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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. 

 As of July 12, the Council is currently in PHASE TWO of our reopening            plan. Protocols and guidelines are detailed below.

Most Council Staff are working remotely and available by phone and email during regular working hours, but we are limiting public visits to our facilities. If you need to meet with a staff member or pick something up at a Council Office, contact the appropriate staff member or reghelp@girlscoutsaz.org to make arrangements. 

Camp properties are open for summer camp and pre-approved group activities with appropriate protocols in effect. Property reservations are available. 

The Council Shop is offering in-store shopping by appointment and curbside pickup. Contact the Shop with questions or to place an order via phone/email

GSACPC Reopening Plan: Phase Two Protocols & Guidelines 

As we continue to broaden the options for Girl Scouting activities amid this pandemic, we must remain aware of the best practices and recommendations to minimize the risk to ourselves, those we are responsible for, and those connected to us who are especially vulnerable. Note:

  • CDC guidelines highly recommend that persons aged 12 and older become COVID-19 vaccinated in addition to these interventions. 
  • All recommended guidelines help mitigate risk; there are no guarantees risk of infection will be eliminated. 
  • We trust each family to choose the level of participation at which they are comfortable.
Standard Practice for All Girl Scout Activities
  • Groups should not exceed 50 people with appropriate space.
  • 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.
  • Complete pre-activity symptom screening.
  • Sanitize/clean spaces/equipment before, during, and after.
  • All attendees wear appropriate masks/face coverings, except as noted.
  • Physical distancing in effect.

See additional guidance for planning Larger Group Gatherings and Encampments.  

Implement layered prevention strategies

In addition to vaccination, when possible, non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPI’s) are recommended across all activities.

Girl in a jacket
Prescreening

Before in-person troop meetings and activities, all participants should complete a self-screening to ensure they are healthy and verify they have not knowingly been in contact with someone exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms. Pre-screen form:

Updated CDC Guidance for Isolation Practices

Persons with COVID-19 who have symptoms and were directed to care for themselves at home may discontinue isolation under the following conditions:

  • At least ten days* have passed since symptom onset and
  • At least 24 hours have passed since the resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and
  • Other symptoms have improved.

*A limited number of persons with severe illness may produce replication-competent virus beyond ten days, which may warrant extending isolation duration for up to 20 days after symptom onset. Consider consultation with infection control experts. 

Additional Precautions Prior to Travel and Overnights
  • Unvaccinated people will minimize contact with members outside the household and conduct a pre-screening for at least ten days before travel/overnight trips. 
  • Parents/guardians understand the risk of traveling/overnighting if anyone in the household is immune-compromised.   
  • Understand that if a participant develops symptoms consistent with COVID-19 on the trip or overnight, they’ll either need to isolate and, if appropriate, return home. This may incur additional expenses. See travel recommendations below.
  • If a participant in the group shows symptoms or is exposed to a contagious disease (COVID-19), they need to immediately inform the GS Volunteers and facility/trip coordinators.  
  • Avoid going into places if possible, as the virus spreads best in enclosed spaces. 
  • Ask that members of your household also practice responsible behaviors (physical distancing, wearing a face covering, etc.).
Testing and Vaccination 
  • We strongly recommend taking a COVID-19 PCR test 48-72 hours before a troop trip or camp session. 
    • Anyone with a current positive COVID-19 test will need to isolate until: ten days after symptom onset, and 24 hours after fever resolves without medication, and other symptoms improve.
    • Test options in AZ can be found at www.azdhs.gov.
    • After the test, observe a strict quarantine with no interactions with anyone outside your household until the result is available.
  • We recommend everyone age 12 and older become COVID-19 vaccinated before taking trips/overnight excursions.
  • When fully vaccinated people meet in smaller groups, and everyone agrees, masks may be removed.
Travel To Activity
Travel via Automobile 
  • Follow local government travel guidelines. Travel may be restricted or require anyone traveling out of state and into AZ to quarantine. AZ Travel restrictions.
  • Maximize ventilation in the vehicle when traveling with a group/carpooling.
  • Make minimal stops en route.
    • When making pit stops and going inside an establishment, wear a mask/face covering and ensure physical distancing is practiced.
    • Wash hands thoroughly and sanitize hands upon returning to the car.
  • Pack food, snacks, and beverages for the trip.
    • If you need to stop for a meal, drive-thru or curbside restaurants are most appropriate.
    • Avoid sit-down, indoor restaurants.
  • If a group member exhibits COVID-like symptoms and needs to quarantine, travel by automobile is recommended. 
Travel via Airplane
  • If traveling to the airport with someone other than a household member (i.e., in a taxi, Uber, or Lyft), a face covering should always be worn by driver and passengers, and please keep the car window down to increase ventilation when possible. 
  • Face coverings must always be worn while in the airport terminal and on the airplane.
  • To keep interaction with the public to a minimum, we recommend that you pack food and a refillable water bottle for your travel.
  • If you need to utilize walk-up restaurants in the terminal, please keep an appropriate distance from others. When eating, it will be necessary to remove face coverings. Ensure that you are at a proper distance from others (at least six feet, preferably further).
  • Wash hands and sanitize whenever possible.
  • If a group member exhibits COVID-like symptoms, travel via airplane is not recommended, and they should quarantine before resuming traveling if possible.
Sleeping Quarters
  • Adequate ventilation needs to be provided for all indoor spaces (this may include setting AC’s to use fresh air, open windows, open shades, ceiling and/or floor fans operating).
  • Participants need to sleep head-to-toe on separate bunks with a minimum distance of 4 feet. 
  • Do not share items with others, including (but not limited to) utensils, cups, mugs, water bottles, toiletries, razors, and any other personal items.
Food Service
  • It is best to prepare meals with great care in cleaning and sanitizing before and after.
  • If you must eat out, drive-through, delivery, take-out, curbside pickup establishments, and eating outdoors are highly encouraged.
Two of Three Rule

Consider implementing the “Two of Three Rule” that we have at GSACPC properties. This means all participants must have at least two of the following three things in effect at all times: (1) being outside, (2) wearing a mask/face covering, and (3) physically distanced (of at least six feet.) 

Sanitizing & Staying Healthy
  • Sanitize frequently to stay healthy. This includes:
    • Washing hands, A LOT 
      • before and after every meal
      • before and after activities
    • Sanitizing all surfaces and shared equipment
    • Hand sanitizing liquid available throughout all activities and meetings 
  • Minimize touching faces, eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Frequent, diligent, and thorough cleaning of vehicles, facilities (especially cooking spaces and bathrooms) and equipment. Girls can take part in regular cleaning/kapers. 
Health Checks

Everyone should conduct daily health checks while on multi-day trips. Report to the leaders any health issues or concerns that may be indicative of COVID-19 or other communicable illness, including (but not limited to) fever (> 100⁰ F), sore throat, persistent cough, difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, headache, nausea, vomit, diarrhea, abdominal cramping, fatigue, or impaired ability to smell or taste food.

Potential or Suspected Cases of COVID-19
  • Anyone exhibiting signs and symptoms of COVID-19 must be immediately isolated.
  • Decide next steps given the circumstances. In most cases, having the individual return home is the best course of action.
  • Have a plan in place before the trip and ensure all parents and guardians understand. Keep in mind the length and distance of a trip increase the challenge faced if someone develops signs and symptoms.
  • If you have a confirmed case, please contact the Council’s emergency line (602.531.5935) to communicate with affected families.
Return Home Considerations
  • Make arrangements to protect anyone in the group members’ households. 
  • Minimize contact with members outside of household/community after the trip.
  • Continue to self-monitor health after activities/trips/camp sessions/excursions. Contact the Council if you develop any signs/symptoms and test positive for COVID-19 after a Girl Scout outing.   

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 in mixed groups – where the vaccination status of other people or whether they are at increased risk for severe COVID-19 is likely unknown (such as council events or public spaces) – 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.

Guiding Principles

In addition to the guidance from the CDC, Arizona’s Governor Office, Department of Health Services, and the different county guidelines, GSUSA has provided all Councils with a set of guiding principles to aid in our decision-making process on reopening our facilities. 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 phased reopening 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 – Councils 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 phased reopening guidelines.
  • Face Coverings.  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. 

At each Phase, we will not move the reopening plan forward until we are certain we are meeting GSUSA’s guiding principles to the best of our ability. 

Reopening Phases Overview
PHASE DESCRIPTION MAX
IN-PERSON PARTICIPANTS
Zero Zero Virtual Gatherings and Programs 0
One Small Gatherings and Programs
(using best practices)
up to 35
Two Moderate Groups and Gatherings
(using best practices)
up to 50
Three All Gatherings Permitted
(using best practices)
No Limits

While we hope our community will progress sequentially through the reopening phases, the possibility of resurgence could result in moving back to a more restrictive phase.

The health, wellbeing, and safety of girl members, volunteers, and staff is a priority while we look at what we can do to ensure success for our Council and Movement. Progressing to a new phase will not be made solely by government action but by a well-communicated decision by Council senior leadership.

Staff and volunteers will be notified as the decision is made to move from Phase to Phase. As the organization begins the process of moving to a new phase, new guidelines will be issued for membership activities.

Face Coverings (Masks)

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.

In consideration of the CDC’s new separate mask recommendations for fully vaccinated people, and that the vaccination status of other people or whether they are at increased risk for severe COVID-19 is likely unknown in mixed groups and public spaces, like Girl Scout programs and events, our Council’s mask guidelines have been slightly amended: 

  • Continue to wear masks in multi-troop/neighborhood/public settings and at Council events.
  • For single troop and volunteer group activities and meetings, individuals should wear masks until they discuss vaccination status and comfort levels. If all present are fully vaccinated and everyone agrees, masks may be removed. This is a new adjustment based on the May 13 CDC recommendation for vaccinated individuals.
  • Everyone (regardless of vaccination status) can continue following the two of three rule. This means all participants must have at least two of the following three things in effect at all times: (1) being outside; (2) wear a mask/face covering; and (3) physically distanced (of at least 6 feet).
  • NOTE: All GSACPC campers (regardless of vaccination status) will be required to wear masks at camp to accommodate the highest needs and ensure safety and consistency for the whole camp community. 

Please heed CDC’s guidance on properly selecting, wearing, and caring for face coverings. 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 guidelines here.
Resource Quick Links

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
  • APS is suspending shutting off power to customers for non-payment, waiving late fees, and setting up a Customer Support Fund for those who need assistance paying their bill.  
    • APS is partnering with CPLC to provide a Utility Assistance Program offering 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 is suspending power shutoffs for non-payment and will waive all late payment fees. This applies to both residential and commercial customers. 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. 
  • Arizona Dept. of Housing – Apply for the Rental Eviction Prevention Assistance Program. Interested applicants who do not have computer access can call their local Community Action Agency to initiate an application over the telephone.
    • Find your local Community Action Agency, which offers emergency Eviction and Utility Assistance.
    • The Arizona Department of Housing also operates a toll-free hotline to answer questions about housing in Arizona, including foreclosure assistance for homeowners. Reach a housing counselor at 1-877-448-1211.
  • 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.

Parenting / Remote Learning

Arizona Department of Education

Girl Scouts

Articles
Activities

Our friends at Common Sense Media, the leading source of entertainment and technology recommendations for families, have put together resources on several helpful topics:

Parenting during a Pandemic: Arizona Trauma Institute Webinar Series . This is a three-week free coaching and resource group hosted via Zoom. 

First Things First for infants-pre-K families 

Scholastic Learn at Home offers free, leveled, interactive literacy lessons for kids Prek-9th grade 

VOOKS is offering 30 days free. This is an ad free, online library of animated story books. In addition to the free 30 days, there are resource guides with some books to do easy at home activities.  

Brain POP is offering free access to interactive activities in a wide variety of subjects for K-8th grade. They also have Brain POP ELL for English Language Learners.  

Sun Devil Learning Labs – streaming live on YouTube from 9am-2pm during the week. You can follow the schedule or jump in just to subjects that interest your child. They have lessons for Pre-K-12th grade.