GSMISTS 2020 Coronavirus update
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Welcome to the resource page for all information regarding GSMISTS's response to COVID-19.  On this page you will find information including official council statements, our virtual programming, service center shopping and hours and much more. 

Virtual Programming - At Home Activities!
Share in the Girl Scout Spirit, from home! Use these free online resources to learn and grow at your own pace. 

Shop Girl Scouts 
While our Council Shops are closed shop for all your Girl Scout supplies online now for free standard shipping on all orders, no minimum. 

Council Statement
Find all old and current council statements regarding COVID-19

We will continue to monitor state-wide and county-by-county information and we will communicate on an ongoing basis. Please continue to watch your email, Facebook and website for any updates. 

GSMISTS Information

Service Unit and Troop Activities

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:

  •  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.

Meetings may not be held in fitness centers or gyms, where a greater risk for contracting the virus may exist.  Schools or churches may not permit outside groups on premises, so always check and confirm ahead of time.

Troop Meetings in the home: GSMISTS strongly suggests no meetings in the home out of concern that there would be greater risk of exposure to other family members.  The recommendation is to stay away from in-home meetings for the time being.

Troop Meeting Size: Different regions in Michigan are being opened in different phases and are assigned different risk levels. To find out the meeting size recommendations, please visit the Michigan State Government Safe Start Map to find what risk level your region is in.

Risk Level 2 - No gatherings of any kind.

Risk Level 3 - No gatherings of any kind.

Risk Level 4 - A maximum of up to 100 people for outdoor gatherings while indoor gatherings are limited to 10 people. Social distancing, maintaining a six-foot radius, is required for all gatherings.

Risk Level 5 -  A maximum of up to 250 people for outdoor gatherings while indoor gatherings are limited to 50 people. Social distancing, maintaining a six-foot radius, is required for all gatherings.

If you have a large troop, stay connected while you wait for a safe time for everyone to gather. Large troops are wonderful, so stay together! Some ideas:

  • Host virtual troop meetings (see below)
  • Share GSMISTS Virtual Resources
  • Gather up in smaller groups—such as age-level groups, patrols, or groups of girls with a particular badge they’d like to work on.

Transportation. Individual parents drop off and pick up their own girls from meetings. Carpooling and public transportation should be avoided, where possible, to maintain social distancing.

Virtual meetings. Meeting options may need to be flexible based on the fluid nature of COVID-19 risk. GSMISTS 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. Use the Safety Activity Checkpoints for Virtual Meetings, to guide your meeting plans: Virtual Troop Meetings. Other helpful resources can be found here: https://www.gsmists.org/en/for-volunteers/online-support-for-volunteers.html

Day trips and activities. In conjunction with Safety Activity Checkpoints, follow the same guidance as Troop Meetings and 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.

Travel and overnight stays. At this time GSMISTS is not recommending travel or overnight stays. If you have any questions, contact customercare@gsmists.org.  Please remember GSMISTS facilities are closed through September 7. We are updating on a month to month basis. 

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 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 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 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 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.

First Aid / CPR Training. Keep skills up-to-date for any emergency. American Red Cross and American Heart Association certifications which expired after March 1, 2020 have been granted an extension for 120 days after the expiration date. The American Red Cross and American Heart Association are currently offering classes which fulfill the in-person requirement to earn a certification.  

Disinfectants and Disinfecting. Routinely 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.

Face Coverings. 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. Please understand that some girls or volunteers may not be able to wear masks, due to medical conditions such as asthma. 

Annual Meeting, Adult Recognition, and Girl Awards

The in-person 2020 Annual Meeting was held virtually on May 19, 2020. The virtual meeting was for delegates and board members only. A recording of the meeting is now available in the Publications section of our website.

Watch 2020 Annual Meeting Recording

The in-person Adult Recognition and Girl Award ceremonies have been postponed. We are looking into options for hosting the ceremonies in Fall 2020. 

Destinations

Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) is considering organizing 1-2 special Destinations for summer 2021, for young alum who are not able to travel on Destinations or council trips in summer 2020, due to the current pandemic. Girls will be eligible for these Destinations if:

·         You are a girl member now, and you will graduate high school in 2020

·         You will be between the ages of 18-20 in summer 2021

This Destination will be a Girl Scout reunion - an opportunity to re-engage with Girl Scouts after a year of college or work experience. It will be a girl-led program, where enrolled participants take part in making the itinerary and travel plans. 

GSUSA is currently planning the dates and basic details of the Destination(s). Please indicate your interest here, and give us some feedback on the plans! GSUSA will continue to take interest in this trip until July 30, 2020.

Follow this link in you are interested in learning more: https://girlscoutsusa.ca1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_5BlbIzH7kmGagiV

Facility Rentals

We are suspending all Girl Scout events at camps and little houses through July 1, and we will evaluate on a month to month basis. Customer Care will be reaching out to participants with details on rescheduling and/or credits.

For more information, contact Customer Care Specialist Renaee Veltman at rveltman@gsmists.org.

Girl Scout Cookie Program

Congratulations to everyone who participated in the 2020 Girl Scout Cookie Program! While it was a uniquely challenging season, our Girl Scouts found opportunities to engage in innovative selling techniques and found the perseverance to keep going when they didn’t know what the future would hold. Council staff was able to work with troops who had booths scheduled during the disrupted two weeks and while we bought back some boxes, many troops used their entrepreneurial spirit to find ways to sell the boxes themselves or decided to keep them for their own uses.

Bakery Rewards will be distributed to Service Unit Product Program Managers (SUPPM) once the distribution center resumes operations. Higher earned rewards may take more time to arrive and Cookie Dough will be distributed to SUPPM’s soon after bakery rewards are shipped.

Council still has boxes of cookies available so if anyone is interested in purchasing additional cases of cookies for troop snacks, donations or consumption, they will be available in a first come, first get basis once Council opens back up for normal business hours.

For more information, contact Director of Product Program Operations Sally Ellis at sellis@gsmists.org.

Highest Awards

GSUSA is offering a three-month deadline extension, from Sept. 30 to Dec. 31, 2020, for Highest Awards final report submissions. This is particularly relevant for 5th grade Juniors, 8th grade Cadettes, and 12th grade Ambassadors who will bridge to the next program level officially on Sept. 30, 2020, and typically would be no longer eligible to earn the Bronze, Silver, or Gold Awards, respectively.

Membership Renewal - Current Members

Renew when you are ready! We have extended renewal benefits for the convenience of our troop leaders and parents. Renew by August 31 to receive a free Early Bird Renewal Patch!

Renew Your Membership

Don't forget, you can use your Cookie Dough to pay for renewal! Once you reach the payment screen, contact Customer Care at 844-GSMISTS (476-4787) or customercare@gsmists.org to pay with Cookie Dough. Be sure to check with your troop leader before registering.  

Programming Information

All council-led in-person programs and trainings are cancelled through August 1. Updates regarding specific council events and programs will be sent via email to any registrants.

GSMISTS has developed a comprehensive resource webpage containing over 30 GSMISTS council or guest-led badge-earning videos, story time videos for all Daisy petals, links to programming from other councils and GSUSA, and additional outside resources. The page has the videos sorted by level and lists the badge names so each Girl Scout can find the video that is right for them.

GSMISTS has launched our Virtual Experience Badge Earning programs, a new form of virtual programming. Rather than the continuing with Facebook Live events, Girl Scouts can now register for a comprehensive badge earning program where each step will be covered with specific instructions as to how to complete the badge from home. Participants will receive additional information and resources before the program.  Visit our Event Calendar to see what badges are being offered and to register.

Maintaining a girl's connection to Girl Scouts can bring her a sense of normalcy and security when much of her world seems uncertain right now.  We know that parents and caregivers may be adjusting to changes, too. With this Parent/Caregiver Resource Guide, it is easy to quickly navigate through the essentials of the Girl Scout program and the digital resources available.

What about 3rd Party Program Partners offered to Girl Scouts?
3rd Party Program Partners who offer events that are for Girl Scout members (like a badge workshop, journey workshop, etc.) have been canceled until further notice. Ultimately, it is up to the discretion of each Program Partner to determine their refund policy. We encourage registrants to reach out directly to the hosting organization to inquire about their cancellation terms and policies. GSMISTS cannot issue refunds for 3rd Party Events or Programming. We apologize for the inconvenience.

For more information, contact Director of Volunteer Engagement and Girl Experience Lesley Robinson at lrobinson@gsmists.org.

Service Centers & Council Shops

GSUSA is currently offering free shipping in the online shop, with no minimum order required. Additionally, the Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting Binders have been discounted from $19.50 to $12.95.  These binders are divided into three sections: handbook, badge and my Girl Scouts and include the requirements for the Daisy petals, legacy badges, faith pins, safety awards and much more. Girls can work on these awards on their own.

All GSMISTS service centers remain closed to the public. Members of GSMISTS staff are working remotely and are able to be reached via phone and email. GSMISTS's online shop is still available at www.girlscoutshop.com/Michigan-Shore-to-Shore-Council. For more information, contact Director of Retail Operations and Customer Care Irene Bosman at ibosman@gsmists.org.

Reporting 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, smiletich@gsmists.org, in this situation.  A council staff member and NOT volunteers, will be responsible for:

  • 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.

State, National & GSUSA Resources

Preventative Measures

Please remember that the best protection is self-protection and self-monitoring, especially in this flu season. Health officials recommend the following measures to minimize your risk of contracting any virus:

· Wash hands frequently especially after sneezing, shaking hands/bodily contact with another individual, and before eating. Use soap and water for 20 seconds or using alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available

· Avoid touching the eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands

· Avoid close contact with people who are sick - health officials call this “social distancing” and recommend staying about three feet away from someone who is sick

· Avoid shaking hands

· Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, like your phone or computer

· Cover the nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing then throw the tissue in the trash, or as a last resort cough into the elbow

· Stay home when you are not feeling well

· Get plenty of sleep, good nutrition, stress-relief, and exercise – a healthy body is the best defense against illness

Resources & Additional Information

For additional information and resources about the Covid-19, we recommend the following.

· CDC web site – The CDC is publishing its latest updates, health tips, and country-specific travel information.
· Coronavirus Q&A – The World Health Organization has published a helpful Q&A addressing many of the common questions about this virus.
· MI State Dept. of Health – COVID-19 link for MI State Dept of Health
· Help Her Be Happy and Healthy (Raising Awesome Girls Blog) - Girl Scouts has also created a way to talk to girls not by avoiding the topic, but by tackling it head-on. · How to Talk to Your Girl About Coronavirus

Q & A

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.

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. 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.

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?

The safety and wellbeing of girls and volunteers is of paramount importance during all Girl Scout activities, especially the Girl Scout Cookie Program. We encourage all girls and volunteers to follow all safety and health protocols and are actively disseminating information from the CDC and other sources as it becomes available. Currently, we encourage girls and volunteers to continue with their cookie sales, exercising caution and discretion. We will keep our volunteers updated on any change in our recommendation.

Are any Girl Scouts/ volunteers showing symptoms/ have the virus already?

Scenario 1: At this time, Girl Scouts of Michigan Shore to Shore has no reason to believe any of our girls or volunteers are affected by the coronavirus. We encourage all girls and volunteers to exercise discretion and follow all Girl Scout and CDC safety protocols.

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

Unfortunately, these kinds of discriminatory attacks can occur at times like these. Girl Scouts of Michigan Shore to Shore 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 safe space for all girls, regardless of the demographic group to which they belong.

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.

Being in school, meetings, and activities, young children are not the most diligent with hygiene. Is it okay for our girls to be interacting with each other?

While Girl Scouts of Michigan Shore to Shore cannot account for every interaction girls have had outside of Girl Scouts, at this time, we have no reason to believe any of our girls are affected by the coronavirus. However, we are taking precautions and educating our girls about developing and maintain healthy routines, such as frequently washing their hands, and avoiding contact with their faces. We encourage all girls and volunteers to exercise discretion and follow all Girl Scout and CDC safety protocols.