side menu icon

GSH COVID-19 Response -- Working Together to Keep Our Community Healthy

updated: September 1, 2020

cv

The outbreak of the novel coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic is the very definition of an unplanned crisis, and while there remains a great deal of uncertainty about the virus itself, what is abundantly clear is that it has never been more important for Girl Scout leadership to take bold and decisive action. Our chief priority is the health and safety of our girls, families, volunteers, and staff.  

Based on WHO and CDC guidance, and bearing in mind official guidance around social distancing, The COVID-19 pandemic continues to change as infection rates rise and fall in different areas, there may be regional differences or developments that occur after this edition is provided. Continue to follow real-time local and national directives. Discuss plans with families. GSUSA and GSH will continue to evaluate in-person Girl Scout programs on a case by case basis.

Girl Scouts of Hawai`i has been closely monitoring the COVID-19 updates from the Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, and the local public health departments for our counties within our council. We will continue to update our website frequently with new messaging as state officials provide updates.

Launch of Girl Scouts at Home

Our primary goal in response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been ensuring the continued delivery of the Girl Scout mission, expanding to virtual—to build girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place—and to protect the financial viability of the Girl Scout Movement—GSUSA and councils—moving forward. In support of our goal, we launched Girl Scouts at Home, a national online platform for all girls and families to access free, self-guided activities from GSUSA’s expert programming. 

Volunteer Awareness

Volunteers should be reminded, and acknowledge understanding, that COVID-19 is an extremely contagious virus that spreads easily in the community. Volunteers should take all reasonable precautions to limit potential exposure for girls, themselves, and families. Councils should lift and highlight this important message in a way that promotes awareness, preparedness, and health and community service.  It is an important time to be a great Girl Scout and demonstrate Girl Scout values.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic continues to change as infection rates rise and fall in different areas, there may be regional differences or developments that occur after this edition is provided. Continue to follow real-time local and national directives. Discuss plans with families. 

Troop & Service Unit Activities

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to change as infection rates rise and fall in different areas. There may be regional differences or developments since this guidance was published. Continue to follow local and national directives. Discuss plans with families. 

Use these questions and reminders to help decide how and when to return to troop activities.

All City, County, and State Rules and Executive Orders supersede Girl Scouts of Hawai`i policies and provisions.  It is the responsibility of all GSH Volunteers to comply with City, County, and State Rules and Executive Orders.

Pre-screening and Symptoms Check. Prior to in-person troop meetings and activities, all participants should be screened to ensure they are healthy and that they have had not experienced symptoms that are associated with COVID-19 in the previous 72 hours, that they have not knowingly been in contact with someone that has exhibited symptoms or has been confirmed positive with COVID-19 and that they have not been to high-risk geographical regions particularly those regions that require a 14-day quarantine period. See an example of screening questions here

Troop Meetings in the home. GSUSA suggests no meetings in the home out of concern that there would be a greater risk of exposure to other family members. In certain exceptional situations and due to the current COVID-19 risk restricting public meeting options, Girl Scouts of Hawai`i will evaluate in-home meetings on a case by case basis, particularly for those troops in rural areas who have regularly and successfully met in the home, have no elderly or immune-compromised family members in the home, have been deemed safely beyond a final phase of re-opening and do not have access to a virtual option.  However, these complexities may be difficult to confirm and manage consistently which is why the recommendation, ideally, is to stay away from in-home meetings.  Submit your request for consideration in writing to Customer Care.

Once approved for in-home meetings, Council will consider the following stipulations in accordance with the Safety Activity Checklist.

  • The home must be the home of a registered, background checked, council approved Volunteer.
  • Girls may not meet in a home where a registered sex offender lives.
  • The troop needs to be able to focus without disruptions from other household members.
  • All animals should be kept in a place that is separate from the meeting space. All pets/livestock must be secured in a space that the girls will not have regular access to for the duration of their time on the property.
  • Homeowners should consider any personal homeowner insurance implications.  The Homeowner should ask their Homeowner’s insurance carrier if there are any insurance exclusions regarding holding troop meetings at the home, in the event an accident or injury occurs. 
  • Weapons must be completely out of view and stored in a locked space.
  • Medication, dangerous cleaning products, or any poisonous substance must be stored in a secure space out of sight, preferably locked.
  • Meetings should ideally be held outdoors, perhaps in the back or front yard of the home (this is a COVID-19 specific precaution).
  • Ensure that the Hygiene and Risk Mitigation and all other guidance in this document are followed. (this is a COVID-19 specific precaution).

Transportation (car-pooling) Girl Scouts of Hawai`i has a zero-transportation policy (no car-pooling girls) until the county and/or the state is safely past its final phase of re-opening.             

Until then, individual parents drop off and pick up their own girls from meetings, and carpooling or public transportation should be avoided and not encouraged in order to maintain social distancing.

Virtual meetings. Meeting options may need to be flexible based on the fluid nature of COVID-19 risk. Troops that are able to run online meetings as needed (or wanted) should continue to do so. GSUSA recommends maintaining a virtual to an in-person ratio of at least 20/80, which means to maintain virtual troop meetings at least 20% of the time to keep tech skills and virtual meeting habits fresh and the on the ready, should a second wave occur or shelter in place restrictions resume. Use the Safety Activity Checkpoints for Virtual Meetings, to guide your meeting plans: Virtual Troop Meetings.

Other helpful resources to support volunteers for virtual troop meetings and virtual activities, including the gsZoom page, Getting Started Guide and FAQs, can be found on gsConnect.

Visit gsZoom on gsConnect for more information.

Day trips and activities. In conjunction with Safety Activity Checkpoints, the guidance for Troop Meetings and Hygiene and COVID-19 Risk Mitigation in this interim guidance should be used for day trips and special activities. Call ahead to the facility or vendor to confirm that they are following CDC and state health department guidelines. If an activity or sporting equipment is being provided, ask the provider if they wipe down equipment in between uses, similar to wipe downs in between uses for equipment at the gym.  Make whatever appropriate accommodations that are necessary. For example, bring extra sanitizer or disinfectant wipes if none will be provided for public use at the activity location.  The Girl Scouts of Hawai`i Day Trip Application must be submitted and approved by council prior to the Day Trip Activity.  Contact Customer Care for support.

Large Gatherings

If your county permits larger gatherings, confirm the number of people that are permitted and remind volunteers to allow for proper girl-to-adult ratios. It is strongly recommended to meet outdoors as opposed to indoors, and only when social distancing can be maintained. For more people or large gatherings, when the time is safely appropriate, follow the CDC guidelines:  Large Gatherings and Community Events.

Volunteers should get council prior to approval before planning any gatherings of more than ten people. Answers to the following questions will help guide this decision:

  • Has a successful final phase of re-opening been completed? (several weeks after)
  • Do state and local laws permit larger gatherings?  How many people permitted?
  • Have schools been re-opened for in-person classes?
  • Is the event indoors or outdoors?  (outdoors is safer than indoors provided social distancing is maintained)
  • Can social distancing be maintained?
  • Is the space cleaned, and touch surfaces (i.e., tabletops, light switches, chairs, etc.) sanitized, at least daily?
  • Who else uses the space (how often, what size is the group)? Is the space cleaned between groups?
  • What type of faucets/soap dispensers are available in the restroom (sensory or manual)?

The Girl Scouts of Hawai`i Day Trip Application must be submitted and approved by council prior to the Day Trip Activity.  Contact CustomerCare  for support.

Council Programs and Property Reservations

Check out our Virtual Programs for Girl Scouts of all age levels. We have weekly programs and activities on Facebook Live, Virtual Troop Meetings by Age-level, Virtual Badge Work, and more!

For a listing of our Virtual Council-led Programs please visit our events or our Facebook pages. To receive a weekly email on upcoming weekly programs, please email Charelle Silva, Senior Manager of Programs.

Our Council Properties are currently closed, please email Customer Care if you have any questions.

Cookie Program

Please be on the lookout for our “Cookie Bites” communications.

If you have any questions, please contact us!

Girl Scout Shop

Starting Wednesday, March 18, Girl Scouts of Hawai`i will be suspending our in-person retail transactions at our offices. Please go to our  online store to fulfill your retail needs. GSUSA will be offering Free Standard Shipping on all orders with no minimum threshold for all online orders.

COVID-19 Information Resouces

We want to ensure you have the proper resources you need to answer your questions and address any concerns. Included is a link to a Raising Awesome Girls piece, " How to Talk to Your Girl About Coronavirus." 

We understand that media coverage about the coronavirus can prompt many questions as well as anxiety and fear. GSUSA has been following the  CDC's guidance and updates, including  prevention and  travel, and we recommend that troops do the same. If we learn of any updates that may impact our Movement's national programs and meetings, we will share them promptly.

At Girl Scouts, there is nothing we take more seriously than the safety and well-being of our girls, volunteers, and council staff. Girl Scouts of Hawai’i will take all possible and appropriate measures to ensure girls continue to have a safe, fun, one-of-a-kind experience at Girl Scouts. We encourage volunteers, caregivers, and girls to use their best judgment when determining cookie booth locations, and to follow all health and safety guidance from Girl Scouts and other official sources, which we will continue to make available as we learn more.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Guide on Prevention and Treatment
There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, the CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  •  Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
  • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wearing a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
  • Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

For information about handwashing, see CDC’s Handwashing website.

For information specific to healthcare, see CDC’s Hand Hygiene in Healthcare Settings.

These are everyday habits that can help prevent the spread of several viruses.

Council Office

GSH Council staff are available by email & phone during business hours. Limited staff at Council offices during business hours. Contact customer care to come into our council office by APPOINTMENT ONLY. Shop online with no shipping charge. Visitors by appointment only.

Travel and Overnight Stays

Travel and overnight stays. Overnight trips are not permitted until after the county and/or the state is successfully past its final phase of re-opening.  As always, volunteers must seek council prior approval before planning any overnight stays, follow the guidance in Safety Activity Checkpoints and continue to practice the Hygiene and COVID-19 Risk Mitigation guidance outlined in this document for the foreseeable future.

Once your jurisdiction successfully passes its final phase of re-opening, or permits overnight travel to certain destinations, proceed to cautiously to integrate overnight travel back into Girl Scout programs. Recognize that the COVID-19 risk is fluid, it can and will change and contingencies for re-scheduling or pivoting to virtual should always be considered.

For all travel, use all health and safety guidance available to ensure the safety of girls such as this COVID-19 guidance provided by GSUSA, and see the Additional Resources located at the bottom of this document, the CDC (always), state and local health authority guidance or restrictions and Safety Activity Checkpoints.

Interim Guidance from GSUSA. GSUSA has provided COVID-19 safety and health guidance for councils to share with their volunteers, recognizing that the timing of resuming in person troop meetings and activities will vary from state to state and even county to county in certain regions.  This guidance is intended to be used for volunteers in conjunction with Safety Activity Checkpoints and according to each council’s individual state and local COVID-19 circumstances which remain fluid. This guidance is being provided as of August 1, 2020, during a time when a vaccine has not been made readily available. It is important that you continue to monitor local and federal guidelines and the other resources indicated below such as the Center for Disease Control (CDC). GSUSA may, but is not obligated to, modify this guidance, from time to time, in its sole discretion

Hygiene and COVID 19 Risk Mitigation

Follow the resources developed by credible public health sources such as CDC or your local public health department. Share these with girls and volunteers and ensure that they are practiced during meetings and activities. Place signs in the meeting or activity space to remind girls and volunteers to engage in everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Signs should include:

  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Cough and sneeze into a tissue, throw the tissue in the trash and wash or sanitize your hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Wash hands if you do touch.
  • Volunteers, girls, and parents should be reminded to make sure temperatures are taken prior to group interaction to confirm the individual is not running a fever and temperature is a normal 98.6 degrees. Members with fever or temperature higher than 98.6 should skip the in-person gathering until their temperature is normal.   

Personal contact . Hugs, handshakes, “high-fives,”, shakas, and even activities like the friendship circle can transmit COVID-19 from person to person. Create a safe way for girls and volunteers to greet and end meetings instead (like tapping elbows or using the shaka hand sign).

Singing. If you normally close your meetings with a song, make certain girls and adults are all wearing masks.  Singing and shouting both project germs farther than talking, ask your girls to either hum their closing song, or sing quietly, and always, of course, with their masks on.

First Aid Supplies. Troop first aid supplies should include COVID-19 prevention items including hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol), tissues, disposable facemasks, and disinfectants. Trash baskets or bags should be supplied for meeting and activity spaces, if not already available. Make sure that the trash baskets (or bags) are easily accessible for girls. Disposable or no-contact thermometers may be added to supplies if available and not cost-prohibitive, however, parents should be checking temperatures and allowing their girl(s) to join group activities only when temperatures are normal.

Disinfectants and Disinfecting. Routinely clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that are frequently touched (i.e., table tops, markers, scissors, etc.). Use a household cleaner, or see the EPA’s list of effective cleaners approved for use against COVID-19. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products (e.g., concentration, application method and contact time, etc.).

Household bleach is effective against COVID-19 for up to 24 hours when properly diluted. Check that the bleach is not expired and determine if it can be used on a given surface. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application and proper ventilation. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser.

To prepare a bleach solution, mix:

  • 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of water o
  • 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water

See the CDC’s website for more on cleaning and disinfecting community facilities.

FDA Warning.  The FDA advised consumers (6/19/2020) not to use any hand sanitizer manufactured by Eskbiochem SA de CV in Mexico, due to the potential presence of methanol (wood alcohol), a substance that can be toxic when absorbed through the skin or ingested. FDA has identified the following products manufactured by Eskbiochem:

  • All-Clean Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-002-01)
  • Esk Biochem Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-007-01)
  • CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 75% Alcohol (NDC: 74589-008-04)
  • Lavar 70 Gel Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-006-01)
  • The Good Gel Antibacterial Gel Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-010-10)
  • CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 80% Alcohol (NDC: 74589-005-03)
  • CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 75% Alcohol (NDC: 74589-009-01)
  • CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 80% Alcohol (NDC: 74589-003-01)
  • Saniderm Advanced Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-001-01)

Methanol is not an acceptable ingredient for hand sanitizers and should not be used due to its toxic effects.  Stay completely away from sanitizers containing methanol.

Consumers who have been exposed to hand sanitizer containing methanol should seek immediate treatment, which is critical for the potential reversal of toxic effects of methanol poisoning.

Face Coverings. Volunteers should remind girls that 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.  Girls can bring their own face coverings. Have disposable masks on hand for those who need them. Volunteers can teach girls how to handle their face coverings so that the coverings are effective. Some girls or volunteers may not be able to wear masks, due to medical conditions such as asthma. Contact your council for guidance on how best to handle these exceptional circumstances as they arise.

First Aid/CPR Training

First Aid / CPR Training. Keep skills up-to-date for any emergency. Email us for information on our first aid/CPR training or visit our events page.

Food, Dining and Snacks

Food, Dining and Snacks. Be careful when handling and serving food and have girls be careful with each other when eating.  Safety recommendations for food, dining, and snacks include:

  • Encourage girls to bring their own foods to eat (bag lunch or dinner)
  • Encourage girls not to share their food after having touched it, such as a bag of chips.
  • Individually wrapped items are recommended.
  • If providing snacks, especially if unwrapped, have one person, wearing gloves, hand out items to each person, such as with cupcakes or cookies.
  • Use a serving spoon or scoop rather than reaching into a bag or bowl of snacks.
  • Use a buffet line only if staffed with a safely protected server with masks and gloves.
  • Avoid “serve yourself” buffets. 
  • Public dining only as permitted in your local jurisdiction.
  • If serving family style, have one person, wearing clean gloves, serve everyone on clean plates
  • Use disposable plates, forks, napkins, etc.  when possible. 
  • Encourage girls to bring foods they can easily cook themselves (a prepacked foil pack) or hotdog for outdoor cooking. 
  • Ensure everyone handling food, those serving, girls, adults, wash hands (even if they will be wearing gloves) prior to any food prep or meals, following CDC handwashing guidelines.  
  • If sharing outdoor cooking utensils (roasting forks), they should be washed and sanitized between each use or bring enough utensils so that each person gets their own.  
  • Continue recommendation for 6-foot spacing during mealtimes.   
Reporting and Communicating a positive COVID 19 test

1)       Event Risk Assessment Planning Tool.

This current interactive map published by Georgia Tech College of Sciences is a planning tool for troop meetings, service unit meetings and Girl Scout events. Councils can insert the size of a meeting (number of attendees) on the sliding scale to the left and then click on the destination state and county on the interactive map.  Once the map link is clicked, a likelihood percentage appears which indicates the risk of COVID-19 exposure or the likelihood of contracting COVID at a gathering given the levels of infection, by county, nationwide. Find out more information on this interactive tool by visiting the Georgia Tech college of Sciences homepage.

Georgia Tech - Event Risk Assessment Planning Tool

Georgia Tech College of Sciences - Homepage

2)      CDC One-Stop-Shop Toolkit.

The One-Stop-Shop CDC page offers an array of topic specific COVID-19 guidance.  There are many topics to review. Some of the notable subjects are copied in the below links, but all of them are very good and worth a review. This One-Stop-Shop site is updated regularly as situations arise and was most recently updated on July 21, 2020.

Main page:   COVID-10 One-Stop Shop Toolkits    

Topic Specific Links:

Suggestions for Camp and Camp Administrators

Toolkit for Childcare Programs and Summer Camp

Toolkits for Young Adults 15-21

People with Disabilities

Toolkit for Youth Sports and Activities

Toolkit for Domestic Travelers

Travel in the United States

Visiting Parks and Recreational Facilities

Social Media Toolkit

Additional Resources

Event Risk Assessment Planning Tool. This current interactive map published by Georgia Tech College of Sciences is a planning tool for troop meetings, service unit meetings and Girl Scout events. Councils can insert the size of a meeting (number of attendees) on the sliding scale to the left and then click on the destination state and county on the interactive map.  Once the map link is clicked, a likelihood percentage appears which indicates the risk of COVID-19 exposure or the likelihood of contracting COVID at a gathering given the levels of infection, by county, nationwide. Find out more information on this interactive tool by visiting the Georgia Tech college of Sciences homepage.

Georgia Tech - Event Risk Assessment Planning Tool

Georgia Tech College of Sciences - Homepage

CDC One-Stop-Shop Toolkit. The One-Stop-Shop CDC page offers an array of topic specific COVID-19 guidance.  There are many topics to review. Some of the notable subjects are copied in the below links, but all of them are very good and worth a review. This One-Stop-Shop site is updated regularly as situations arise and was most recently updated on July 21, 2020.

Main page:   COVID-10 One-Stop-Shop Toolkits    

Topic Specific Links:

Suggestions for Camp and Camp Administrators

Toolkit for Childcare Programs and Summer Camp

Toolkits for Young Adults 15-21

People with Disabilities

Toolkit for Youth Sports and Activities

Toolkit for Domestic Travelers

Travel in the United States

Visiting Parks and Recreational Facilities

Social Media Toolkit

If you have any additional questions, please contact customer care.

Thank you for your help in keeping Girl Scouts a safe, fun space for everyone!