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Safety

The Girl Scout motto is Be Prepared. We want our girls, volunteers and families to feel as safe and prepared as possible all the time, but especially to meet the ever-changing landscape of our 2020-2021 membership year.

In-Person Activities during COVID-19

GSNETX troops and service units are encouraged to hold in-person activities as members feel comfortable and in a safe way, following all GSNETX In-Person Activity Guidelines below. For ideas on how to plan fun and engaging In-Person Activities during the pandemic, check out this resource.

These guidelines were created following state health recommendationsCDC information, Girl Scouts of the USA guidance, and in alignment with our insurance provider. In addition to these guidelines, volunteers are also responsible for following any city, county, or regional ordinances.

Safety protocols change rapidly. Keeping the best interest of our members in mind, GSNETX continues to monitor guidance on an ongoing basis and will make additional changes as appropriate. 

March 11, 2021 Updates

In alignment with CDC recommendations and the Texas Education Agency, Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas will continue our current health and safety protocols regarding the wearing of masks by girls, volunteers, family members, and staff members during any Girl Scout in-person activities.

We have reviewed all of our current protocols and after careful consideration have made some adjustments, including to those around group size, food safety, and transportation, as well as the GSNETX COVID-19 Pre-Screening Form (Word)(PDF).

 Click here for a summary of the latest updates and FAQs.

GSNETX Service Centers, Shops, & Facilities

GSNETX facilities are currently open on a limited basis. Masks or face coverings are required in common areas of all GSNETX facilities and camps.

GSNETX shops are open to customers and masks are required. If someone enters without a mask, they will be asked to put on a provided disposable mask or place their order for curbside pick-up by emailing the specific shop location. Curbside pick-up is available for all customers- for details, email shop@gsnetx.org.

Some service centers meeting rooms are now available for booking by groups of 10 or less through an online booking system.

The majority of GSNETX staff members continue to work remotely at this time. 

 

In-Person Activity Size & Location

In-person activities may be hosted for groups of up to 30 people*, including girls, parents, volunteers, and potential members. It is strongly encouraged to hold meetings outdoors whenever possible. Volunteers must submit a  GSNETX Activity Approval Request Form  and receive approval before planning an in-person event where more than 10 total people will be in attendance.

*Note: While 30 is the maximum number allowed in a group, many GSNETX program and camp opportunities may still have smaller group sizes to allow for program quality, physical distancing, facility capacity, and staffing.

Larger troops, service units, or groups may meet so long as they divide into teams of 30 individuals or fewer and ensure the teams stay separated at all times during the meeting. Consider having designated separate parking areas or staggered arrival times to ensure teams do not mix together. Each team should still have the proper number of Safety-Wise adults for supervision. 

If you live in an area where a local ordinance allows for a larger group size outdoors within that jurisdiction, you may follow those guidelines. Confirm the number of people that are permitted, plan for proper girl-to-adult ratios, and follow applicable CDC guidelines. You must also submit a GSNETX Activity Approval Request Form and receive approval before planning.

In addition to or if stricter than these guidelines, participants should follow any specific rules of the in-person meeting or event location. This includes any GSNETX properties, offices, or camps, as well as those belonging to third parties.

If someone elects to host a meeting at their personal home, they should submit a GSNETX Activity Approval Request Form and receive approval before planning. This form only needs to be submitted one time for all the in-home meetings throughout the year.

"Drive-in" and "drive-thru" events are permitted. These events do not require approval unless they are the type of activity that requires an activity approval anyhow, such as a money-earning activity.

 

Pre-Screening, Permission, & Paperwork

When deciding whether to host an in-person activity, please consider the make-up and size of your troop or SU, including possible attendees, their families, any recent travel, and their current comfort level with in-person activities. We want to do our best to make sure all Girl Scouts feel included and safe through their Girl Scout experience and should not proceed with in-person activities that are not inclusive of all members of the troop or group.

Volunteers must submit a GSNETX Activity Approval Request Form and receive approval before planning any gatherings where 100 people will be in one location, even if they will be broken into smaller teams.

If a girl, parent/caregiver, or volunteer is showing any new or worsening signs or symptoms of possible COVID-19, has been in close contact with someone confirmed to have COVID-19, is awaiting COVID-19 test results, or has tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 14 days, they are not permitted to attend in-person activities.

Each parent/caregiver/volunteer should complete the GSNETX COVID-19 Pre-Screening Form (Word)(PDF) before each in-person activity or upon arrival. These responses should be kept for 30 days after the activity, along with a roster of everyone who attended. Volunteers may collect the pre-screening form information through email or an online survey using the same language on the form. Potential attendees who answer yes to any of the questions should not attend the in-person Girl Scout activity. Temperature checks are permitted but not required as part of pre-screening.

Safety information and any additional activity protocols should be provided to all participants before the in-person activity takes place. Additionally, proper permission forms should be collected, including:

  • Troops should have a GSNETX Annual Permission Form for each member for general troop activities.
  • Troops can use the customizable Troop Activity Permission Form for things that may be considered high adventure, sensitive in nature, or that the troop leader would like to get specific permission for.
  • For overnight activities, all participants or parents/caregivers must submit the GSNETX Event/Meeting/Overnight Waiver form before attending . A copy of this form will be send to the troop leader email address provided on the form.

GSNETX 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 in deciding whether participating through in-person activities at this time is appropriate.

It is recommended that participants be currently registered Girl Scout members or those in the process of joining Girl Scouts. 

Physical Distancing, Masks, & General Health Protocols

During the activity, participants should maintain physical distancing of 6 feet between members of different households.

All individuals should properly wear a mask or face covering covering their nose and mouth when with individuals from outside their household. This applies to indoor and outdoor activities.

Other measures such as hand hygiene, cleanliness, sanitizing, and reduction of shared supplies should also be practiced.

Food Safety

Before preparing food or eating, have all girls and adults wash or sanitize their hands.

Participants should still maintain physical distancing of 6 feet between members of different households while eating.

Encourage girls to bring their own food to eat from home. Food from home cannot be shared between participants.

Individually wrapped items are recommended. If providing ingredients or bulk food, it should be pre-packaged individually ahead of time in a sanitized environment by one adult wearing a mask and food preparation gloves.

If serving food family style, have one adult wearing a mask and food preparation gloves serve everyone on to clean plates. Use disposable plates, forks, napkins, etc. when possible. Do not serve food buffet style, meaning participants serve themselves from a common source using shared utensils.

Transportation

Members may carpool with other members outside of their family following these guidelines:

  • The personal situation of each girl should be factored into any decisions about carpooling- if a girl lives with a high-risk individual, carpooling may not be appropriate. Each parent/caregiver is responsible for making the best decision for their child in each situation.
  • All girls and adults should wear masks when inside of the vehicle.
  • Keep car windows open, at least partially, to circulate fresh air.
  • If carpooling, each parent/caregiver/volunteer should complete the GSNETX COVID-19 Pre-Screening Form (Word)(PDF) before traveling with other Girl Scout members outside their family to the in-person Girl Scout activity. 

Public transportation to Girl Scout activities is not encouraged. If members choose to use public transportation, that information should be included in any permission slips and a GSNETX Activity Approval Request Form should be completed for the activity. 

 

Travel & Overnights

GSNETX members may now travel by motor vehicle throughout the state of Texas and the surrounding states, following the same in-person activity size and location guidance above.  

Overnight trips are limited to 2 consecutive nights and volunteers must submit a GSNETX Activity Approval Request Form and receive approval before planning any overnight activities.

Safety information and any additional activity protocols should be provided to all participants before the trip takes place. Additionally, proper permission forms should be collected, including:

  • All participants or parents/caregivers must submit the GSNETX Event/Meeting/Overnight Waiver form before attending A copy of this form will be send to the troop leader email address provided on the form.

  • Each parent/caregiver/volunteer should complete the GSNETX COVID-19 Pre-Screening Form (Word)(PDF) just before the trip. These responses should be kept for 30 days after the activity, along with a roster of everyone who attended. Volunteers may collect the pre-screening form information through email or an online survey using the same language on the form. Potential attendees who answer yes to any of the questions should not attend the in-person Girl Scout trip. Temperature checks are permitted but not required as part of pre-screening. 

  • Troops can use the customizable Troop Activity Permission Form for things that may be considered high adventure, sensitive in nature, or that the troop leader would like to get specific permission for.

During overnight activities, masks or face coverings are not required when engaged in eating, drinking, bathing, etc. but the timing of these activities should be staggered to allow for physical distancing.  Additionally, face coverings are not required while member are physically in their bunks, beds, sleeping bags, etc. or while sleeping. However, physical distancing guidelines should be followed within the sleeping area with members divided evenly throughout the structure rather than all in one area.

Air travel and international travel are not permitted at this time.
 

Camping

GSNETX members may now camp in both family and troop camp settings following the same in-person activity size and location guidance above. 

At least one volunteer must have the appropriate GSNETX camp certification training. For camping at GSNETX properties, that means TR301: GSNETX Camping. For camping at non-GSNETX properties, that means TR302: On the Road Camping. TR303: Camp Recertification is now available in gsLearn. Due to COVID-19, any camp certifications that expired in 2020 will be extended through the same date in 2021.

During overnight activities, face coverings are not required when engaged in eating, drinking, bathing, etc. but the timing of these activities should be staggered to allow for physical distancing.  Additionally, face coverings are not required while member are physically in their bunks, beds, sleeping bags, etc. or while sleeping. However, physical distancing guidelines should be followed within the sleeping area with members divided evenly throughout the structure rather than all in one area.

GSNETX camp properties will have certain limits on cabin sizes, groups, etc. based on the specific layout and safety needs of each facility. Additionally, camp staff will be following camp-specific protocols such as daily screenings including temperature checks while members are on property. Registration will be available in UltraCamp beginning 10/15/2020 at midnight.

Non-GSNETX Facilities

Volunteers planning camping activities at non-GSNETX facilities must submit the 2020-2021 GSNETX Activity Approval Request Form and receive approval before planning. Overnight trips are limited to 2 consecutive nights.

Safety information and any additional activity protocols should be provided to all participants before the camping trip takes place. Additionally, proper permission forms should be collected, including:

  • All participants or parents/caregivers must submit the GSNETX Event/Meeting/Overnight Waiver form. A copy of this form will be send to the troop leader email address provided on the form.

  • Each parent/caregiver/volunteer should complete the GSNETX COVID-19 Pre-Screening Form (Word)(PDF) just before the camping trip. These responses should be kept for 30 days after the activity, along with a roster of everyone who attended. Volunteers may collect the pre-screening form information through email or an online survey using the same language on the form. Potential attendees who answer yes to any of the questions should not attend the in-person Girl Scout camping trip. Temperature checks are permitted but not required as part of pre-screening.

  • Troops can use the customizable Troop Activity Permission Form for things that may be considered high adventure, sensitive in nature, or that the troop leader would like to get specific permission for.
Activity Approvals

Due to ongoing changes in national, statewide, and local protocols, GSNETX Activity Approval Request Forms will be subject to the current guidelines we have in place for group sizes, locations, and activities permitted at the time of submission. If those guidelines change after approval is given to where more is permitted, volunteers may resubmit for approval provided those updates. If they change to where approved events are not able to take place, GSNETX will contact the submitting volunteer as soon as possible. 

To allow time for review, please submit approval forms at least 4 weeks in advance and allow 5 business days for processing. After completing the request, you will either receive an automatic approval via email or will be notified that your request needs further review before approval can be given.

Volunteers must submit a GSNETX Activity Approval Request Form and receive approval before planning the following activities:

  • Any gatherings where more than 10 total people will be in attendance
  • Meetings taking place at a personal home
  • Overnight activities
  • Activities during which public transportation will be used
  • Any other activities as outlined on p. 6 of the GSNETX Safety Activity Checkpoints
COVID-19 Positive Test Results

In the event that someone who has attended a GSNETX in-person activity within the past 14 days receives a COVID-19 positive test result, promptly contact Kristin Neel, VP of Membership Strategy & Volunteer Learning, at kneel@gsnetx.org or at 972-349-2457. 

  • Provide all details known, including a full list of all attendees who participated in the Girl Scout activity to the best of your knowledge.

  • Remember that girl and volunteer health information is private and should be only shared on a need to know basis with a GSNETX staff member.

  • Please do not share this information with other volunteers, parents, or troop members. If other volunteers have already been informed, let them know that council staff will notify parents and others about a positive test result and that the tester’s identity is confidential.

  • Only staff members are allowed to notify attendees about a positive test. Volunteers are not permitted to make these notifications.

Following notification, a GSNETX staff member will:

  • Confirm the positive test with the individual or parent of the girl.

  • Notify via email and phone call any volunteers or parents of any girls who had direct contact with individual who tested positive. The staff member will provide as much information as possible while maintaining privacy. We recommend following CDC guidelines, including staying home and self-quarantining while watching for COVID-19 related symptoms, seeking testing, and getting medical care if necessary. In-person troop or SU activities will also be suspended for 14 days, as appropriate.

  • Notify the facility where the in-person meeting was held, if applicable.

  • Once all families have been contacted by phone and email, all staff members involved or those who support that SU or troop and the SU manager will be notified that a positive test has occurred in an area they manage and that all members impacted have been contacted.




Virtual Meetings & Activities:

Meeting online doesn’t have to feel like school or work. GSNETX encourages troops and service units to use virtual meeting platforms to engage members in regular meetings and to share information about GSNETX-led virtual programming opportunities.

Troops can refer to The Virtual Meetings Playbook for insight on having fun, engaging, and safe meetings in a virtual setting.

Prior council approval is not required for virtual meetings but the guidance in the  Virtual Troop Meetings Safety Activity Checkpoint and GSNETX Internet Safety Pledge should be followed. 

Safety-Wise ratios still need to be met in a virtual setting and troop leaders should still have a GSNETX Annual Permission Form for each member.

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