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

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

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 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.) 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.

Service Units 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. 

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.