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COVID-19: Council Response Updates

Our response to COVID-19 and these unprecedented times is never static. Our Council has been reopening in phases with appropriate guidelines and safety protocols at each phase. We evaluate and adapt our reopening plan based on current information. We review our thinking on protocols and guidelines in the context of the data and information from the CDC and local health officials. We update this page with new information as decisions are made. 

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As of Sept. 27, the Council retired our phases of reopening and updated our COVID-19 safety guidance. Volunteers and members should use the guidance to determine and employ multiple layers of protection for each activity/gathering/event as appropriate. 
 
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Protocols and guidelines are in this printable guide (English/Spanish) and key impacts and references are summarized on this page. 

GSACPC Operations Update

Council facilities (all office and camp locations) are partially open to support business needs, and we limit/schedule public visits. Masks are required at all Council properties.

Many Council Staff are working remotely and available by phone and email during regular working hours.

If you need to meet with a staff member or visit a Council Office, contact the appropriate staff member or reghelp@girlscoutsaz.org to make arrangements. 

There is daily employee activity at each of our offices/property locations. All others require approval.

  • Administrative office schedules (may vary, and for safety purposes, always call ahead/pre-arrange visits)
    • 119 – Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 3 p.m.
    • 101 – Scheduling required.
    • Parsons Leadership Center – Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
  • Camp properties are open for Council programs and pre-approved group activities with appropriate protocols in effect. Property reservations are available. 
    • Like many other organizations, we are establishing occupancy limits for our properties based on specific buildings and sites. We are almost complete with this and will be updating our Resnexus reservation system so the available capacities for all spaces are reflected when booking reservations.
    • Members can email encampments@girlscoutsaz.org with any questions or for help with reservations.
  • The Council Shop opened with a new schedule Sept. 1. 
    • Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.; 2nd and 4th Saturday of each month: 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.; CLOSED Tuesdays and Thursdays
    • No appointments are needed. Masks are required for in-store shopping. Curbside pick-up is still available. 
    • Members can email or call the shop for more details at 602.452.7137. 
GSACPC Reopening Plan: Safety Protocols & Guidelines

As we continue to emerge from shutdown, find ways to resume important social emotional and life-enriching activities and “live” amid this pandemic, we must continue to utilize the safety best practices and recommendations that minimize the risk to ourselves, those we are responsible for, and those connected to us who are especially vulnerable. 

  • Aligned with CDC guidelines and recommendations, GSACPC strongly encourages persons aged 12 and older become fully COVID-19 vaccinated in addition to the other interventions outlined in our safety guides. We are hopeful the vaccine will become an option for our youngest (ages 5-11) Girl Scouts soon.
  • All recommended guidelines help mitigate risk; there are no guarantees risk of infection will be eliminated.
  • All organizations/entities where our members choose to engage may have their own COVID-19 guidelines and policies. To help navigate this, we are requesting that all Council Program Partners provide a link to their guidelines within their program descriptions that are published on our Council’s Activity Calendar so our members will know what safety protocols to expect prior to registering for the program. 
  • We trust each family to choose the level of participation at which they are comfortable.
Safety Practices Overview: In-Person Girl Scout Activities
  • Complete self-screenings before activities. 
  • Group sizes should be determined in relation to the space/location to allow for distancing, ventilation, and other measures outlined here.
  • Outdoor space is the best. If indoors, ensure appropriate space and ventilation/airflow (e.g., windows and doors open) relative to the group size. 
  • Family consent is required for participation.
  • Wear appropriate masks/face coverings.
  • Physical distancing in effect.
  • Sanitize/clean spaces/equipment before, during, and after.

Implement relevant and appropriate layered prevention strategies – more than one safety protocol in effect at all times.

In addition to vaccination, when possible, multiple safety measures are recommended across all activities. 

The Swiss Cheese Respiratory Virus Defense

Recognize that no single intervention is perfect at preventing spread. Each intervention has it’s limitations. Multiple layers mitigate risk.

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Face Coverings (Masks)

Girl Scouts are encouraged to wear face coverings/masks to protect themselves and others, and to minimize the spread of the virus, which lowers the chance of new variants. Face coverings are required at when indoors on Council properties. 

Please continue to have conversations with others, strive to be inclusive, and make choices when activities are in spaces where others are not wearing masks.

Reference CDC’s guidance on properly selecting, wearing, and caring for face coverings/masks. Not all masks or face coverings are created equal:

  • Choose masks with two or more layers of washable, breathable fabric; completely cover your nose and mouth; fit snugly; have a nose wire. 
  • Gaiters should only be worn in two layers, or fold one to make two layers.
  • The CDC does NOT approve face shields as a replacement for a proper mask. Evaluation of face shields is ongoing, but effectiveness is unknown at this time.
  • See all CDC guidelines here.
Navigating Mixed-Vaccination Statuses

The CDC highly recommends persons age 12 and older become COVID-19 vaccinated. COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective at protecting eligible individuals from getting COVID-19. If your girl(s) or members of your troop/group are not yet fully vaccinated or are otherwise at risk, prevent exposure and infection by utilizing multiple layers of interventions such as mask wearing and social distancing. The best practice is to assume increased risk and use the recommended preventative measures. 

Be a Sister to Every Girl Scout
  • Ensure all Girl Scout groups, spaces, and activities prioritize inclusivity:
    • Keep troop/neighborhood lines of communication open and address families’ comfort levels and health concerns regularly. When planning meetings and activities, we recommend plans align with the person/family with the highest needs.
    • Volunteers and families have different comfort levels. Everyone can choose how they participate in Girl Scouting, and Girl Scouts work to find common-ground solutions. 
  • Ask for what you need and make space for others to share their needs.  
  • Assume the best in others. 
    • There may be times when someone accidentally forgets to wear a mask or forgets to be distanced. If that occurs and someone kindly reminds them, remember it is for the health and safety of all. 
    • Let’s have grace with ourselves and one another as we all practice this new way of being together.
FAQs: Vaccinated Status Conversations

We encourage Girl Scout volunteers and caregivers to have appropriate and respectful conversations about activity planning, comfortability, and needs for troop and neighborhood gatherings.  

Can I ask someone if they’ve been vaccinated? 

First, reflect on why you are asking this question. It is appropriate to ask questions relevant to your family’s health in preparation for safety at an in-person gathering. You can ask whether someone is vaccinated if you will be interacting with them in person, but you don’t need to know the reasoning behind their decisions. 

Be transparent and honest about why you are asking about someone’s vaccination status. Explain how the information will be used and set shared agreements about confidentiality. Do not force anyone to share nor require it to participate. 

When planning activities/gatherings in places where there might be an increased risk of transmission, such as indoors or airline travel, it would be essential to understand whether that is appropriate to all participants. Rather than asking about vaccination status, survey the group for locations and protocols they are comfortable with.  

For all other situations, allow individuals to disclose their vaccination status as they are comfortable. Do not ask out of curiosity. 

If you are being asked to disclose your status and are uncomfortable, feel empowered to ask questions such as, “Why do you need this information?”

Can I ask a host whether other people at an event will be vaccinated?

Focus on assessing your family’s vulnerability and risk to others. Familiarize yourself with protective measures and be reasonable about your access to these measures. You can also ask about location, capacity, transportation, and other aspects of the event the host(s) can control. 

Can I require or persuade someone to get vaccinated?

While Girl Scouts strongly encourages individuals 12+ to get fully vaccinated, not all Girl Scouts are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, and it is not required to participate in Girl Scouts. We ask that troops and neighborhoods adhere to this and include all girls. 

However, no one should feel obligated to put themselves at risk. We recommend respectfully sharing your comfort level, like being uncomfortable with indoor meetings unless everyone has been vaccinated. And then focus on solutions to find common ground. Start by acknowledging that it is a difficult time, and everyone wants to stay healthy and safe. Think of other ways to maintain connectedness — whether it is socially distant outdoor gatherings or Zoom meetings.

Quick Links
COVID-19 Response Guiding Principles

In addition to the guidance from the CDC and other validating authorities, GSUSA has provided all Councils with a set of guiding principles that aid in our decision-making process on reopening amid the pandemic. These are:

  • Do no harm – Safety, health, and well-being of staff, volunteers, and girls must remain our first and highest priority. 
  • Abundance of caution – When in doubt, choose the safest possible approach. We believe this is to follow the CDC's guidelines.
  • What would you do – If given a choice, would you seek to return to an on-site setting? Would you feel safe in your office environment? Would you put your daughter there?
  • Follow MOST restrictive guidance – Review all relevant federal, state, and local orders and public health officials to ensure that operations comply with the most restrictive rules in each jurisdiction. We believe this is to follow the CDC's guidelines.

If you have additional questions related to these updates, please email reghelp@girlscoutsaz.org or call 602-452-7030.

Resources

We have assembled a limited listing of services in the communities we serve, with access to their updates amid COVID-19. 

However, ARIZONA 2-1-1 provides a comprehensive listing and information from all available service agencies throughout our state - to help individuals and families find food, pay house bills, access free childcare, and other essential services during our current situation. Arizonans can also get important COVID-19 information in English and Spanish by simply dialing 2-1-1. And via 877-211-8661 or www.211Arizona.org.

Official Updates + Local Authorities
Healthcare
  • The Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center taking COVID-19 calls from Arizona providers and the general public: 1-844-542-8201
  • Area Agency’s 24-Hour Senior Help Line at 602-264-4357 – Contact if you learn of any age 60+ person living in Maricopa County who may be anxious about shopping for groceries; who may need a food box/home-delivered meals/pet food or just a welfare check.
  • Wesley Community and Health Centers are seeing new patients for family primary health care as well as telehealth appointments via 602-233-0017. 
  • Mountain Park Health Centers  are open Phoenix-wide and offering telehealth appointments via 602-243-7277. 
  • West Valley support available through WestMarc.
Social / Emotional / Mental Health
  • Arizona Department of Education, in partnership with Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, is working to implement Project AWARE throughout Arizona. Project AWARE supports the development and implementation of a comprehensive plan of activities, services, and strategies to decrease youth violence and support the healthy development of school-aged youth.
  • Terros Health remains open for behavioral health needs, including TeleHealth services.
  • AZ Trauma Institute is hosting online events
  • CPLC is offering virtual service and programs.
  • one•n•ten serves LGBTQ+ youth across Arizona and are connecting young people via a new Digital Program and also offer online chats and connectivity for kids. If you have any questions, please contact euan@onenten.org
Food
Food Banks

St. Mary’s Food Bank (West Phoenix and Sites Across the State)
Emergency food boxes distributed through agencies all over the state, including mobile pantries. Visit their website to easily find a location near you. Need any type of ID and proof of residence. 

Agua Fria Food & Clothing Bank (Avondale)
Clothing Bank closed until further notice. Drive-in food distribution. 

Foothills Food Bank & Resource Center (Cave Creek)

Arizona Kosher Pantry (Central Phoenix)
Pantry will be open until further notice.

Andre House of Arizona (Downtown Phoenix)
Open for specific services, including to-go meals, individual access to the clothing closet and bathing facilities. Details.

Harvest Compassion Center (North Phoenix and Maryvale) 
Free groceries, hygiene items, baby items, and clothing. 

Rio Vista Center (South Phoenix)
Modified food distribution, health and safety precautions in effect. 

Casa De Amor (Mesa)
Modified food distribution, health and safety precautions in effect. 

Utility Assistance, Housing / Rental Assistance, and Family Services
  • The State of Arizona’s Department of Housing rolled out a new Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF) program after receiving $199 million from the U.S. Department of Treasury’s American Rescue Plan Act. 
    • HAF will provide assistance for Arizona homeowners who have experienced financial hardship due to COVID-19 after Jan. 21, 2020. HAF funds are intended to prevent foreclosure by paying for: mortgage reinstatement, mortgage delinquencies, past due utilities and internet services, property taxes, mortgage insurance, homeowners insurance, HOA fees; and repairs to prevent displacement. 
    • Check Eligibility for HAF: Homeowners can find out if they are eligible for HAF assistance, get answers to Frequently Asked Questions, and find additional resources on the ADOH HAF website.
  • APS has a Customer Support Fund for those who need assistance paying their bill. The Utility Assistance Program offers financial assistance of up to $800 per family in crisis who are behind on their APS bill or currently unable to pay their bill. Call their Utility Assistance line at (602) 618-1974 for a brief phone interview to determine eligibility and set up an appointment.
  • SRP encourages customers who are having trouble paying their electric bill for any reason, are encouraged to notify SRP as quickly as possible to avoid a worsening financial situation. Call 602-236-8888.
  • City of Phoenix Human Services Department offers utilities support in addition to a variety of social services to households experiencing crisis.
  • Salvation Army offers utility assistance, food and shelter services. Find a site near you.
  • Central Arizona Shelter Services (CASS)
  • A New Leaf housing and shelter solutions (Mesa)
  • Lutheran Social Services – Shelter, rent and mortgage assistance (Avondale, Mesa, Phoenix, Surprise)
  • Maricopa County Funeral Assistance provides help for grieving families who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and have recently lost a loved one. Through the program, you can qualify for up to $1,200 to be applied to burial or cremation services at a participating licensed funeral home. Details: English / Spanish
Legal Support

COVID-19 Legal Resource Page was recently launched by the Arizona Bar Foundation, with the help of Community Legal Services, DNA People’s Legal Services, and Southern Arizona Legal Aid. It is being updated daily and will help provide answers to the most pressing COVID-19 related legal questions.

Community Legal Services has a series of resources and forms for tenants affected by COVID-19 – including requests for postponement of evictions. 

Employment
Internet Access
Stay Connected with the FCC’s Emergency Broadband Benefit Program

The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program is administered by USAC with oversight from the Federal Communications Commission to help people stay connected during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Eligible households can get a temporary discount through selected providers of up to $50 per month towards broadband service and up to $75 per month for households on tribal lands. 

They can also receive a $100 one-time discount for purchasing internet-connected devices such as laptops, desktops, or tablet computers. 

More details are in this fact sheet. Get started at getemergencybroadband.org.