aid / CPR Training. Keep skills up-to-date for any emergency. Troops must have a volunteer with current First Aid/CPR training to take a field trip.

Disinfectants and Disinfecting. Routinely clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that are frequently touched (e.g., 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 (concentration, application method and contact time, etc.).

See the CDC’s website for more on cleaning and disinfecting community facilities.

Troop/Service Unit Events

Troop/Service Unit events may also include all bridging and award ceremonies.

Troops can plan to hold events in a public space to include family members of each household following the Meeting Guidelines above.

Higher Award Projects

Girls working towards their Bronze, Silver, or Gold Award are permitted to do in-person presentations following all meeting guidelines above and any restrictions at the location of the presentation.

Council In-Person Programs

Be sure to check out the program calendar for the latest opportunities. 

Girl Scouts and adults are expected to adhere to the safety and mask guidelines in place at a program partner venue when attending an in-person program.

Look for additional council program opportunities in the upcoming Spring Possibilities issue available February 2022. 

Day trip applications are not required when participating in Council Sponsored programs.

GSNC continues to encourage virtual engagement: www.gsnc.org/athome

Trips and Travel

Beginning February 1, 2022, troops will be permitted to submit Overnight Trip Application Forms for approval for troop overnights beginning March 15, 2022. Overnight trips must follow Safety Activity Checkpoints and the GSNC Covid-19 Guidance for Volunteers.

Day Trips and Activities

Written approval is required by completing the Day Trip Application form at least two weeks prior to the trip.  A day trip is any activity that does not take place at troop’s normal meeting location.

Day Trip Application>>

  • In conjunction with Safety Activity Checkpoints, follow the same guidance as Meetings and Hygiene and COVID-19 Risk Mitigation guidance in this document. Consult the NYS Forward website for information on currently allowed activities.
  • Call ahead to the facility or vendor to confirm that they are following CDC and state health department guidelines.
  • If an 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 activity location.
Travel and Overnight Stays

Beginning February 1, 2022, troops will be permitted to submit Overnight Trip Application Forms for approval for troop overnights beginning March 15, 2022. Overnight trips must follow Safety Activity Checkpoints and the GSNC Covid-19 Guidance for Volunteers.

Written approval is required for all overnight trips by completing the Overnight Trip Application Form at least four weeks prior to the trip.

  • If the families of your troop are in agreement to travel and understand the inherent risks, overnight camping and travel is allowed with these stipulations:
  • In conjunction with Safety Activity Checkpoints, follow the same guidance as Meetings and Hygiene and COVID-19 Risk Mitigation guidance in this document. Consult the NYS Forward website for information on currently allowed activities. 
  • GSNC COVID-19 Waiver of Liability must be signed for all participants.
  • GSNC recommends all participants be required to present a negative COVID-19 test regardless of vaccination status prior to all overnights.
  • Large event sleepovers such as but not limited to museums, aquariums, etc. are prohibited due to lack of spacing and separate accommodations.
  • Current GSNC COVID-19 guidelines for Girl Scout activities must be followed.
  • No International travel is allowed at this time.
  • Troops are expected to research and plan to meet all safety requirements.
  • Continue to practice the Hygiene and COVID-19 Risk Mitigation guidance for all travel.
  • Implement modifications to travel plans that make social distancing practicable; for example, unvaccinated travelers from separate households practice social distancing when indoors, following the guidance outlined for troop meetings and activities. Again, sustained contact within less than six (6) feet for longer than fifteen (15) minutes within an enclosed area creates high risk for virus transmission. For travel that includes girls and adults from multiple households who must be in close proximity (e.g., sharing transportation or accommodations), we recommend breaking the group up into smaller cohorts, in addition to the pre-screening and symptoms checks, which should take place before all in-person activities.
  • Prior to departure, wellness checks must be made on all travelers to include:
    • Presentation of negative COVID-19 test
    • Temperature check
    • Review of health screening checklist.  If any of the questions on the health screening checklist are answered in the affirmative, that individual may not go on the trip.
  • GSNC currently recommends shared sleeping quarters should be a minimum of 6 feet between beds. Sleeping quarters must also be in accordance with Safety Activity Checkpoints.
  • While indoors, masks are strongly recommended to be worn at all times except when eating and drinking, and for overnights, except when sleeping and showering.
  • Daily health/temperature checks must be taken.
     

 

Advice for a Successful Trip
  • Travel plans are often arranged several months in advance and contingencies must be planned ahead of time for re-scheduling, cancelling, or pivoting to a virtual activity. For all planned trips, create a timeline and identify a final date when decisions must be made about whether or not to move forward with the planned trip, based primarily on the safety of our girls, along with financial commitment deadlines and/or other factors.
  • Consider purchasing travel insurance and read all fine print and ensure COVID-19 or pandemic related cancellation is covered; it is often excluded. Decisions about whether or not to approve troop travel or proceed with planned council-organized travel will be based on all current health and safety guidance available in our jurisdiction as well as for the destination jurisdiction to ensure the safety of girls.
  • Please note: If an approved troop-organized trip gets cancelled due to COVID-19, Girl Scouts of Nassau County is not responsible for rescheduling or reimbursing funds expensed by the troop or families unless it is a trip that GSNC is solely operating (i.e. no vendors or outside parties).  GSNC monitors public health guidance and will continue to make changes to these guidelines if any new restrictions or guidance is issued by authorities.
Troop Camping
Troop Camping at Camp Blue Bay

Beginning February 1, 2022, troops will be able to submit applications online for troop camping at Camp Blue Bay beginning March 15, 2022. Application information, availability charts, and outdoor training information will be available on our website on January 15, 2022.

 

Sleeping Capacity
  • Port and Starboard can be utilized at half capacity to allow for six feet between each bed.
  • Staff House can be utilized at half capacity, with mattresses arranged six feet apart for sleeping.
  • Seasonal Platform tent units can be utilized at full capacity, but individuals in beds should be arranged head to toe. Flaps should remain slightly open to allow airflow.
Testing Requirements and Health Checks
  • All girls, parents and adult volunteers will need to provide a negative COVID-19 test prior to arrival to participate in an overnight at camp.
  • GSNC COVID-19 Waiver of Liability must be signed for all participants.
  • As per our Council Guidelines, groups should be administering health checks prior to arrival.
  • If anyone displays symptoms of COVID-19 while at camp, please follow the steps below:
    • Depart- Individuals displaying symptoms should arrange to leave the property as soon as possible, isolating as much as possible before departure.
      • If the individual is a minor, then they will still need adult supervision. An adult should wear a mask and gloves and remain within sight of the child.
    • Test- Individuals should be tested as soon as possible. If the case is positive, please notify camp staff as soon as possible.
Food

We are now allowing full-use of our kitchen spaces. To the greatest extent possible; minimize the number of individuals handling/serving food. Some suggestions include:

  • Utilizing individual servings.
  • Designating one server per table, rather than passing platters to each individual.
  • Larger groups should consider decreasing the number of individuals eating in indoor dining spaces at one time by splitting/rotating groups.
Council Service Center

The GSNC Service Center remains closed, staff continues to provide support virtually. 

Please email us at customercare@gsnc.org or leave a message at 516.741.2550.  

GSNC Shop

The GSNC Shop is Now Open for In-Person Shopping!

Here are some important things to know when coming to the shop:

  • Appointments will no longer be needed to shop at the GSNC Shop.
  • Every person who enters the store will need to wear a mask.
  • If you are not feeling well, please do not enter the store.
  • The capacity of the shop will be 5 people. If you arrive during business hours and the door is locked, please wait for someone to exit as we have reached capacity.

The store hours will be as follows:

  • Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday: 9:00 AM-5:00 PM
  • Thursday: 9:00 AM-7:00 PM

We look forward to seeing everyone. If you have any questions, please email the shop at shop@gsnc.org.
 

GSNC Cupboard

The GSNC Service Center remains closed, staff continues to provide support virtually. The Cupboard will offer pick-up/drop-off by appointment only. Complete a curbside pick-up request.

Tuesdays: 10:30 AM-2:00 PM and 2:45 PM-5:15 PM
Thursdays: 12:00 PM-2:45 PM and 2:45 PM-6:45PM

Media/Photo Guidelines

We understand that families and troops want to take photos to document girls’ participation in Girl Scouting and that photos are treasured memories, and also can showcase girls’ accomplishments.

Leaders, parents, or girls are not permitted to post photos that will be shared on social media or any other media.  Photos can be sent to marketing@gsnc.org for possible posting on the GSNC or GSUSA media platforms.

Due to the risk of COVID-19, all photos must comply with the above guidelines. GSNC reserves the right to refrain from posting any photos that do not align with safety guidelines, and also remove public photos, including photos submitted by troops and families to local media.

Girls in photos with other non-family members of the troop must be wearing a mask when indoors. Girls in photos with only their family members do not need to wear a mask indoors.

For photos indoors, girls can stand close together as long as they follow the mask guidelines listed above.

There are no COVID-19 restrictions for photos in outdoor settings.  

As a reminder, full refunds will be given for any Girl Scouts of Nassau County in-person program or event including troop camping at Camp Blue Bay that are cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions.

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.
 
Exposure to COVID-19 is an inherent risk; any interaction with the general public poses an elevated risk of being exposed to COVD-19. Please note that the CDC advises that older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Each family should evaluate and assess their risk in determining whether or not to participate in in-person Girl Scout activities.

Should you have any questions or need clarification regarding this guidance please email customercare@gsnc.org.