GSMISTS Council Update/
From the start of the pandemic, Girl Scouts have proven themselves
to be strong community supporters, going above and beyond to keep
themselves and others safe. COVID-19 remains an extremely contagious
virus that spreads easily in the community. Volunteers should take all
reasonable precautions to limit potential exposure for all members and
their families, and to prevent additional community transmission.
Effective August 4, 2020, Girl Scouts Michigan Shore to Shore has
established the guidelines below for troops and service units who
are ready to meet in person.
· These guidelines are based on measures shared by the State of
Michigan as part of the Michigan Safe Start Plan, and are subject
· In additional to the guidelines listed, all Girl Scout
policies and procedures must be followed, including Safety
Activity Checkpoints, when applicable.
· Troop leaders and families should thoughtfully discuss if
they are ready to meet in-person. Families who are not yet comfortable
with activities in-person should be provided a way to stay connected
to the troop.
· In-person troop meetings are not required. Each troop/family
should weigh their participation based on their own health concerns
and tolerance for risk. Members and troops who prefer to continue with
virtual meetings and activities may continue to do so.
Prior to resuming in-person troop meetings, an Annual
Permission and Health History Form must be completed and
signed by a parent/guardian for each girl who will be participating.
The troop leader must retain the permission slips.
Individual parents drop off and pick up their own girls from troop
meetings. Carpooling and public transportation must be avoided, to
maintain social distancing.
Troop Meeting Size
Executive Order 2020-160 currently limits indoor gatherings to 10
people throughout Michigan. Outdoor gathering limits range from 100 to
250 people. Social distancing practices and preventative guidance
(such as face coverings) must be followed at all times. It is
important to keep informed on changes the Governor makes in regards to
gathering sizes. As gathering sizes increase, you may increase the
number of people involved in your meetings.
Troop Meeting Space
Outdoor spaces where social distancing can be maintained are
strongly recommended for meetings. Get advance permission from the
property owner or the jurisdiction that provides the location.
For meetings held at public facilities, contact the facility ahead
of time and ask:
1. Is the space cleaned, and touch surfaces (i.e., tabletops, light
switches, chairs, etc.) sanitized, at least daily?
2. Who else uses the space (how often, what size is the group)? Is
the space cleaned between groups? Can you clean the space yourself
prior to your meeting?
3. 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 than 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. Meetings may not be held in fitness
centers or gyms, where a greater risk for contracting the virus may
exist. Also, schools or churches may not permit outside groups on
premises, so always check and confirm ahead of time.
Troop Meetings at the Home
GSMISTS strongly recommends no meetings in the home at this
time out of concern there would be greater risk of exposure to other
family members. Due to the current COVID-19 risk restricting public
meeting options, GSMISTS will allow troops to meet in open
spaces at a volunteer’s home, such as a backyard. Social
distancing practices and preventative guidance (such as face
coverings) must be followed at all times. Review Guidelines
for Girl Scout Meetings/Activities in the Home for more
information on obtaining permission for meeting at the home.
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
Food, Dining and Snacks
Be careful when handling and serving food and have girls be careful
with each other when eating. Safety recommendations for food, dining
and snacks include:
· Encourage girls to bring their own foods to eat (bag lunch or dinner)
· Encourage girls not to share their food after having touched
it, such as a bag of chips.
· Individually wrapped items are recommended.
· If providing snacks, especially if unwrapped, have one
person, wearing gloves, hand out items to each person, such as with
cupcakes or cookies.
· Avoid “serve yourself” buffets.
· Public dining only as permitted in your local jurisdiction.
· If serving family style, have one person, wearing clean
gloves, serve everyone on clean plates
· Use disposable plates, forks, napkins, etc. when possible.
· Ensure everyone handling food, those serving, girls, adults,
wash hands (even if they will be wearing gloves) prior to any food
prep or meals, following CDC handwashing guidelines.
· Social distancing practices and preventative guidance (such
as face coverings) must be followed at all times.
Most public restrooms will regulate the number of people using the
restroom at the same time, depending on the size. If there is no
regulator or signage, have volunteers ensure girls take appropriate
turns to maintain social distancing and that they wear their masks in
the restrooms. It is ideal to have automatic flushers and sensory
faucets to wash hands. If these are not available, girls and adults
should get in the habit of using tissue or paper towel to open doors
and latches, touching as little as possible. If the restroom is large,
have girls use every other stall and avoid using stalls with a person
in the stall next to them at the same time. Make sure girls wash hands
and use hand sanitizer after leaving the restroom.
Day Trips and Activities
In conjunction with Safety
Activity Checkpoints, follow the Hygiene and COVID-19 Risk
Mitigation guidance in this document. Call ahead to the facility or
vendor to confirm that they are following CDC and state health
department guidelines. If 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.
Remember girls should be transported by their family to the activity
and not through the use of carpooling to ensure social distancing.
Travel and Overnight Stays
GSMISTS is currently not approving overnight stays in hotels,
condos, inside personal homes, or other enclosed locations where more
than one non-related person would be sleeping. Tent camping may be
approved if individual tents are used. When considering travel or
overnight stays please remember girls should be transported by their
family to the activity and not through the use of carpooling to ensure
social distancing. All overnights must be approved by GSMISTS.
Review GSMISTS Activity
and Trip Planning Guide for more information.
Reporting and Communicating a Positive COVID 19 Test
In the event of a COVID-19 positive test result, do NOT contact the
parents or troop members. Promptly contact GSMISTS Manager of Human
Resources and Governance Stephanie Miletich, firstname.lastname@example.org, in
this situation. A council staff member and NOT volunteers, will be
· Confirming and tracing the positive tester
· Contacting the parents of anyone who may have been exposed
(or other volunteers)
· Notifying a facility or homeowner where a troop has met
· Alerting the state department of health.
Let other volunteers know that council staff, NOT volunteers, will
notify parents and others about a positive test result and that the
tester’s identity is confidential. Remember that girl and volunteer
health information is private and strictly confidential and should be
only shared on a need to know basis with a council staff member.
Hygiene and COVID-19 Risk Mitigation
Follow the resources
developed by credible public health sources such as 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
• 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
• 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 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.
To practice social distancing, stay at least 6 feet from other
people who are not from your household in both indoor and outdoor spaces.
Volunteers should remind girls that Girl Scouts wear face coverings
(masks) 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. Have disposable
masks on hand for those who need them. 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.
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 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
clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that are frequently
touched (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
See the CDC’s
website for more on cleaning and disinfecting community facilities.