COVID-19 Updates | Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa
side menu icon

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! 

Recent Communication Regarding COVID-19

Please note, earlier communications on this list may now be out-of-date. Please refer to the most recent communications for current information an/d recommendations.

Frequently Asked Questions:

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

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


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. These guidelines are in effect until further notice. If you have already submitted the acknowledgement 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 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.
  • 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. 

Some troops may still be developing your troop meeting plans for Fall 2020 and beyond. Troop Leaders will be hearing from your Volunteer Experience Manager about updating your troop information for the year. On your Troop Catalog Update Form, you can indicate if your troop is planning on meeting in-person, a hybrid blend of in-person and virtual, or primarily meeting in a virtual space.  

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. 
 
Looking for other ways to keep Girl Scouts strong in your community? We have yard signs to distribute across our 70 counties, inviting new girls and volunteers to get involved. To request a yard sign for your community please let us know by sending an email to info@gsiowa.org. (Please include in your message whether you'd be able to pick up from one of our Leadership Centers -- we'll coordinate a no-contact pickup time with you!)

Do you have additional questions or concerns about navigating health concerns with your troop? Please let us know by submitting the form here. All of GSGI’s COVID-19 updates can be found on that page as well.

GSGI camp properties will reopen for group rentals on September 1, with limited capacity and extended period between rentals. Booking information will be available online soon.   

Thank you so much for all of the ways you’ve already innovated with your troops this year – with virtual meetings, outdoor meetings, sharing at-home activities with your girls, and finding other ways to stay connected, in this time where connections feel more important than ever. Thank you for keeping Girl Scouting alive and well in your community.  

 

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. 
  • All resident and day camps, troop camps, and camp rentals at all GSGI properties are canceled through August 31, 2020. We will issue refunds to all individuals and groups scheduled to attend programs and events through this date.
  • GSGI offices will be closed until futher notice. Remember, 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. Our team will be happy to work with you for no-contact pickup in Council Bluffs, Des Moines, Mason City or Sioux City
    • All council staff are being instructed to work from home during regular business hours until futher notice to prioritize social distancing.
Will you be canceling any programs or camps? How much notice will you give if you cancel any programs? Will we receive full refunds?

All GSGI programming, both council-led and volunteer-led, is canceled until further notice. Our resident and day camps, troop camps, and camp rentals at all GSGI camp properties are canceled through August 31, 2020.

For specific information on our camp closures, please visit our camp page.

If you were registered for an event, you do not need to contact us for a refund. We are working through each event to process refunds, in the order that the events were to occur. (Meaning events scheduled on May 15 will get a refund faster than events scheduled on May 31.) In most cases, fees will be refunded directly back to the card or account that you used to originally pay your fees.  However; if you paid by one of the following methods, you will be receiving a check in the mail:

  1. Fees paid more than 6 months ago
  2. If you paid in a GSGI Leadership Center shop
  3. If you paid in cash or with a physical check

Checks will be mailed to the address that you entered during registration.  Refunds may take up to two weeks to process. We appreciate your patience during this time.  

What’s happening with the Cookie Program?

GSGI still wants to support our Cookie Bosses while keeping safety and health in mind during this uncertain time. The Cookie Program end date was extended to April 26 for girls who still wished to participate, and has since wrapped up. Girls who chose to continue sales by arranging for deliveries and porch pick-ups were advised to follow social distancing and hygiene practices outlined by the CDC.

  • Psst... We’re still taking donations to the Cookie Relief Fund. We've taken this step only because of this extremely unusual situation. All donations to the Cookie Relief Fund help support our council programming, including camp, STEM opportunities, and more, while providing cookies to the military, emergency, and relief workers.
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?

Thank you all for taking steps to ensure the safety of girls in this difficult time. While we cannot endorse or support specific online meeting tools for your use, 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.  

 

Questions or concerns?

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

*
*
 
*
*
*
(3200 characters left)