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COVID-19: Council Response Updates

As you know, our first priority is always the health, safety and wellbeing of our girls, volunteers, staff and Girl Scout families. As we continue to monitor the spread of COVID-19, we feel that as an organization, we have an obligation to try to mitigate the spread of the virus in our community and help our members stay healthy.

We will continue to update this page with new information or decisions as we learn more and assess developments of the outbreak. 

 As of June 1, the following decisions are in effect:

The Council will remain in Phase One of reopening and adopt a few more changes to our prevention and preparedness guidelines under this phase. Council Offices and camps will remain closed to the public and open for pre-approved group activities summer camp, and reservations on a case-by-case basis. More detail in the Reopening Plan below

Most Council Staff are working remotely and available by phone and email during regular working hours, but we are limiting visits to our facilities. If you need to meet with a staff member or pick something up at the Council Office, this could be arranged on a case-by-case basis. Contact the appropriate staff member or reghelp@girlscoutsaz.org

The Council Shop will also remain closed to the public. There are now options for curbside pickup and scheduled in-store shopping. Contact the Shop directly with questions and for all orders - via phone/email as well as web form Monday-Friday. 

Council Programs / Activities / Events / Trainings

If your troop or Service Unit is gathering for any in-person activities, follow the current Reopening Phase guidelines, including the activity pre-screening procedure using the COVID-19 Pre-Screen Form.  

Summer Camp is returning May 31-July 30. Registration is open now. Learn more.

Sept. 11-13 Jamboree 2020 was canceled due to safety concerns about such a large gathering. This was not an easy decision, but we’re working on rescheduling Jamboree in 2021. 

  • We have not yet been able to secure a future date, and have refunded all participants. 
  • Jamboree 2020 registrants will be notified once a 2021 date is secure, and will have the first opportunity to register for Jamboree 2021.
  • Graduating seniors with active membership will have the opportunity to participate in Jamboree 2021! 
  • Please contact reghelp@girlcoutsaz.org with questions.
Cookie Program

The expiration of program credits earned during the 2019 Cookie Program and Fall Product Sale has been extended through July 2021. Program credits earned during the 2020 Cookie Program have been extended to December 2021. How to redeem Program Credit cards.

Girl Travel

All GSUSA Destinations scheduled for summer 2020 were canceled or postponed. 

April 2021 UPDATE: Due to the continuing pandemic-related concerns and our commitment to ensuring that girls remain safe, Destinations will not take place during summer 2021. Destinations are a unique kind of Girl Scout travel—with girls flying to participate from many different states, and even countries and many months are necessary to apply and prepare, which the pandemic has made impossible. We hope you’ll join a Destination in 2022.

Considerations for Graduating Seniors
  • Some Destinations may be open to graduating seniors participating. If a young alum does participate in a Destination during Winter 2020/21 or Summer 2021, she must have a current GS membership (adult or Lifetime) and must follow all guidelines and rules as if she is still a girl member. 
  • Please refer to new guidelines for graduating seniors and funds re: financial considerations. Girl Scout funds may be used to support young alum travel next summer if the young alum had summer 2020 travel plans that had to be canceled due to the COVID pandemic. 
Future Destinations: Check the Destinations website. 

All other travel, which includes GS self-scheduled out-of-state troop trips, should continue to monitor the guidance from the CDC, U.S. Department of State, and state/local authorities to inform planning. 

Contact GSACPC’s Travel Coordinator, Manny Rojolemus, with additional questions and for guidance with specific trips.

Important: Please note that girls traveling to any international location identified by the U.S. Department of State as “Level 4 – Do Not Travel” is never allowed. New as a result of COVID-19 developments, is that if there is any girl travel scheduled to a U.S. Department of State Level 3 location due to COVID-19 risk, the trip should immediately be canceled or re-routed. 

The Department of State is also advising against all travel on cruise ships, due to increased risk of infection.

Troop / Service Unit Guidance

We are in Phase One of the Council Reopening Plan. See more about all phases and detailed guidelines for meetings/events in the Reopening Plan section of this page. 

If gathering for any in-person activities, follow the current Reopening Phase guidelines, including the activity pre-screening procedure using the COVID-19 Pre-Screen Form.  

In light of all the cancellations due to COVID-19, refer to the new Troop Fund Guidelines for Graduating Seniors/Disbanding Troops. We are here to support all troops with this. Please have the Troop Leader contact our Customer Care Team ( reghelp@girlscoutsaz.org  or 602.452.7030).

Encampments

Future encampment reservations have been suspended. And encampment rounds are postponed until further notice.

When scheduling opens up again, encampments that were canceled due to COVID-19 will be given the opportunity to schedule encampments first.

All deposits for use of our camps made by Service Units will be refunded. We will also work with Service Units to reschedule in the fall or next spring. Please email encampments@girlscoutsaz.org.

If Service Units have deposits for non-GS properties and have difficulty getting refunds, we will work with them to secure those funds and/or, if necessary, provide financial help from the Council’s operating resources.

Please contact our Customer Care Team for support with managing cancellation of Service Unit events and encampments.

Reopening Plan 

GSACPC Leadership has developed a plan to reopen facilities in phases, detailed below. We continue to evaluate and adapt our reopening plan based on the current information available. Our response to COVID-19 and these unprecedented times is never static. We review our thinking on protocols and guidelines in the context of the data and information from the CDC and local health officials regularly. In addition to our Movement's guiding principles, we're following the CDC guidelines.

The Council is currently in PHASE ONE and has made a few more changes to the prevention and preparedness guidelines under this phase.

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.

Phase Zero - Virtual Gatherings and Programs

Council properties will remain closed and in-person gatherings, meetings and program will be canceled or postponed.

Troop Meeting Space. Virtual Meetings only

Troop Meetings in the home. Virtual Meetings only

Troop Meeting Size. Virtual Meetings only

Transportation. Not permitted

Day trips and activities. Not permitted

Travel and overnight stays. Not permitted

Virtual meetings. Troops may run online meetings as needed (or desired). Use the Safety Activity Checkpoints for Virtual Meetings to guide your meeting plans: Virtual Troop Meetings. Other helpful resources can be found on the GSACPC Virtual Girl Scouts page.

Cookie Guidelines.

Find more detailed guidelines here.

Phase One - Small Gatherings and Programs

Gatherings up to 35 may be held when the space is appropriate and precautions are met:

Outdoor space is the best. If indoors, there is appropriate space and ventilation/airflow (e.g., windows and doors open) relative to the group size.

  • Note, some spaces are not suitable for even the smallest groups when the area is too small to allow for adequate spacing, there is a lack of ventilation, or non-group members are too close.

All other protocols must be rigorously followed.

Troop Meeting Space. Using outdoor spaces with social distancing is strongly recommended. Meetings may not be held in fitness centers or gyms, where a greater risk for contracting the virus may exist. Schools or churches may not allow outside groups on-premises, so always check and confirm ahead of time. Council facilities may begin to accommodate socially distanced gatherings on a case-by-case basis. 

Troop Meetings in the home. In-home meetings are not recommended out of concern that there would be a greater risk of exposure to other family members. If meeting indoors, ensure that there is appropriate space and ventilation/airflow relative to the group size.

Troop Meeting Size. The recommended maximum is 35 people (with the proper girl to volunteer ratio).

Transportation. Public transportation is not allowed to ensure social distancing. Individual parents drop-off and pick-up their own girls from meetings/activities as much as possible.

As of March 1, carpooling is permitted with appropriate precautions:

  • Make sure parents are aware ahead of time if girls will be in a car together.
  • Always conduct the Council’s pre-screening process for all participants.
  • Girls and adults wear CDC-approved masks.
  • Keep the car window opened, at least partially, to circulate fresh air.
  • Consider every participant and their family’s health situation and comfortability before deciding to carpool. Make other accommodations with families who have increased health risks and concerns for their household.
    • Sustained contact within less than six (6) feet for longer than ten (10) minutes within an enclosed area creates a high risk for virus transmission, so be very careful with carpool decisions.
  • Adults should meet the girls at a designated location where parents can drive up and drop-off/pick-up their Girl Scout. This ensures that larger groups are not gathering to wait for troop participants. 

Virtual Meetings. GSUSA recommends maintaining a virtual to in-person meeting ratio of at least 20/80, which means holding virtual troop meetings at least 20% of the time to keep tech skills and virtual meeting habits fresh. Use the Safety Activity Checkpoints for Virtual Meetings, to guide your meeting plans.

Day Trips and Activities. In conjunction with Safety Activity Checkpoints, follow the guidance for Troop Meetings and hygiene and COVID-19 risk mitigation guidance. Call ahead to the facility or vendor to confirm that they are following CDC and state health department guidelines.

Travel and overnight stays permitted with appropriate precautions. Including but not limited to:

  • Consider every participant and their family’s health situation and comfortability before making reservations. Make other accommodations with families who have increased health risks and concerns for their household.
  • Conduct pre-screening and daily health checks. 
  • All attendees wear masks.

Participation in community parades is permitted with appropriate precautions. Including: 

  • Family consent to participation
  • Pre-activity symptom screening 
  • All participants meet in a non-crowded place before parade staging
  • All participants wear appropriate masks/face coverings 
  • Ensure physical distancing (girls walk arm's length apart and at least six feet from spectators)
  • Limited interaction with the public/audience (refrain from handing out materials, shaking hands, and closely approaching the crowd) 
  • We recommend Girl Scouts walk the route, instead of stand on a float together. When considering riding a float, the space size needs to be appropriate to the number of people including physical distancing (for example, a standard trailer float may only allow space for 4-6 girls)

See revised mask policies, incorporating new CDC guidance for fully vaccinated individuals

Download the updated Phase One Protocols Guide for further details. 

Troop Leader Tips: COVID-19 Reopening – Phase One

Phase Two - Moderate Groups and Gatherings

Gatherings up to 50 may start to open following local guidelines. Council facilities may begin to accommodate small, socially distanced groups on a case-by-case basis. 

Troop Meeting Space. Outdoor spaces where social distancing can be maintained are strongly recommended for meetings. Get advance permission from the property owner or the jurisdiction that provides the location.

Large gatherings - up to 50. Remind volunteers to allow for proper girl-to-adult ratios. It is strongly recommended to meet outdoors and only when social distancing can be maintained

Transportation. Carpooling may resume as necessary. Even then, girls and adults should wear masks and keep the car windows open, at least slightly. Remember sustained contact within less than six feet for longer than ten minutes creates a higher risk for virus transmission.

Virtual meetings. GSUSA recommends maintaining a virtual to in-person meeting ratio of at least 20/80, which means holding virtual troop meetings at least 20% of the time to keep tech skills and virtual meeting habits fresh. Use the Safety Activity Checkpoints for Virtual Meetings, to guide your meeting plans.

Day trips and activities. In conjunction with Safety Activity Checkpoints, follow the guidance for Troop Meetings and hygiene and COVID-19 risk mitigation guidance. Call ahead to the facility or vendor to confirm that they are following CDC and state health department guidelines.

Phase Three - Large Groups and Gatherings

The state, county, town, or region is successfully past its final phase of re-opening. Large gatherings may be held without restrictions on size.  Council properties will be fully opened.

Troop Meeting Space. Outdoor spaces where social distancing can be maintained are strongly recommended for meetings. Get advance permission from the property owner or the jurisdiction that provides the location.

Large gatherings. If larger gatherings are permitted, confirm the number of people permitted and remind volunteers to allow for proper girl-to-adult ratios. It is strongly recommended to meet outdoors and only when social distancing can be maintained. 

Transportation. Carpooling may resume as necessary. Even then, girls and adults should wear masks and keep the car window open, at least slightly. Remember sustained contact within less than six (6) feet for longer than ten (10) minutes creates a higher risk for virus transmission.

Virtual meetings. GSUSA recommends maintaining a virtual to in-person meeting ratio of at least 20/80, which means holding virtual troop meetings at least 20% of the time to keep tech skills and virtual meeting habits fresh. Use the Safety Activity Checkpoints for Virtual Meetings, to guide your meeting plans.

Day trips and activities.  In conjunction with Safety Activity Checkpoints, follow the guidance for Troop Meetings and hygiene and COVID-19 risk mitigation guidance. Call ahead to the facility or vendor to confirm that they are following CDC and state health department guidelines.

Travel and overnight stays. Overnight trips are permitted. The timeframes will vary.  As always, contact your council for prior approval before planning any overnight stays and follow the guidance in Safety Activity Checkpoints.

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. 

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.

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. 

   

A special message from our CEO

March 18, 2020