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COVID-19

Nov. 19, 2020 Updates:

  • Camp Facility Rentals
  • Council Offices & Service Centers
  • In-Person Events/Programs.
  • Girl Scout Shop. 
  • Troop Meetings & Activities. 

As COVID-19 continues to be of growing concern, Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland is regularly monitoring updates from the Centers for Disease Controllocal state departments of health, and other partners. 

Our offices are currently closed to the public along with our retail shops, as of Nov. 20, 2020. Please contact staff via phone or email to make an appointment as needed or arrange curbside pick-up. 

Specific communications are outlined and continued to be updated below. Our customer care team is available for questions Monday - Friday 8:30 am- 4:30 pm via phone (614-487-8101) or email (customercare@gsoh.org). 

Camp Facility Rentals
  • As of Nov. 19, 2020, we are cancelling reservations until Dec. 31, 2020. Our facilities and camps will be closed for rentals. Any exisiting reservations will be notified directly. 
  • If you have questions, please reach out to reservations@gsoh.org for specific guidance.
  • If your troop earned a free night at camp reward from our renewal incentives, we will extend the deadline by one year.
Council Offices & Service Centers
  • All of our offices will be closed to the general public beginning Friday, Nov. 20, 2020 through Jan. 3, 2021. Curbside assistance will be available by appointment for pick up and drop off of items, along with retail orders (click here to place your retail order for curbside pick-up). You will be contacted to confirm your order, payment and instructions to pick up your order.
  • Our staff is available via virtual means and by appointment to support our members and families. If you have questions or need assistance, please contact the Customer Care Team at customercare@gsoh.org or 614-487-8101.  
Girl Scout Shop

Currently, we are available for curbside pick-up only.

Click Here to View Shop Hours

Click here to place your order for curbside pick-up. You will be contacted to confirm your order, payment and to pick-up your order.

In-Person Events/Programs

All existing in-person programs, no matter the county, will be moved to a virtual setting or cancelled through Dec. 31, 2020. Current registrants will be notified of changes and event listings will also be updated as applicable. We are recommending that all service unit events currently scheduled as in-person gatherings be moved to a virtual platform. 

In-person events will only be scheduled when we are able to follow all state and CDC safety guidelines. We are monitoring weekly status updates from the Ohio Department of Health and will adjust all events accordingly. For reference, please refer to the chart below. Please note, these guidelines may be adjusted as current federal, state and local guidance changes. 

 

Refunds

If you paid via….

  • Personal payments via credit card – refunds will take 1-3 weeks to process.
  • Personal payment via check – refund will be processed in 4-6 weeks.
  • Troop, this will be refunded via ACH to the troop account within 1-3 weeks.
  • Reward card, your funds will take 1-3 weeks to be returned.
Resident Camp

This year’s resident camp sessions and Adventure Treks programming at Molly Lauman are canceled.

We will be offering the following options to any current registrants:

  • Transfer of your registration funds to a rewards card for use on a summer 2021 Resident Camp session, with registration available a week early.
  • Full refund of deposit and payment to date. This includes any paid bus fees.
  • Funds can be reallocated as a donation to Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland.

If you have not indicated a decision prior to May 31, we will be in touch to process your refund. For additional questions, please reach out to customercare@gsoh.org. 

We will continue to evaluate the situation and will provide an additional update on June 1, however, these plans are subject to change at any time based of additional local, state and national guidance.

Troop Meetings & Activities

*UPDATED Nov. 19, 2020* Troops need to follow current local guidance from their county and the Ohio Department of Health regarding group gatherings. Currently, we are strongly encouraging that troops meet virtually for the remainder of 2020 and cancel any in-person events or trips.

Troop Waiver for Membership Year 2020 - 2021: This waiver should be signed by current troop volunteers and girls. Troop leaders should store with their troop health forms for the year. 

  • ALL troop volunteers and parents who participate in meetings/troop events must sign this for themselves.
  • ALL troop members must be submit a waiver, either with their parent/volunteer or by themselves. (unless they do not plan to meet in person at all) 
  • This only covers troop activities (meetings, outings, etc.) and not council or service unit sponsored events.
  • Field trips will still need a separate permission slip.

The following troop meeting guidelines are based on measures shared by the State of Ohio as part of Responsible Restart Ohio and are subject to change if state or local conditions change. In addition to the protocols below, 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. Caregivers who are not ready to meet 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. Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland will not penalize any girls or volunteers who are unwilling or unable to meet in person.   

Use these questions and reminders to help decide how and when to return to troop activities.

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:

  • Is the space cleaned, and touch surfaces (i.e., tabletops, light switches, chairs, etc.) sanitized, at least daily?
  • Who else uses the space (how often, what size is the group)? Is the space cleaned between groups?
  • 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 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.

  • Outdoor spaces where social distancing can be maintained are strongly recommended for meetings when weather permits.
  • Girls should limit items brought from home and no personal items should be shared.

Meetings may not be held in fitness centers or gyms, where a greater risk for contracting the virus may exist. Schools or churches may not permit outside groups on premises, so always check and confirm ahead of time.

Troop Meetings in the home. GSUSA strongly suggests no meetings in the home out of concern that there would be greater risk of exposure to other family members. The recommendation is to stay away from in-home meetings for the time being.

Troop Meeting Size. The current suggested maximum is 10 people (eight girls and two unrelated adult volunteers). However, check your local restrictions for small gatherings. If more restrictive, follow the local restriction. Restrictions vary greatly from state to state, county to county, and even from town to town – and frequently change. If a state allows more than 10 to gather, utilize all social distancing practices and follow all preventative guidance.

  • Six-foot social distance between individuals must be adhered to.
  • If anyone is exhibiting symptoms prior to the meeting, they should not attend.
  • Attendees must wash their hands when arriving and before leaving. If a handwashing station is not available, hand sanitizer is required.
  • 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.
  • Serve only prepackaged food.
  • Immediately isolate and seek medical care for any individual who develops symptoms while at the meeting/activity.

If you have a troop larger than 10, stay connected while you wait for a safe time for everyone to gather. Large troops are wonderful, so stay together! Some ideas:

  • Host virtual troop meetings (see below).
  • Gather up in smaller groups — such as age-level groups, patrols, or groups of girls with a particular badge they’d like to work on.
  • Groups can rotate stations with adults present, while sanitizing between groups and limiting shared surfaces – tools, surfaces and supplies, etc.

If an attendee tests positive or exhibits symptoms of COVID-19 after the meeting, the troop leader should notify council. GSOH will take care of notifying all attendees of the event without divulging the identity of the affected person.

Transportation. Individual parents drop off and pick up their own girls from meetings. Carpooling and public transportation should be avoided, where possible, to maintain social distancing.

Virtual meetings. Meeting options may need to be flexible based on the fluid nature of COVID-19 risk. Troops that are able to run online meetings as needed (or wanted) should do so. GSUSA recommends maintaining a virtual to in-person ratio of at least 20/80, which means to maintain virtual troop meetings at least 20% of the time to keep tech skills and virtual meeting habits fresh. Use the Safety Activity Checkpoints for Virtual Meetings, to guide your meeting plans: Virtual Troop Meetings.

Troop Travel

Day trips and activities. In conjunction with Safety Activity Checkpoints, follow the same guidance as Troop Meetings and 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:

  • As of July 15, Level 3 troop travel is permitted. During any trips, we encourage troops to be cautious in planning and observe social distancing protocols. Prior to departure, troops should research any local mandates and requirements at their destination.
  • Level 4 and 5 travel is not permitted until further notice. We will communicate to all members when that changes.
  • For all approved trips, there will be an additional COVID-19 waiver that will be required for girls and volunteers prior to travel.

If you are an Ambassador troop who will be graduating (in full or in part) in 2020 and have trips and activities you have to cancel due to stay at home orders or travel restrictions, we are allowing you to extend your plans for a full membership year (Oct. 1, 2020 through Sept. 30, 2021) by meeting the following criteria:

  • All participating graduates must be registered as adults for the 2020-21 membership year by Oct. 1, 2020. Note: registration may be paid using troop funds.
  • This Ambassador Plan Delay Notification Form must be submitted no later than Oct. 1, 2020 (even if you don't have all of the details of the rescheduled trip).
  • All Girl Scout activities and trips must comply with current CDC, federal, state and local health guidelines.
  • Troop funds should continue to be managed through the existing troop bank account.
  • Troop Finance Reports should be submitted as usual before June 30, 2020.
  • Upon completion of the approved travel/experience, the troop must fill out the troop disbandment form as required. 
  • If your troop has continuing girl members, the troop and bank account will continue as usual. Graduating girls will participate as adult members. 
  • No requests for extensions will be accepted after Oct. 1, 2020.

Complete this form to the best of your ability, even if you do not yet have exact dates for the rescheduled trip or event.

Volunteers

Finance reports deadline will be extended through June 1, 2020. More information to follow from your membership manager. 

All of these changes do not mean that Girl Scouting stops. We encourage you to use webinars, teleconferences and other technologies to engage girls and adults. We also look to support you through virtual opportunities. Girl Scouts of the USA has also produced a terrific resource, How to Talk with your Kids About Coronavirus,  to help us support our girls during this time

The health and safety of our entire Girl Scout family is so important to us. We will continue to update you regarding critical information and further impacts to Girl Scout programming and operations. Thank you for your patience and steadfast support as we navigate this unprecedented and quickly evolving situation. We appreciate your commitment to Girl Scouts and we remain committed to you!

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