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GSMISTS Coronavirus Updates

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, programming, service center shopping and hours and much more. 

Shop Girl Scouts 
Our Council Shops are open for curbside pick-up and you can order all your Girl Scout supplies online now with free shipping on orders over $100.

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 the website for any updates. 

GSMISTS Information

This is the most up-to-date guideance from GSMISTS.
Updated August 19, 2021

Service Unit and Troop Activities

COVID-19 guidelines are always evolving! GSMISTS is updating our recommendation so be sure you have the most recent information. When you are ready to restart in-person troop meetings, review the updated guidelines. These guidelines are based on measures shared by the State of Michigan, and are subject to change.

 In Person Meeting Guidelines
Updated August 19, 2021

GSMISTS Annual Meeting

The 2021 Annual Meeting was held virtually on April 29, 2020. The virtual meeting was for delegates and board members only. A recording of the meeting is now available in the Governance section of our website.

Watch 2021 Annual Meeting Recording

Facility Rentals

Ludington Little House, Betsy Cutler House, Camp Woodlands, and Camp Anna Behrens are open for troop and service unit use. Grand Haven Little House is no longer available for use.

Adjusted capacities of GSMISTS facilities for inside, overnight accommodations:

  • Betsy Cutler House- maximum 25 people
  • Camp Woodlands - maximum 12 people
  • Ludington Little House - maximum 12 people
  • Camp Anna Behrens 
    • Brinkert’s Troop House - maximum 12 people
    • Meijer Yurt - maximum 6 people
    • Wege Yurt - maximum 6 people
    • White Pine Cabins - maximum 24 people
    • Lodge Pole Cabins - maximum 24 people
    • Sky Way - maximum 2 people per cabin

All travel and overnights must be approved by GSMISTS.

The Activity/Trip Application for overnights, day trips lasting longer than 8 hours, and high adventure/high risk activity (any activity in Safety Activity Checkpoints that requires GSMISTS approval) needs to be submitted to GSMISTS at least 4 weeks prior to date of overnight/activity.

The Activity/Trip Application for extended trips of three (3) or more nights needs to be submitted to GSMISTS at least 6 weeks prior to date of travel.

Reservations for all facilities are made through our Reservation Calendar located at https://www.gsmists.org/en/properties/rental-information.html

Membership Renewal - Current Members

Renew when you are ready! We have extended renewal benefits for the convenience of our troop leaders and parents.

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

Troop Leader Blueprint for an Amazing Troop Year: Troop leaders make the Girl Scout Leadership Experience happen for Girl Scouts, but this year has brought new challenges and anxieties as volunteers work to keep girls and families engaged. Our Troop Leader Blueprint provides a “home base” for accessing national and local resources and tools created to help troop leaders continue to serve their girls in virtual and safe in-person settings.

Visit our Event Calendar for upcoming virtual and in-person program opportunities.

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

Service Centers & Council Shops

GSMISTS Service Centers are open to the public, which means you can come shop in person! Curbside pickup is still available, contact customercare@gsmists.org. or 844-476-4787 to place an order.

We are asking that Non-vaccinated individuals must wear masks. No public bathrooms are available.

Grand Rapids

Shop & Curbside Pickup Hours
Monday - Wednesday 8:30-5:30
Friday 8:30 - 12:30

3275 Walker Avenue NW, Grand Rapids MI 49544
Call: 616-784-3341
Fax: 616-784-8187

Muskegon

Shop & Curbside Pickup Hours
Wednesday 9:00-5:30

1201 E. River Road, Muskegon, MI 49445
Call: 231-744-4774
Fax: 616-784-8187

Traverse City

Shop & Curbside Pickup Hours
Monday - Wednesday 8:30-5:30
Friday 8:30 - 12:30

1820 Oak Hollow Drive, Traverse City MI 49686
Call: 231-947-7354
Fax: 616-784-8187

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 HR & Governance, hr@gsmists.org, in this situation. After receiving guidance, the troop leader will be responsible for:

  • Confirming and tracing the positive tester
  • Contacting via e-mail the parents of anyone who may have been exposed (or other volunteers)
  • Notifying a facility or homeowner where a troop has met

Let other volunteers know that the troop leader 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 only be 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 Covid-19?

COVID-19 is a disease caused by a virus called SARS-CoV-2. Most people with COVID-19 have mild symptoms, but some people can become severely ill. Although most people with COVID-19 get better within weeks of illness, some people experience post-COVID conditions. Post-COVID conditions are a wide range of new, returning, or ongoing health problems people can experience more than four weeks after first being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. Older people and those who have certain underlying medical conditions are more likely to get severely ill from COVID-19. Vaccines against COVID-19 are safe and effective.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

People with COVID-19 have reported a wide range of symptoms – from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. If you have fever, cough, or other symptoms, you might have COVID-19.

How does the virus spread??

COVID-19 spreads when an infected person breathes out droplets and very small particles that contain the virus. These droplets and particles can be breathed in by other people or land on their eyes, noses, or mouth. In some circumstances, they may contaminate surfaces they touch. People who are closer than 6 feet from the infected person are most likely to get infected.

COVID-19 is spread in three main ways:

  • Breathing in air when close to an infected person who is exhaling small droplets and particles that contain the virus.
  • Having these small droplets and particles that contain virus land on the eyes, nose, or mouth, especially through splashes and sprays like a cough or sneeze.
  • Touching eyes, nose, or mouth with hands that have the virus on them.

For more information about how COVID-19 spreads, visit the How COVID-19 Spreads page to learn how COVID-19 spreads and how to protect yourself.

What is community spread?

Community spread means people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected. Each health department determines community spread differently based on local conditions. For information on community spread in your area, please visit your local health department’s website.

How can I protect myself?

Visit the CDC's How to Protect Yourself & Others page to learn about how to protect yourself from respiratory illnesses, like COVID-19.

Should I use soap and water or hand sanitizer to protect against COVID-19?

If you are sick with COVID-19 or think you might have COVID-19, follow the steps below to care for yourself and to help protect other people in your home and community.

  • Stay at home (except to get medical care).
  • Separate yourself from others.
  • Monitor your symptoms.
  • Wear a mask over your nose and mouth when around others.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes.
  • Wash your hands often.
  • Clean high-touch surfaces every day.
  • Avoid sharing personal household items.

For more information, see the CDC's What to Do If You Are Sick.

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

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.

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 CDC safety protocols.

Previous Council Statements

This is information is from previous Council Statements and is here for any questions about the progression of our guidelines. The information is outdated, for the most up-to-date guidelines please review the information beneath the 'GSMISTS Information' above.

Council Statement - May 10, 2021

Interim COVID-19 Guidance for Volunteers
Edition date: May 10, 2021

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 May 10, 2021, 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 and are subject to change.
• All GSMISTS guidelines are in place regardless of vaccination status and must be adhered to whether the individuals involved are vaccinated or not.
• 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 inperson. 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 and activities 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.

Permission Slips
Prior to resuming in-person troop meetings or activities, 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.

COVID-19 Response Form
Prior to resuming in-person troop meetings or activities, a COVID-19 Response Form must be completed and signed by a parent/guardian for each girl who will be participating. The troop leader must retain this form.

Troop Meeting Capacities
Follow the current MDHHS Epidemic Orders on capacity limits. This information is updated on a regular basis. Be sure to check prior to planning meetings/activities.

Social Distancing
Social distancing is a best practice which helps reduce the spread of COVID-19. To practice social distancing, stay at least 6 feet from other people who are not from your household in both indoor and outdoor spaces. Social distancing will be practiced at GSMISTS council-run activities.

Face Coverings
Follow the current MDHHS Epidemic Orders on face covering. This information is updated on a regular basis. Be sure to check prior to planning meetings/activities. Face coverings may be required during some/all of GSMISTS council-run activities. There are girls or volunteers who may not be able to wear masks, due to medical conditions such as asthma. If a girl or volunteer is unable to wear a mask they can participate virtually, or the troop leader can require to see a written medical clearance from a physician (the troop leader should not keep the written medical clearance).

Day Trips and Activities
For day trips and activities held at public facilities (for example, roller skating rink, movie theater, museum, etc.) the gathering limitations/size of group and face covering guidance is based on what is posted/provided by the facility. Remember it is best practice to social distance. 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.

Travel and Overnight Stays
GSMISTS will approve travel and overnight stays occurring June 7, 2021 and after. All travel and overnights must be approved by GSMISTS.
• The Activity/Trip Application for overnights, day trips lasting longer than 8 hours, and high adventure/high risk activity (any activity in Safety Activity Checkpoints that requires GSMISTS approval) needs to be submitted to GSMISTS at least 4 weeks prior to date of overnight/activity.
• The Activity/Trip Application for extended trips of three (3) or more nights needs to be submitted to GSMISTS at least 6 weeks prior to date of travel.

As you plan for travel and overnights:
• Consult with girls and families to measure comfortability levels with traveling during the pandemic.
• Research the COVID-19 situation at the destination to assess potential risks and exposure. • Be prepared to follow the COVID-19 guidelines of the location you are traveling to.
• Develop a plan for what you will do if someone becomes ill during the trip/overnights. This will be required for GSMISTS approval.

Review GSMISTS Activity and Trip Planning Guide for more information.

Transportation
Carpooling and public transportation should be avoided, to maintain social distancing.

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. Grand Haven Little House is open for troop and service unit use (no overnights). Ludington Little House, Betsy Cutler House, and Camp Woodlands (outside use only due to construction), and Camp Anna Behrens are open for troop and service unit use, with overnights beginning June 7, 2021. Adjusted capacities of GSMISTS facilities for inside, overnight accommodations:
• Betsy Cutler House - maximum 25 people
• Camp Woodlands - maximum 12 people
• Ludington Little House - maximum 12 people
• Camp Anna Behrens - maximum 12 people 
    • Brinkert's Troop House - maximum 12 people
    • Meijer Yurt - maximum 6 people
    • Wege Yurt - maximum 6 people
    • White Pine Cabins - maximum 24 people
    • Lodge Pole Cabins - maximum 24 people
    • Sky Way maximum - 2 people per cabin

Reservations for all facilities are made through our Reservation Calendar located at https://www.gsmists.org/en/properties/rental-information.html.

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/Activities at the Home
GSMISTS allows troops to meet at a volunteer's home if the house has been approved. Follow the current MDHHS Epidemic Orders on capacity limits. Review Guidelines for Girl Scout Meetings/Activities in the Home for more information on obtaining permission for meeting at the home.

Personal Contact
Hugs, handshakes,  "high-fives," and event 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).

Singing
Singing and shouting both project germs farther than talking, ask your girls to either hum their closing song, or sing quietly.

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' style 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) should be followed at all times.

Restrooms
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.

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 HR & Governance, hr@gsmists.org, in this situation. After receiving guidance, the troop leader will be responsible for:
• Confirming and tracing the positive tester
• Contacting via e-mail the parents of anyone who may have been exposed (or other volunteers)
• Notifying a facility or homeowner where a troop has met

Let other volunteers know that the troop leader 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 only be 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 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.

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
Routinely clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that are frequently touched (i.e., tabletops, markers, scissors, etc.). Use a household disinfectant cleaner or see the cleaners approved for use against COVIDcleaning and disinfection products (e.g., concentration, application method and contact time, etc.). See the for more on cleaning and disinfecting community facilities.

FDA Warning
The FDA has advised consumers not to use certain hand sanitizers due to unsafe ingredients. The CDC provides an updated list of products that should never be used. Be sure to check FDA updates on hand sanitizers consumers should not use and stay away from products deemed unsafe. 

Council Statement - August 4, 2020

GSMISTS Council Update/
08/04/2020

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 to change.

·      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.

Permission Slips

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.

Transportation

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.

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).

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.

Restrooms

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, 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.

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.

Social Distancing

To practice social distancing, stay at least 6 feet from other people who are not from your household in both indoor and outdoor spaces.

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. 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

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.

Council Statement - May 4, 2020

GSMISTS Council Update 
05/04/2020

As individuals, communities and organizations continue to adapt to the current climate, Girl Scouts of Michigan Shore to Shore wants to keep you up to date on what we are doing to address these most unusual times. We have provided resources for our volunteers and troops to continue meeting digitally and through the summer, we will be releasing virtual opportunities for all levels to continue badge earning experiences. However, until guidelines allow and we have the ability to provide safe spaces for our Girl Scouts and volunteers, we will not be providing any in person events or rentals of our properties.

Thank you to everyone who has reached out to us during this time. Communication is a cornerstone of our council, and it is only with the openness of our volunteers and troop leaders that we can make the best choices possible. GSMISTS staff will remain working, still focused on delivering support in these unprecedented times and reachable via phone and email.  If you have any questions, you can find contact information for the specific areas below or you can email communications@gsmists.org.

We are actively working on gathering information about the needs of our parents and volunteers. If you have time, please complete this 3 question survey which will help us continue to support you.  If you are not in a space where you are ready to take this survey, we understand.  Please take time to care for yourself, your family and your neighbors before taking on anything else.

Annual Meeting & Adult Recognition, and Girl Awards
The in-person 2020 Annual Meeting has been cancelled, and a virtual event will be taking place May 19, 2020. The virtual meeting is for delegates and board members only. A recording of the meeting will be available online in the Publications section of our website.

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 June 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 – Gold, Silver, Bronze 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.

Service Centers and 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.

2021 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 the dates below for some great perks!

May 1st renewals for the 2021 membership year were 24% above last year!

June 1 - Renew a minimum 5 girls and 2 leaders to receive .03 cents per box of cookies more in the 2021 Cookie Program. To be eligible, Troops must:

· Complete the Annual Finance Report by June 1

·  Sell 12 or more items for the 2020 Fall Program

·  Sell 190 per girl average in 2021 Cookie Program 

August 31 - Girls who renew by August 31, 2020 receive a free Early Bird Renewal Patch!

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 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.

Beginning in June, GSMISTS will be launching 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.  For more information, contact Girl Experience Partnerships and Program Coordinator Gayle Ebben at gebben@gsmists.org.    

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. are not being promoted until further notice. Ultimately, it is up to the discretion of each Program Partner to determine their schedule and 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 Unit and Troop Activities
At a minimum, GSMISTS Troops must adhere to state guidelines in regards to social gatherings, and we encouraging our members to find ways to meet digitally. GSMISTS has created resources for leaders and parents on ways to safely engage virtually.  For more information, contact your Community Membership Manager.

Council Statement - March 16, 2020

Council Statement – 03/16/2020

The health and wellbeing of our girls, volunteers, and staff are Girl Scout of Michigan Shore to Shore’s top priorities, and we are monitoring and assessing the latest developments of COVID-19 (coronavirus) across the state. In light of the weekend developments regarding COVID-19 in the State of Michigan, we will be joining our sister Girl Scout Councils and national and local efforts to contain and reduce the risk of COVID-19 exposure by suspending all in-person council activities, events, site usage, and programs through April 7.

This is a disruptive time for many people, but there is always a silver-lining and opportunities to showcase what the Girl Scouts are all about. Times of uncertainty, can also be times of growth. Open lines of communication with children using Girl Scouts of USA’s helpful guide and help them develop lifelong skills of personal health and safety. Create new learning opportunities by exploring what viruses are, historical examples, and the science behind the current situation at hand. You can even get hands-on with fun health experiments like this recipe for hand sanitizer or a ‘swab and grow’ bacteria plate. If you do a badge earning event at home, share it with us! Tag @gsmists on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter to be featured for your ingenuity. We are currently working to develop digital activities and badge work to complete at home while schools are closed.

Thank you to everyone who has reached out to us during this time. Communication is a cornerstone of our council, and it is only with the openness of our volunteers and troop leaders that we can make the best choices possible. GSMISTS staff will remain working, still focused on delivering support in these unprecedented times and reachable via phone and email.  If you have any questions, you can find contact information for the specific areas below or you email communications@gsmists.org.

 

Girl Scout Cookie Program

Cookie booths are suspended through April 7. While we understand that we have some troops who are still working to sell all of their inventory and are working in partnership with all troops, girls and parents on how best to manage any leftover inventory so that it does not become an unnecessary financial burden. Troop leaders should be aware currently scheduled ACH scheduled for Tuesday, March 17 is still on, and we are currently collecting data to determine future sweeps and booth sales. Additional communication is being sent directly to troop leaders and other relevant parties. For more information, contact Director of Product Program Operations Sally Ellis at sellis@gsmists.org.

 

Service Centers and Council Shops

All GSMISTS service centers will be closed to the public through April 7, at which time we will reassess. Various members of GSMISTS staff will transition to working remotely, still focused on delivering support in these unprecedented times and still reachable 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.

 

Programming Information

All council led programs and trainings are cancelled through April 7. Please continue to monitor the website for any changes and for information beyond April 7. Updates regarding specific council events and programs will be sent via email to any registrants. We are currently working to develop digital activities and badge work to complete at home while schools are closed.

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 through April 7. 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.


Facility Rentals

We are suspending all Girl Scouts camps and little houses from Tuesday, March 17 until April 7. Customer Care and program will be reaching out to participants with details on rescheduling and/or credits.

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

 

Annual Meeting, Adult Recognition, Bridging and Girl Awards

The GSMISTS Annual Meeting/Adult Recognition scheduled for April 18 is cancelled. We are currently looking to reschedule an in-person meeting or a remote option and will continue to send updates as we gather more information.

For our Bridging Ceremony and Girl Awards we will follow the recommended state guidelines as they are updated, and will continue to update our membership as the events get closer.

 

Recruitment Events

All recruitment event are cancelled through April 7. Please continue to monitor the website for any changes and for information beyond April 7.

For more information, contact Director of Community Engagement and Recruitment Strategy Mary C. Hartfield at mhartfield@gsmists.org.

 

Service Unit and Troop Activities

In-person meetings are suspended until April 7 or until further details are known. We encourage you to think creatively about staying connected digitally during this time. For more information, contact Director of Community Engagement and Recruitment Strategy Mary C. Hartfield at mhartfield@gsmists.org.

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. 

Council Statement - March 13, 2020

Council Statement – 03/13/2020

As the impact of COVID-19 escalates, we continue to keep girl, volunteer and employee health and safety as our primary concern. We are also taking every precaution to mitigate adverse impact to GSMISTS operations, as well as keeping councils informed with available resources or guidelines as we learn of them.

As our council covers a large area, we empower our leaders to make decisions that are best for them as the situation may vary from one region to another. We encourage volunteers and parents to engage girls in the decision-making process regarding cookie booths and all other troop activities.

Cookie Program

GSMISTS will not be hosting a cookie booth at the West Michigan Women’s Expo. Individual Cookie Booths may still continue at the judgment of the Troop Leaders and parents.

Programming Information

All council led programs and trainings are cancelled through April 7. Please continue to monitor the website for any changes and for information beyond April 7. Updates regarding specific events and programs will be sent via email to any registrants.

Annual Meeting

The GSMISTS Annual Meeting scheduled for April 18 is cancelled. We are currently looking into options to be able to conduct the meeting remotely and will continue to send updates as we gather more information.

Recruitment Events

All recruitment event are cancelled through April 7. Please continue to monitor the website for any changes and for information beyond April 7.

If you have any questions, please direct them to Krystan Krucki, Stephanie Miletech or Mary Charles.