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Troop Guidelines


Last Updated 1/28/2021

COVID-19 is an extremely contagious virus that spreads easily in the community. Take all reasonable precautions to limit potential exposure for girls, volunteers, and families. Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois (GSEIWI) may modify this guidance, from time to time as circumstances change. All guidelines must be followed for in-person troop meetings.

Continue to follow local and national directives and discuss plans with families. Individual communities in Iowa and Illinois may establish stricter requirements. If that is the case in your community, you must adapt these guidelines to meet those requirements.

Based on state guidelines, troops can meet in-person in Iowa if they follow the below guidelines:

Topic
Guidance
Cookie Program The Cookie Program is an important program that teaches girls business skills and raises funds for their troops and the local council. Girls are selling cookies in 2021 with accommodations to keep members and our community safe!

Digital Cookie is an essential tool for this cookie season! Cookie sellers can create their Digital Cookie accounts and reach out to customers through email and social media. Troops can use Digital Cookie to reach customers through the Cookie Finder. Customers can choose to donate cookies to military members and essential workers or purchase cookies to be shipped to their homes. When selling in person, Digital Cookie can also be used to accept credit card payment contactlessly.

Girl Scouts can collect orders in advance on order cards or through Digital Cookie. When the cookie order arrives, girls can deliver the cookies. Girls must wear masks and observe social distancing guidelines when delivering orders. We highly recommend that girls drop off cookie orders in bags or boxes with a custom thank you on customers' porches.

Door-to-door sales are an option in 2021 as well. Girls should wear masks and bring hand sanitizer. Custom door hangers, flyers, and business cards can be placed on customers' doors with instructions on how to order cookies. Find marketing resources for cookie sellers.

Cookie Booths that follow safety guidelines are an option as well. Our council recommends hosting in-person booths in a drive-thru style or try a virtual booth. Booth sales should only have two girls and two adults at a time. Find more details, guidance, and resources for booth sales.

Find more contactless cookie sale tips!
In-Person Gatherings

Troops/groups may meet in groups of up to 15 total girls and adults, meeting GSUSA girl/adult ratios.

Larger troops may break into smaller groups with each group meeting at the same time. Girls in the groups should remain static. Do not move girls from one group to another during the meeting or from one week to the next. Adults could move from one group to another (mask must be worn). Groups should try to maintain 30 feet apart from each other.  You also may continue to host virtual troop meetings to keep girls engaged.

Adults should meet the girls at a designated drop-off location where parents can simply drive up and drop-off/pick-up their Girl Scout. This ensures that larger groups are not gathering to wait for troop participants.

Parents should have face masks available in case they need to interact closely with a leader.

GSUSA recommends hosting virtual meetings at least 20% of the time to keep tech skills and virtual meeting habits fresh.  

Social Distancing

Mark off distances on the ground or group setting accordingly. Maintain at least six-foot distance from other individuals. NO PHYSICAL CONTACT.

Adults are responsible for monitoring all social distancing guidelines. 

Hugs, handshakes, and Girl Scout traditions, such as Friendship Circles, must be adapted or not done.

Games/activities would need to be chosen to ensure physical contact is not happening. 

Hygiene and Risk Mitigation

Face coverings should be worn by everyone throughout the meeting.

Ensure troop first aid supplies include COVID-19 prevention items including hand sanitizer, tissues, disposable facemasks, and disinfectants.

Must have hand washing/sanitizing supplies available. Sanitize hands upon arrival, throughout (at least every 30 minutes), and just before leaving.

Remind troop members of the appropriate process. If not followed, ensure participant sanitizes hands and any surfaces coughed/sneezed on are cleaned.

GSEIWI recommends having a virtual meeting prior to meeting in person where girls make their own face mask from a bandana to bring to the meeting. 

Cleaning High-Touch Surfaces

Identify areas at your meeting location that will need to be wiped down after each person touches it (door handles, handle of the toilet, faucets, tables, etc.) and ensure they are wiped down after each participant touches it.

Minimize the use of shared materials such as markers, crayons, scissors, etc. by having each girl provide her own box of identified items. This box can be carried to and from the meeting by the individual girl. If collected and stored in one location, each box should be wiped off with a sanitizing wipe before stored.

If there are shared items, sanitize after each individual person uses the item.

Ensure troop is following CDC and state health department guidelines.

Food & Drinks

Ensure each participant brings their own filled-water bottle.

If serving snacks, they should be prepackaged individual snacks. The person distributing snacks must wash hands prior to distributing. Or have each participant bring their own snack.

Do not share dishes/utensils. 

Additional Guidelines from GSEIWI based on GSUSA guidance.
Meeting Location

At this time, outdoor spaces where social distancing can be maintained are strongly recommended for meetings.

For indoor facilities, maximum occupancy of 50% of facility capacity is permitted. If a meeting room holds 30, you can have no more than 15 participants (girls and adults) AND should ensure social distancing of 6 feet between participants can be maintained.

If your troop is meeting at a home, please follow these guidelines.

Rentals for outdoor troop meetings at our Girl Scout properties can be reserved, with groups following all of the meeting guidelines.  GSEIWI reserves the right to deny a rental request if there is a safety concern.

Always check and confirm ahead of time with the facility where the meeting will take place, to ensure all safety and capacity guidelines can and will be followed.

For meetings held in public areas, volunteers must ensure the space is clean and touch surfaces (i.e., tabletops, chairs, etc.) have been sanitized.

When possible, maintain 30 feet of distance between your troop and any other group that may be meeting in the area.

If meeting in the same outdoor space as another troop, the groups must remain static, no mixing of the girls from the two troops.

Length of Meeting You may want to keep meetings relatively short to limit the number of bathroom trips. Many public bathrooms, such as at parks, are currently not open.
Screenings—Self Evaluation

Parents should ensure their child does not have a temperature or feel ill prior to coming to the troop meeting. 

Troop members who are ill, living with someone who is ill, showing symptoms, or in a high-risk category should not participate in troop meetings.  

Parents must determine the risks of allowing their child to attend troop meetings and determine if now is the time for their child to resume in-person Girl Scouting.

Transportation

Public transportation should be avoided to maintain social distancing. 

When transporting (carpooling) girls, always space out the girls to avoid crowding, have girls wear a mask, and keep the windows partially open to provide ventilation. Make sure parents are aware ahead of time if girls will be in a car together. Always conduct the prescreening process to ensure that coronavirus does not touch Girl Scout gatherings.

Girls and adults should wear masks when inside of a motor vehicle.

Keep the car window opened, at least partially, to circulate fresh air.

Consider the personal situation of your girls.

Sustained contact within less than six (6) feet for longer than ten (10) minutes within an enclosed area creates a high risk for virus transmission, so be very careful with carpool decisions. 

Adults should meet the girls at a designated drop-off location where parents can simply drive up and drop-off/pick-up their Girl Scout. This ensures that larger groups are not gathering to wait for troop participants. 

Parents should have face masks available in case they need to interact closely with a leader. 

Travel and Overnight Stays 

If traveling, please remember to follow all guidelines regarding group size, social distancing, masks, hand washing, cleaning high-touch surfaces, etc.  See additional travel guidelines related to COVID-19 on cdc.gov.  

The timeframe for resuming travel will vary from state to state and even from county to county in some cases. As always, volunteers must seek council prior approval before planning any overnight stays, follow the guidance in Safety Activity Checkpoints, and continue to practice the Hygiene and COVID-19 Risk Mitigation guidance. Troops traveling to a non-GSEIWI property site must submit the Troop Trip and Overnight Approval form. This includes day trips further than 60 miles from home.  Recognize that the COVID-19 risk is fluid, it can and will change and contingencies for re-scheduling or pivoting to virtual should always be considered.

Currently, the department that licenses Youth Camps in Illinois is not allowing overnight camping, except for family camping. For this reason, we are not allowing overnight troop camping trips. This includes the use of indoor and outdoor facilities. Only family camping will be approved.  

Day trips and activities  Call ahead to the facility or vendor to confirm that they are following CDC and state health department guidelines. 

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 GSEIWI 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

Let other volunteers know that council staff, NOT volunteers, will also 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.

To report a positive COVID-19 case to GSEIWI, contact info@girlscoutstoday.org or 800-798-0833. A team member will refer you to the appropriate staff member, who will contact you to gather the specific information. 

Troop Meeting Locations
Troops are invited to reserve some of our council offices and camps for troop meetings for free. Make your reservation today! Call 800-798-0833 or email us with any questions.

Virtual Activities
Virtual troop meetings and activities are a safe and fun option to keep girls engaged! Kids need normalcy during this stressful and unkown time and Girl Scouts can be an outlet for girls to have fun and stay connected with friends. Follow the Blueprint for Success and find at-home activities, virtual programs, and direct-shipped kits to make planning virtual meetings easier.