Updated: September 2021
COVID-19 and its variants are an extremely contagious virus that spreads easily in the community. Take all reasonable precautions to limit potential exposure for Girl Scouts, volunteers, and families. Girl Scouts of Greater New York encourage virtual troop meetings and the Virtual Girl Scout Leadership Experience. The main office remains closed, and staff continues to provide support virtually and in person. Troops are strongly encouraged to meet virtually.
For virtual resources to run your virtual troop meetings, please check out our Troop Leader Blueprint resources. All parents and/or guardians must complete a Girl Scout Health & Safety Record (Spanish Version).
In-person programs and events can be a wonderful outlet for girls; however, leading in-person activities during COVID-19 is optional. There are many ways to participate in Girl Scouts at home with virtual meetings, a badge in a box, and at-home activities. At-home activities are the safest option. Please follow your own comfort level, and if you participate in-person, please follow all safety guidelines to reduce risk.
At this time, troops are welcomed to meet in-person following CDC guidelines for New York City, as well as the troop meeting location requirements. It's always good practice to check in with caregivers, leaders, and Girl Scouts about comfort level to meet in person.
Troops may meet in person with the following criteria.
- Any in-person troop meeting must follow NYC COVID-19 Guidelines.
- All youth and volunteers must practice social distancing, wear face coverings when location requires them, maintain at least 3 feet distancing of others, and follow safety guidelines outlined by the CDC.
- Vaccinations: Girl Scouts of Greater New York does not require vaccination to conduct in-person troop meetings, but it is highly recommended. Volunteers must follow location requirements. For example, if meeting in an NYC DOE school, if a requirement of theirs is to be vaccinated, then leaders need to do so.
- Face Masks: Our goal is to always keep Girl Scouts healthy and safe. In an effort, to keep them and our communities sage, the following updates are being made to our mask guidelines: Everyone, no matter their vaccination status, must wear masks when around youth under the age of 12. Older girl troops and volunteers at events where all attendees are vaccinated are still highly recommended to wear masks for their own health and safety.
- Meeting Size: A group must follow the Girl Scout to adult/ratio, as outlined in the Leaders Guide to Success training, Volunteer Essentials for Safety, and the NYC COVID-19 large gathering guidelines for indoor and outdoor spaces. Girls should have an active membership, and adult leaders and troop support volunteers must be registered with a background check cleared.
- Meeting Space: Indoor and outdoor spaces that allow for social distancing are permitted for meetings. Ensure to follow indoor and outdoor meeting spaces for in-person meetings. Meeting in private backyards is prohibited unless the meeting location was approved by a GSGNY staff member prior to 2020. If people can no longer meet in a location, GSGNY suggests a blended experience. Meeting online/doing activities/meeting outside.
- Meeting Guidance: Troops and service units should maintain an Attendee Log for all Girl Scouts meetings and activities.
- Testing: It is at the discretion of the Troop leaders in collaboration with caregivers to require testing prior to attending troop meetings or events.
- Personal contact. Hugs, handshakes, “high-fives,” and 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.
- Food and Beverage for Troop Meetings. Volunteers should use caution when serving food and beverages at meetings. If girls wish to bring a water bottle, please make sure they are labeled with their names.
- 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. Leaders should supply trash baskets or bags for meeting spaces if not already available. Make sure that the trash baskets (or bags) are easily accessible. Disposable or no-contact thermometers should be added to supplies if available and not cost-prohibitive. However, caregivers should check temperatures and allow their girl(s) to join group activities only when temperatures are normal (the same guidance applies to volunteers).
Volunteers and Families. Leaders should share these
guidelines with troop families and collaborate with families
based on comfort level, accessibility, and desired level of
- Volunteers and families should assess their ability to comply with required guidelines. For example, younger girls may find it difficult to remain socially distant and/or wear masks. If girls cannot comply with guidelines, troop activities should remain virtual at this time.
- Transportation. Individual parents drop off and pick up their own girls from meetings. Parents/ guardians should wait in/at their car or in the area outside of the troop meeting space.
Pre-screening questions before attending each Girl Scout
meeting or event:
- Have you or anyone in your household (person(s) with whom you live) traveled either domestically or internationally over the past three weeks? If yes, which location(s) did you visit, and which airports did you travel through?
- Check the NYC website for quarantine requirements for anyone who has recently traveled out of state.
- Have you or anyone with whom you live experienced any of the following symptoms within the past two weeks?
- Have you or anyone with whom you live experienced any of the following symptoms over the past 24 hours? To your knowledge, have you been in close, sustained contact (within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more) with anyone showing any of the above-referenced symptoms or anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 (Coronavirus)?
- Please click the links above or go to the CDC for COVID-19 symptoms for pre-screening.
- Volunteers should include these questions in each email confirmation they send to parents for meetings and events.
Reporting and communicating a positive COVID 19 test: In
the event of a volunteer or Girl Scout receiving a positive
COVID-19 test result, the volunteer or parent/guardian should
promptly contact Council in this situation by completing an Incident
Report. The person filling out the form will hear back from
Council staff within 48 business hours. If for any reason, the
link is not available, contact email@example.com
with the subject line: Incident Report/COVID-19. Troop
Co-Leaders will be responsible for:
- Confirming and tracing the positive tester,
- Contacting volunteers and parents of any girl scout who may have been exposed
- Notifying a facility or homeowner where Girl Scouts had met. Girl and volunteer health information is private, strictly confidential, and should only be shared on a need-to-know basis with a Council staff member. Remember Girl Scout information (both youth and adult members) is confidential and shouldn’t be shared with anyone.
Trips for Troop Meetings:
- Any in-person trips/activities must follow NYC COVID-19 Guidelines for indoor and outdoor gatherings and location requirements.
- All girls and volunteers must practice social distancing, wear face coverings (masks), maintain 3 feet distancing of others, and follow safety guidelines outlined by the CDC.
- Leaders must submit a Troop Trip and Insurance Application form 15 days before the trip. The Volunteer Experience team will send confirmation within 10 business days.
Camp, travel, and overnight stays:
- Troops should follow Troop Trip procedures, using Safety Activity Checkpoints for guidance.
- Troop leaders must review Girl Scout Trip Planning Tip Sheet.
All above subject to change to comply with any NYC Health/COVID-19 regulations updates.