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COVID-19 Updates

Our most valuable resource is and always will be our people, including our volunteers, girl and family members, and our employees. GSGI is committed to actions that maintain the health and well-being of our community. As Girl Scouts, we have a responsibility to our community to help limit the spread of this illness and set an example for others. Times like this are hard, we’re navigating territory that is unprecedented. We appreciate the patience and grace you’ve shown us as we work through the resources and data to make the most informed decisions.

Questions or concerns? Let us know! 

Frequently Asked Questions:

What are Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa's current recommendations for Troops and Girls?

COVID-19 is an extremely contagious virus that spreads easily in the community and volunteers should take all reasonable precautions to limit potential exposure for girls, volunteers, and families. These guidelines are in effect until further notice . Troops are encouraged to continue participating in virtual, no-contact activities, and may choose to continue only in virtual spaces at this time. Troop Leaders can purchase a reduced rate license with Zoom ($36 per year) to help conduct virtual Girl Scout meetings here

For troops who are looking for ways to reconnect in person, we have put together a list of recommendations based on the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH). 

Due to the proclamation Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds** signed on Monday, November 16, 2020, we are adding clarification to our current guidelines as follows:

  • If troops choose to meet in person, all meeting attendees must wear a mask or face covering when in an indoor space and unable to be at least 6 feet apart for 15 minutes or more.
  • If troops choose to meet in person, these activities are limited to no more than 15 people when indoors, and 30 people when outdoors. 

Before resuming Girl Scout activities, Troop Leaders must complete this short online form acknowledging their understanding of the GSGI Guidelines for Troop Activities and intention to educate and enforce the safety protocols for all in-person troop activities. COVID-19 is an extremely contagious virus that spreads easily in the community and volunteers should take all reasonable precautions to limit potential exposure for girls, volunteers, and families.  If you have already submitted the acknowledgment form, you do not need to resubmit.


Meeting Spaces

  • Outdoor meeting spaces where social distancing can be maintained are strongly recommended.
  • Volunteers must ensure meeting spaces are clean and touch surfaces (i.e., tabletops, chairs, etc.) have been sanitized.
  • UPDATED: Any troops planning on meeting in a private residence should submit the In-Home Meeting Application, provided all of the requirements listed can be met.
  • Meetings may not be held in fitness centers or gyms, where a greater risk for contracting the virus may exist.
  • UPDATED: For any overnight trips or travel, follow the current guidance from the CDC. This includes aligning mats or bed so that individuals are sleeping head-to-toe at least 6 feet apart, monitoring and enforcing social distancing and healthy hygiene behaviors throughout the day and night, and cleaning and disinfecting bathrooms regularly.


Safety Actions

  • Participants should stay at least 6 feet away from others. Mark six-foot intervals when possible. This means that physical touching, including hugs, holding hands, or friendship circles should be avoided.
  • Teach and reinforce the use of cloth face coverings. Wearing cloth face coverings is most important when physical distancing is difficult.
  • Teach and reinforce handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol can be used.
  • Ensure adequate supplies to minimize the sharing of high touch materials to the extent possible. For example, have each girl bring her own supplies, or limit the use of supplies and equipment by one group at a time and clean and disinfect between use.


Monitoring and Preparing

  • **Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa covers portions of Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota. Please refer directly to your state and county public health departments for the most up-to-date information and guidance.
  • Communicate with families about when their girls should stay home. Anyone who is sick or had close contact with a person with COVID-19 in the last 14 days should stay home. If you are awaiting COVID-19 test results, you should not meet with anyone on behalf of Girl Scouts. 
  • In the event of a positive COVID-19 test result within your troop, please contact GSGI, and a council staff member will be responsible for contacting anyone who may have been exposed. To report a positive test result contact info@gsiowa.org  or call us at (800) 342-8389 and let us know that you would like to report a COVID-19 case so that you can be referred to the appropriate staff member. Due to the confidential nature of personal health information, do not contact families or troop members directly.
  • Every registered Girl Scout is covered by a basic accident insurance plan. The plan is designed to help pay medical expenses if an accident occurs during a supervised Girl Scout activity. Girl Scout insurance does not cover healthcare or illness. 

Keep in mind that some families may choose not to participate in in-person activities at this time. Please consider creating ways to help keep those girls involved as members of your troop. 

 

What is Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa doing in response to COVID-19?

GSGI has developed a dedicated coronavirus task force to examine prevention and potential impact. The task force will ensure that Girl Scouts are prepared for potential short-term and long-term implications, as well as partner with and provide guidance to staff and, where appropriate, girls and volunteers.

We have been listening to our members and staff and their questions and comments, and are taking the following steps:  

  • We are continuing to monitor guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) to determine current recommendations for Troops and activities. We will communicate any changes to our recommendations as necessary, and as new information is presented. 
  • GSGI has curated a robust list of at-home activities for Girl Scouts and friends. For ideas, check out our Girl Scouts at Home page! New activities are being added regularly. 
  • GSGI offices are opened for limited retail shopping hoursRemember, you can always shop online or contact us for alternate options!  You can call or email us at  info@gsiowa.org or 800-342-8389 and arrange no contact pickup if you'd like at our offices in Council Bluffs, Des Moines, Mason City or Sioux City. 
Are there programs and events we can participate in? Can we rent camp right now?

Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa Events and Programs (both in-person and online!) can be found on our events calendar.  You can also find a selection of self-guided opportunities for Girl Scouts at Home. 

Camp facility rentals are available, but building capacities are limited right now. Please visit our camp page for more information. 

What will the 2021 Cookie Program look like?

For the 2021 Girl Scout Cookie Program, we plan to continue to support our Cookie Bosses while keeping safety and health in mind during this uncertain time. We're in the planning stages right now, but rest assured, more communicaiton will be coming to Troops and girls who wish to participate.

Does Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa have an online conferencing tool that my Troop or Service Unit can use to meet virtually while public gatherings are discouraged/prohibited due to COVID-19?

Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa members can get a discounted license for Zoom. Find out more and apply for the license here.

Thank you all for taking steps to ensure the safety of girls in this difficult time. We are aware of several tools troops and Service Units are using for virtual meetings. See below for a list of free and low-cost tools that could be useful to you. We encourage troop leaders to look at these and alternative options and discuss with parents and girls to determine what the best solution is for your troop’s needs. 

Video and Audio-Conferencing Tools with free versions 

While all of these options have a free version, please note you may be prompted to consider their upgraded versions for a subscription fee.

  • Zoom - FAQ
    • Note: Meetings durations maximum of 40 minutes in free version
  • Skype - Support
    • Note: Up to 10 participants free
  • Webex – Help Center
    • Note: Limited file and content sharing in free version

Chat and Collaboration Tools with free versions

Additional low-cost tools for collaboration and conferencing to consider if the above options do not meet your group's needs.

Where can we find out more information about COVID-19?

We recommend that members regularly visit the COVID-19 updates from the Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, and your local state and county public health departments.  

View recent communication regarding Covid-19

 

Questions or concerns?

We know Girl Scouting is unique for each girl and volunteer. Feel free to reach out anytime.

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