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COVID-19 Important Updates & Frequently Asked Questions

The CDC guidelines for youth serving organization have been updated based on:

  • The increase in the COVID-19 transmission rates in schools and communities.
  • Lower than optimal vaccination rates in the public, as well as the fact that youth under 12 years of age cannot yet be vaccinated.
  • The increase in break-through infections among people who are vaccinated; at times without their awareness.

The CDC recommends that individuals maximize protection from the highly transmissible COVID-19 Delta variant and prevent possibly spreading it to others, by getting vaccinated as soon as you can and wearing a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission (All Ohio counties are currently "high transmission").

At Girl Scouts of Western Ohio, member safety is our primary concern. Effective Friday, September 10, 2021, the following guidelines will be in place for all Girl Scouts of Western Ohio activities.

Masks are not required during outdoor activities when social distance can be maintained.

Masks are required for all Girl Scout activities that take place in indoor settings (girls and adult activities) or outdoors when participants cannot be socially distanced.

Exceptions:

Masks may be removed when social distance cannot be kept when:

  • Eating or drinking, swimming, or participating in vigorous exercise
  • Sleeping at overnight events

Additional details are outlined in our Meeting & Event Guidelines tab.

In any instance where the guidelines outlined below differ from your state and local health guidelines, follow the stricter of the two guidelines.

General Safety Guidelines for All Girl Scouts

Masks are not required during outdoor activities where social distance can be maintained.

Masks are required for all Girl Scout activities that take place in indoor settings (girls and adult activities) or outdoors when participants cannot be socially distanced.

Exceptions: Masks may be removed even when social distance cannot be kept when:

  • Eating or drinking, swimming, or participating in vigorous exercise
  • Sleeping at overnight events

All participants in Girl Scout activities, including troop meetings, should:

  • Maintain 6-feet social distance among all participants (girls and volunteers) at all times.
  • Wear masks covering their mouth and nose, except when outside and can maintain 6-feet social distance, and during vigorous outdoor activities, when swimming, and during eating, drinking, and sleeping.
  • Maintain existing family, troop and/or social groups, where possible, and divide up larger groups into smaller cohorts that stay together during event.
  • Limit shared items that may be touched by multiple participants, including food, to greatest extent possible.
  • Discuss COVID-19 requirements and troop plans with parents and caregivers to get their support.
  • Include and review the following statement with parents / caregivers, in all annual or single use Activity Permission Forms.

By participating in Girl Scouts, you agree to the following:

I acknowledge that COVID-19 is an extremely contagious virus that spreads easily in the community. I agree to adhere to Girl Scouts of Western Ohio and state and local guidelines and mandates. I will take all reasonable precautions to limit potential exposure for myself, girls, volunteers, and families, based on Girl Scouts of Western Ohio and state guidelines. I will hold Girl Scouts of Western Ohio harmless and waive all right to legal action, if I or my girl contracts COVID through exposure at a Girl Scout event.

All Girl Scout volunteers, parents, and girls should continue to:

  • Wash hands regularly and wipe down high-touch areas before and after use. 
  • Never attend an in-person Girl Scout meeting, event, or other activity when exhibiting a fever or other indications of illness, while waiting for COVID-19 test results, or if under quarantine.
GSWO Offices & Shops

We are open regular office hours to serve you! Please watch for additional information as we work to determine the best schedule to serve our members. 

Customer Care

We are answering your calls and emails Monday – Friday from 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.


Cincinnati, Dayton, and Toledo Shops

We're taking the following precautions to create the safest shopping experience for everyone.

  • Masks Required: Visitors and employees are required to wear masks upon entering all of our council shops.
  • Social Distancing & Limited Capacity: We are no longer limiting capacity. We ask that shoppers be considerate of others by continuing to maintain social distancing.
  • Cleaning Regularly: We will continue to provide extra cleaning to high touch areas.
  • Limited Hours: Shops are open Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. and Friday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., closing for lunch daily from 1:30 - 2:00 p.m.

If you live in the Lima area:

To ensure that Girl Scouts remains accessible to girls throughout the council, we are offering free shipping to Lima-area members from the GSWO Shops. Simply place an order online and they will ship your order to you directly. We also have sample uniforms in various sizes on display in the Lima Resource Center, if helpful.

If you have additional questions, contact the Customer Care team at 888.350.5090 or by email!

Meeting & Event Guidelines

Meeting spaces at Girl Scout Service Centers are currently open for reservations!


GENERAL MEETING & EVENT GUIDELINES

Girl Scouts of Western Ohio has established the guidelines below for troops and service units who are ready to meet in person.

Masks are required for girls and adults when attending INDOOR Girl Scout activities and camp, and outdoor Girl Scout activities where social distancing isn’t possible.

Exceptions:

  • Masks may be removed indoors when eating, drinking, swimming, or participating in vigorous exercise.
RECOMMENDED FOR ALL TROOP MEETINGS & ACTIVITIES
  • All Girl Scout members are asked to maintain good handwashing practices, thorough cleaning practices, operate in their troop cohort as much as possible, and to stay home if you feel ill or have a fever.
  • Troops should follow the No Touch Rule. No Friendship Squeeze, high-fives, handshakes, or any other physical contact.
  • No shared water coolers or shared drinking stations.
  • For food guidelines, see Food tab below.
  • Discuss troop decisions about masking and COVID safety processes, with caregivers.

These guidelines are based on the most current measures shared by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the State of Ohio as part of Responsible RestartOhio, and are subject to change if state or local conditions change. 


PERMISSION SLIPS

If your service unit or any troops in your service unit are holding in-person events, we recommend adding the following statement to all permission / registration forms.

The statement should not be edited.

I acknowledge that COVID-19 is an extremely contagious virus that spreads easily in the community. I agree to adhere to Girl Scouts of Western Ohio and state and local guidelines and mandates. I will take all reasonable precautions to limit potential exposure for myself, girls, volunteers, and families, based on Girl Scouts of Western Ohio and state guidelines. I will hold Girl Scouts of Western Ohio harmless and waive all right to legal action, if my girl or I contracts COVID through exposure at a Girl Scout event.


COVID-19 CASES

If an attendee tests positive for COVID-19 or has been exposed to COVID-19 and is showing symptoms, leaders must immediately:

  • Submit a written Incident Report to GSWO
  • Notify volunteers and the parents / caregivers of girls who may have been exposed, without divulging the positive tester's identity.

GSWO staff will:

  • Ensure contact has been made with the parents of anyone who may have been exposed, or other adult volunteers, without divulging the positive tester's identity.
  • Alert the state and/or local departments of health, as needed.

For service unit day camps or other large group activities for youth, the CDC recommends that groups organize into sub-groups of 10 or fewer persons, in addition to social distancing, to further limit potential exposure.


INDOOR MEETINGS: 

The total maximum allowable is determined by the Square Foot Capacity of Facility to ensure a minimum social distancing of six feet in all directions.

To determine social distancing capacity, multiply the usable length and width of a room and divide by 36.

For example, a room with 16 feet of usable space in one direction and 14 feet of usable space in the other direction would be:

            16 x 14 = 224
            224 ÷ 36 = 6 individuals maximum

Or a meeting room that is 30 feet by 12 feet would be:

            30 x 12 = 360
            360 ÷ 36 = 10 individuals maximum


MASKS

Reminder: Masks are required for all girls and adults at all indoor meetings.

For information about camps, please see the Program & Summer Camp Updates tab and contact your program manager for specific questions.

Meeting & Event Locations
TROOP MEETING SPACE

For meetings held at public facilities, volunteers should contact the facility ahead of time to ensure that it is regularly cleaned. Volunteers should consider supplementing cleaning with sanitizing wipes, if needed.


MEETINGS AT GIRL SCOUT PROPERTIES

Girl Scout offices and camps are available for troop meetings to support troops that may have difficulty finding a meeting space.

All meeting rooms in Girl Scouts of Western Ohio offices and all lodges at Girl Scout camps will be available in 1.5 hour blocks, Monday through Thursday at 4 p.m., 6 p.m., and 8 p.m., and Sunday afternoons after 2 p.m.

Troops are responsible for cleaning up the area after use. There will be a disinfecting cleaning spray available in the meeting rooms and troops are asked to wipe down all “high-touch” surfaces before and after use. 

There is no cost for this meeting room use. 

  • Overnight / weekend use of camp facilities can be scheduled through the Girl Scout camp registration system. Overnight / weekend use of Girl Scout office meeting rooms can be scheduled by contacting the camp registrar, Debbie Santel by email or by phone at 513.619.1397.
  • Common areas such as kitchens can be used for incidental use with your meeting room reservation. To reserve for a party or meal preparation, please contact the camp registrar.

To request a meeting room, please complete the GSWO Meeting Room Request Form. Meeting room capacities are based on CDC guidelines. Specific meeting rooms or lodges (if at camp) will be assigned based on availability.


TROOP MEETINGS IN THE HOME

Girl Scouts of Western Ohio suggests no meetings in the home out of concern that there would be greater risk of exposure to other family members. In certain exceptional situations and due to the current COVID-19 risk restricting public meeting options, we recognize that in home meetings may be the only option.

Before deciding to meet in a troop member’s home, you should discuss the implications thoroughly with families and ensure it is the best option for the troop. In addition to following all Safety Activity Checkpoints, as well as State and Local mandates, you must adhere to the following standard pre-requisites for any Girl Scout activities or meetings that take place in a private home:

  • It must be the home of registered, background-checked, council-approved volunteer.
  • Girls may not meet in a home where a registered sex offender lives.
  • Only registered Girl Scout members (girl and adult) may be present at the meeting location. 
  • Animals should be kept in a place that is separate from the meeting space.
  • You should consider any personal homeowner insurance implications. Any property damage incurred during the meeting is the responsibility of the homeowner. You may consider asking your homeowner’s insurance carrier if there are any insurance exclusions regarding holding troop meetings at the home, in the event an accident or injury occurs. 
  • Trampolines and other equipment that could cause serious injuries should not be used during Girl Scout gatherings in the home.
  • Weapons must be completely out of view and stored in a locked space. 
  • Medication, dangerous cleaning products, or any poisonous substance must be stored in a secure space out of sight, preferably locked.
  • Mask and social distancing mandates should be followed.
  • Follow GSWO hygiene and COVID-19 Risk Mitigation guidelines.

HYGIENE AND COVID-19 RISK MITIGATION

Follow the resources developed by credible public health sources such as CDC or your local public health department, that will help you and your community stay healthy.

Share these with girls and other 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.

See the CDC’s website for more on cleaning and disinfecting community facilities.

Food

When food is required at a meeting or event, we recommend serving only pre-packaged food, having girls bring their own food from home, or providing girls with pre-plated portions, served by an adult. Food should not be shared.

Food preparation and cooking should be limited to a maximum of 1-3 people. People preparing food must wear masks and gloves.

COVID Incident Report

If someone in your troop tests positive for coronavirus, they must quarantine from Girl Scout activities for 14 days following the positive test and/or 14 days from their last fever.

In addition, leaders must immediately:

  • Submit a written Incident Report to GSWO
  • Notify volunteers and the parents / caregivers of girls who may have been exposed without divulging the positive tester’s identity
Program Event Updates
 
PROGRAM EVENTS

We are committed to providing girls opportunities to learn new skills, try new things, meet new people, and earn Girl Scout awards through program events while complying with the local and state health guidelines. In addition to select small-scale, in-person events, we are preparing a variety of virtual opportunities, many of which will have guest presenters who are truly the content experts!

All council-sponsored events will be listed on the Events section of the GSWO website. We are continuing to add events, so be sure to visit the website often.


FAQS

What is the best way to see what events are happening and when?
All council-sponsored events will be on the Events section of the GSWO website.

What if health guidelines change?
We will continue to monitor CDC guidelines and the external environment and make appropriate updates, to keep girls safe while providing a great Girl Scout experience!

Troop Travel

Domestic travel is allowed when COVID guidelines are followed and precautions are adhered to.

Troop travel must be submitted using the Troop Trip and Activity Notification Form.

 

Thank you for exhibiting extraordinary Girl Scout spirit in these unprecedented times.

We are stronger together, and we know we will continue to do our best to support each other. Please stay healthy and help us make our communities safe for our girls, volunteers, and families.

For ideas on how to continue the Girl Scout Leadership Experience at home, visit gswo.org/athome.