All event participants must have a completed COVID Pre-Screen form before the event takes place.
For a printable version of In Person Meeting Guidelines, click HERE.
Many of us are anxious to get back to a more normal routine in Girl Scouts and the rest of our lives, and so we are considering face-to-face Girl Scout meetings and activities. When deciding whether to host an in-person meeting, consider the make-up and size of your troop or group, including attendees, their families, and their current comfort level with in-person activities. Our top priority is always keeping everyone safe throughout the Girl Scout experience. In-person activities or plans should take into consideration all families and members of the troop or group.
Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia (GSHG) encourages individuals who may be more susceptible or at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19 (including individuals age 65 and older or those with serious underlying health conditions) to carefully consider and weigh all risks when deciding whether participating through in-person meetings is appropriate at this time. Each family and volunteer must determine for themselves the risks of attending in-person troop or group meetings and decide when the time is right to participate.
Virtual troop meetings and service area meetings are still strongly encouraged, and when in-person meetings are held, a virtual option should also be made available if possible. 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. Safety Activity Checkpoints for virtual meetings and the Girl Scout Internet Safety Pledge should be followed to ensure the continued safety and well-being of girls and volunteers while meeting virtually. Virtual meeting information can be found on gsLearn and GSHG staff members are available to assist with virtual meetings when needed.
Use these guidelines and reminders to help decide how and when to return to in-person troop and group activities.
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.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to change as infection rates rise and fall in different areas. There may be regional differences or developments since this guidance was published. Continue to follow local and national directives. Discuss plans with families.
No set of guidelines can cover every troop or group meeting situation. If you have a question about your meeting environment that is not covered in this document, please reach out to your Membership Support Manager for guidance.
- Provide these guidelines to all participants, volunteers, and the caregivers/guardians of all girl participants before the in-person meeting takes place.
- Before attending, all volunteers must read these two (2) sets of guidelines on appropriate cleaning and disinfection and hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette.
- Adults are responsible for monitoring social distancing.
- No physical contact between non-related members is
- Troops may meet provided social distancing guidelines of maintaining at least 6 feet of distance between non-related members is followed.
- The current
suggested maximum for in-person meetings is ten (10) people (eight
(8) girls and two (2) 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
- Larger troops may break into
smaller groups, such as grade-level groups, patrols, or groups of
girls with a particular badge they’d like to work on. Each group
can meet at the same time. Girl/adult ratios must be followed in
each individual group. Girls in each group must remain static
(girls do not move 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 must stay 30 feet away from
each other. Girl/adult ratio must meet the minimum standard
for program grade level.
- Hugs, handshakes,
“high-fives,” and even 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 instead (like tapping elbows).
Note: Use culturally appropriate messages, materials, and
Personal Safety, Health and Hygiene Practices
- Face Coverings. Everyone must wear a mask or face covering. Volunteers should remind girls that Girl Scouts wear face coverings (masks) not only to protect themselves but to protect others. Face coverings are a civic responsibility and a sign of caring for the community. Girls can bring their own face coverings. Have disposable masks on hand for those who need them. Volunteers can teach girls how to handle their face coverings so that the coverings are effective.
- All participants must wash or sanitize their
hands upon entering the meeting site, often during the meeting and
just before leaving.
- Meetings should include training of participants on appropriate cleaning and disinfection, hand hygiene, and respiratory etiquette.
- Parents should ensure their child does not have a temperature or feel ill prior to coming to a troop meeting. Anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19, has symptoms of COVID-19, or who has been in contact with someone who has COVID-19 within the past 14 days should not attend troop meetings. You can find up-to-date CDC guidance on returning to troop meetings after testing positive for COVID-19 here. Find guidance on isolation and self-quarantine after exposure to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 here.
- At this time, we highly recommend in-person meetings take place outdoors.
- GSUSA strongly encourages no meetings in the home at this time because of the greater risk of exposure to other family members.
- For meetings held in public areas, volunteers must ensure the space is clean and that high touch surfaces (tables, chairs) have been sanitized.
- Consider keeping meetings short to limit the number of bathroom trips. Many public bathrooms, such as in parks, are not currently open.
- Ensure there is at least 30 feet of distance between your troop/group and any other group that may be meeting in the area.
- If meeting in the same space as another troop/group, the groups must remain static; no mixing of the people from the two troops/groups.
- Girl Scout meetings may not be held in gyms or fitness centers.
- If your group is meeting outside, there is no limit to the number of smaller groups (10 people or less) that may meet at one time, providing there is at least 30 feet of distance between each small group.
- If your group is meeting inside, it is strongly recommended each small group (10 people or less) has its own room. If more than one small group meets in a large room, 30 feet of distance between each group must be maintained. In no event should there be more than 50 people in one room.
Mask Outdoors and for Water Activities
- When outside in groups, masks should be worn. They may be removed for a "mask break" when participants are at least 6 feet apart.
- Masks should NOT be worn when participating in water activities such as swimming, canoeing, paddle boarding, and other activities where falling into the water may happen (life jackets should continue to be worn per Safety Activity Checkpoints for activity). For these water-based activities, practice social distancing while engaging in the activity; maintain 6 or more feet of distance between people who are not in the same family group.
- Masks can be highly flammable, and therefore should not be worn when doing activities with or around fires and open flames. Social distancing should still be maintained around fires and flames. Girls younger than 4th grade (Juniors) should not participate in fire activities at this time unless they are with a parent or guardian who can safely, closely monitor them. All girls doing fire activities should be trained in fire safety precautions.
Meeting Space Safety and Cleanliness
- Follow the resources developed by credible public health sources such as CDC or your local health department. Share these with girls and 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.
- Handwashing supplies and/or hand sanitizer must be available and easily accessible. Cleaning and disinfecting supplies should be brought to each meeting.
- Identify high touch areas of your meeting location such as door handles, toilet handles, faucets, tables, etc. Wipe down these surfaces prior to first use and after each person touches it.
- Minimize the use of shared materials such as markers, crayons, scissors, etc. by having each girl bring her own box of identified items. This box can be brought to and from each meeting by the individual girl. If stored in one location, boxes should be wiped with a sanitizing wipe before being stored.
- If there are shared items, sanitize after each individual uses the item.
- Troop First Aid supplies should include COVID-19 prevention items including hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol), tissues, disposable facemasks, and disinfectants. Trash baskets or bags should be supplied for meeting and activity spaces, if not already available. Make sure that the trash baskets (or bags) are easily accessible for girls. Disposable or no-contact thermometers may be added to supplies if available and not cost prohibitive, however, parents should be checking temperatures and allowing their girl(s) to join group activities only when temperatures are normal. Keep First Aid/CPR skills up to date for any emergency.
- For more information on readiness, see CDC Planning Tool for Events and Gatherings.
- When transporting girls for a meeting or outing, the driver and all passengers in each vehicle are limited to a single family/household.
- Troop Volunteers should meet the girls at a
designated drop off location where parents can drive up and
drop-off/pick-up their Girl Scout. This prevents group gatherings
before or after meetings.
- Parents dropping off girls should have face masks available in case they need to interact closely with a Troop Volunteer.
Food, Snacks, and Drinks
- Each participant should bring her/his own filled water bottle. Large water coolers may be used for refilling individual water bottles at meetings and events. Practice safe surface touching protocol: consider having one person in charge of refilling water bottles from the cooler who is wearing gloves and a mask. If individuals are allowed to refill their own water bottles, masks are required when filling, handwashing and/or hand sanitizing or gloves are required before filling, and hand washing and/or sanitizing supplies should be nearby. Water fountains remain off limits at this time.
- If serving snacks, they should be prepackaged
individual snacks, or have each participant bring her/his own
snack. Homemade foods and treats for sharing are not permitted at
this time. Do not share dishes or utensils.
Day Trips and Activities
- Follow the same guidance as those listed here for Meeting Space Safety and Cleanliness.
- Call ahead to the facility or
vendor to confirm they are following CDC and state health department
Overnight Trip and Travel
Troops (arranged in family groups), families and adult groups may spend the night at council properties and other Girl Scout approved troop trip locations if it is possible to do so in a safe, socially distanced way, outlined in the bullet points below. All usual troop readiness and preparation steps should be taken before any overnight trip is taken. As always, submit a Troop Trip Application before planning any overnight stays and follow guidance in Safety Activity Checkpoints. You can find complete Troop Trip Guidelines HERE.
- Sleeping locations are divided by family group. This means each family group or individual adult has their own tent, cabin, room, or section of a larger room that is at least 30 feet from others. These guidelines mean each girl is accompanied by an adult from her own family group.
- All other COVID guidelines
should continue to be followed regarding mask wearing, handwashing,
travel arrangements, and social distancing while meeting as a
- If there are family adults attending with
your troop/group who are not Girl Scout members, remember that you
will need to purchase supplemental insurance or ask them to become
members, so they will be covered by Girl Scout Activity and Accident
insurance during the event. The link to purchase the inexpensive
supplemental insurance is HERE. Also, remember that any
adult who is not a GSHG approved volunteer (whether they are a
member or not) may not be left alone with any child that is not his
or her own family member.
If You or Someone in Your Girl Scout Troop or Group Tests Positive for COVID-19:
In the event of a COVID-19 positive test result, do NOT contact the parents or troop members. Promptly complete an incident report (ASAP but no longer that 24 hours following the notification) and submit to Mary Hurst, Senior Director of Membership at email@example.com. Include the name of the person with the positive test result, any other people present in the meeting with that person, the date of the meeting, the name and address of the meeting site, and the site contact person and their phone number. A council staff member and NOT volunteers, will then 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 the troop has met, and
- Alerting the state department of health
Council staff, NOT volunteers, will notify parents and others about a positive test result. 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. Questions should be directed to Mary Hurst firstname.lastname@example.org or 478-973-7651.
These guidelines will be adjusted and updated as additional
recommendations and protocols are released. Our council leadership
team continues to evaluate the current state of COVID-19 in each
council region. We currently anticipate that these guidelines will
remain in place until further notice. We will evaluate the impacts of
students returning to school before updating in-person meeting