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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 August 31, we have made the following decisions:

Council Offices and camps will remain closed to the public through October unless CDC criteria to proceed to the next phase of reopening are satisfied before then. More detail on this in the Reopening Plan section

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 following the social distancing protocol outlined by the CDC. Contact the appropriate staff member or reghelp@girlscoutsaz.org

The Council Shop will also remain closed to the public. Shipping fees are waived. There is an option for curbside pickup of purchased items. Orders placed will require two business days for processing and shoppers will be required to wear a face mask at pick-up.  Contact the Shop directly with questions and for all orders - via phone/email as well as web form Monday-Friday. Per GSUSA, all Online Shop orders will receive free shipping through Sept. 30. 

Council Programs / Activities / Events / Trainings

Summer 2020 GSUSA Destinations have been either canceled or postponed. All girls should have received notice from their respective Destination hosts. See the Girl Travel section for more detail. 

Sept. 11-13 Jamboree 2020 has been 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 so have decided to proactively refund all participants. Any monies paid will be refunded to the original method of payment.
  • Jamboree 2020 registrants will be notified once a 2021 date is secure, and will have the first opportunity to register for Jamboree 2021.
  • We will be transitioning to a new registration system in the late fall and anticipate that registration for Jamboree 2021 will be open towards the end of this calendar year.
  • Graduating seniors with active membership will have the opportunity to participate in Jamboree 2021! 
  • Please contact reghelp@girlcoutsaz.org with questions.

Our National Board of Directors made the difficult decision to cancel the in-person events planned as part of G.I.R.L. 2020/Girl Scouts’ triennial National Convention in October. They will instead hold a virtual session so the business of Girl Scouting can continue in a timely manner. Delegates and Alternates elected to represent our Council at the virtual National Convention will receive the information for October’s meeting from GSUSA. The good news is they plan to hold the 2023 convention in Orlando. More on how GSUSA came to this decision.

 

Cookie Program
Cookie Reward Progress Updates

The Product Program Team and our volunteer Product Advisory Committee (PAC) are working closely on alternatives and adjusted plans for all 2020 GS Cookie Program rewards. Many of these programs are offered in partnership with other companies and vendors. In some cases, we are awaiting availability or guidance from them. We appreciate your patience and understanding during this uncertain time. Here is where we stand:

  • Converse Shoes – Girls that earned this reward were emailed on April 10, with a gift code number and pin.
  • Camp Voucher – Girls who earned the 2019 Fall Product Sale Camp Voucher and 2020 Cookie Program Camp Voucher were emailed the option to roll over camp vouchers to next year or accept Program Credits as an alternative. Decisions need to be submitted to the form that was provided by June 26. 
  • Hurricane Harbor and Medieval Times – Postponed for now. A decision on a backup plan to be announced soon.
  • Flagstaff Camping trip – Postponed. We are working on alternative dates.
  • Staycation – Once the Wild Horse Pass Sheraton opens, the Product Program team will work with girls’ families to schedule a date for each family to attend.
  • Great Wolf Lodge – Once the Great Wolf Lodge opens, the Product Program team will work with families to schedule a date for each family to attend.
  • Universal Studios – Postponed. We are working on alternative dates, but it depends on the park’s reopen date. 
  • National Convention – GSUSA has announced that the National Convention is going to be virtual. We will determine if the Disney World portion can move forward or otherwise once we hear back on when the park will reopen.
  • New York City – We are looking at alternative dates to present to the girls that earned this reward and will be in touch before scheduling.
  • GSACPC Dinner – Postponed. We are working on alternative dates and a potential virtual option. 

We greatly appreciate your patience as we work through all of this with great uncertainties. As we continue to work through this, we will inform all participants when new details are finalized or as any changes occur. For each reward event, the qualifying cookie seller will receive an email from Council directly. Girls will be given the choice of staying on the roster to attend an alternative event date or to receive program credits. Please make sure your Girl Scout email is correct in our system and that you have opted into emails. If you are unsure, contact reghelp@girlscoutsaz.org

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 Reward Delivery 

Service Unit Rewards Specialists were sent girl rewards from the baker and 2020 Program Credit cards from Council. Service Unit Reward Specialists and Troop Leaders are now permitted to create a safe, curbside/contact-less pick-up or drop-off for girls to receive their cookie rewards, IF they feel comfortable to do so and follow CDC guidelines and distancing recommendations (no close contact or gathering of people, use of masks and gloves, etc.). Alternatively, Council staff can help store rewards or support safe distribution – please contact productprogram@girlscoutsaz.org.

Sales of leftover inventory are suspended

While the Product Program Team initially allowed troops to continue selling leftover inventory after our 2020 cookie program ended on March 1, we are asking all troops to cease all sales during this global pandemic. If there are troops sitting on large amounts of inventory, please reach out to productprogram@girlscoutsaz.org. We will address this directly and support each troop. 

GSUSA Eat. Share. Care. Campaign Has Ended (online cookie sales for Councils that did not get to complete their cookie programs) 
Girl Travel

All GSUSA Destinations scheduled for summer 2020 have been either canceled or postponed. We will be reaching out to all girls who were enrolled in affected trips to find out if they have re-enrolled on a Destination for next year, or are not planning to travel at this time. 

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. 
  • Another option for graduating seniors to travel with their peers is to join a young alum trip that GSUSA is planning for summer 2021. 
  • 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 
  • Winter 2020-21 Destinations: on track for now. GSUSA will post any changes to on the Destinations website and inform Council Destinations contacts. 
  • Some programs scheduled for 2021 are still taking applications. Check the Destinations website  for this information. 
  • Release of additional 2021-22 Destinations TBD. We DO plan to have more programs posted for 2021 and 2022, but the exact posting date is not yet set. We will have more information later this summer about when we will begin applications and enrollment for summer 2021 and 2022 Destinations. 

All other travel, which includes GS self-scheduled out-of-state troop trips through August, should also be canceled or postponed. 

For trips scheduled after Aug. 31, continue to monitor the guidance from the CDC, U.S. Department of State, and state/local authorities to inform planning. Further guidance about future travel will be shared as soon as possible. 

We understand the desire of many groups and troops to have clarity and time to make a plan, and so below is the general decision-making timeframe as of now.

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

International Travel
  • Trips scheduled now – end of September: reschedule or cancel now
  • Trips scheduled for the remainder of the membership year: get in touch with Council Staff now to start the conversation & build contingency plans
Domestic (extended / 3+ night) Travel
  • Trips scheduled now – end of September: reschedule or cancel now
  • Trips scheduled for the remainder of the year: get in touch with Council Staff now to start the conversation & build contingency plans

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 in the next 60 days to a U.S. Department of State Level 3 location due to COVID-19 risk, the trip should immediately be canceled or re-routed. 

As of March 8, the Department of State is also advising against all travel on cruise ships, due to increased risk of infection.

Troop / Service Unit Guidance

In line with Council, Service Units and Troops should cancel or postpone all in-person meetings, events, and gatherings planned through September. Should Arizona satisfy CDC gating criteria to move to the next phase of reopening, this may change. See more about our phases and criteria in the Reopening Plan section. 

We encourage volunteers to support girls and parents virtually (e.g., Troop hangouts on Google or other similar platforms, check-in phone calls to the girls, offering ideas for at-home badge work or service projects, etc.) when possible. Please see our Virtual GS page for ideas and resources, including a new training on hosting virtual meetings.  

Service Unit Reward Specialists and Troop Leaders are now permitted to create a safe, curbside/contact-less pick-up or drop-off for girls to receive their cookie rewards, IF they feel comfortable to do so and follow CDC guidelines and distancing recommendations (no close contact or gathering of people, use of masks and gloves, etc.). Alternatively, Council staff can help store rewards or support safe distribution – please contact productprogram@girlscoutsaz.org.

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

All encampments are canceled. 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 at 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.


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


Reopening Plan 

We continue to evaluate and adapt our re-opening plans based on current information available. We're following the CDC COVID-19 Task Force's guidelines which provide specific data-driven gating criteria for a phased re-opening, in order to mitigate the risk of resurgence and protect the most vulnerable. The CDC criteria to satisfy before proceeding to a phased reopening include a downward trajectory of documented cases within a 14-day period or a downward trajectory of positive tests as a percent of total tests within a 14-day period, among several other factors.

As we watch the cases of COVID-19 decreasing across our state, we are meeting the gating criteria set by the CDC that will allow us to move into Phase One of our re-opening plan beginning on Monday, Sept. 14. 

The council is currently in PHASE ZERO. We will move to PHASE ONE on Sept. 14.

In Phase One, gatherings of 10 people or less will be permitted if the protocols of social distancing and wearing masks are followed. However, holding in-person meetings are at the discretion of the Troop Leaders and parents, depending on their comfort level regarding the risks associated with small group gatherings. Virtual meetings may continue to take place. During Phase One, in-home meetings are not recommended, and carpooling and overnight stays are not allowed. More information on Phase One can be found below. 

If the number of cases of COVID-19 begin to increase again along with other CDC gating criteria, we may need to revert to a more restrictive phase. 


GSUSA has also provided all Councils with a set of guiding principles to aid in our decision-making process on re-opening 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. 

Starting with these guiding principles, together with the guidance from the Arizona’s Governor Office, Department of Health Services, and the different county guidelines, we have drafted a plan to reopen facilities in phases. According to the CDC guidelines, Arizona will only enter Phase One after we meet the criteria of a 14-day period showing a downward trajectory in both the number of new COVID-19 cases and positive tests as a percentage of total tests. We will not move the plan forward until we are certain we are meeting GSUSA’s guiding principles to the best of our ability. 

Reopening Phases Overview
phase key

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 in advance 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.

Find more detailed guidelines here.

Phase One - Very Small Gatherings

Troop Leader Tips: COVID-19 Reopening – Phase 1

Gatherings up to 10 may be held following local guidelines. Council facilities may begin to reopen to accommodate very small, socially distanced gatherings on a case-by-case basis. 

Troop Meeting Space. Using outdoor spaces with social distancing are 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.

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. 

Troop Meeting Size. The recommended maximum is ten people (eight girls and two unrelated adult volunteers).

Transportation. Individual parents drop off and pick up their own girls from meetings. Carpooling and public transportation are not allowed to ensure social distancing. 

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. Not permitted until Arizona successfully meets CDC’s Phase Three reopening gating criteria.

Find more detailed guidelines here.

Phase Two - Small Groups

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.

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. 

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. Car-pooling 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.

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

Phase Three - Large 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.

Troop Meetings in the home. In-home meetings are not recommended out of concern that there would be greater risk of exposure to other family members. 

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. Car-pooling 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.


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
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
  • The Federal Communications Commission launched the “Keep Americans Connected” pledge in which communication companies will waive late fees, not cutoff service for lack of payment, and open hotspots for increased accessibility to the internet.
  • Access from AT&T and more about AT&T’s COVID-19 response.
  • CenturyLink has committed to waive late fees and to not terminate a residential or small business customer’s service due to financial circumstances associated with COVID-19. They are also suspending data usage limits for consumer customers during this time period due to COVID-19. 
  • Cox Communications offers an affordable internet program and is expanding their hot spots and strengthening their wi-fi so that students who don’t already have internet can find it in various locations. Free access to over 650,000 Wi-Fi hot spots.
  • Sparklight (formerly CableOne) will be making unlimited data available on all internet services for the next 30 days and waiving late fees for the next 60 days.  
  • Xfinity WiFi hotspots across the country will be available to anyone who needs them for free – including non-Xfinity Internet subscribers. 
Parenting / Remote Learning

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