*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.
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
- Field trips will still need a separate permission
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
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
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
- 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
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.