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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates and Information for Members

Page last updated 8/19/2020 at 8:30 p.m.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to present significant health and safety challenges for communities across our council. After a careful review of current conditions and up-to-date guidance from local health authorities, GSOSW has made the decision to extend the cancellation of all in-person Girl Scout meetings and activities through at least November 1, 2020. Additionally, Girl Scout properties are closed to all users through at least December 31, 2020 (see details below).

This decision was informed first and foremost by GSOSW’s continuing commitment to prioritize the safety of our members, staff and community. We also carefully considered the following factors:

  • Current health and safety data for counties throughout our region. While some improvement has been measured, Oregon and Washington states have not yet seen sustained and substantial improvement in COVID-19 public health conditions.  

  • Schools are staying virtual. Key school districts in all corners of Oregon and SW Washington are beginning their school years online to minimize COVID-19 transmission and protect students and staff.

  • Member sentiment. In a recent survey of service unit teams, a majority of volunteers indicated that their service unit had a low desire to begin meeting again immediately based on COVID-19 conditions. We will continue to seek member sentiment and feedback going forward as we consider reopening plans and timelines.

The matter of reopening is an incredibly complex issue with many variables. GSOSW will continue to evaluate the factors above, along with guidance from national and local health authorities, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Girl Scouts of the USA. It is important to us to identify the right time for Girl Scouts in our council to come together again safely.

With this announcement, there are several updates and opportunities we’d like to share with you:

  • Thank you to all who attended the Q&A session on August 25!
    Girl Scout adult members joined GSOSW CEO Karen Hill and other council leaders for a live Q&A about COVID-19 and Girl Scouts. Questions and answers from the call have been compiled into a Frequently Asked Questions document. If you missed the call, future Q&A opportunities will be available—stay tuned!

  • Virtual tools, free resources and programming are available for Girl Scouts. In an effort to support Girl Scout troops in successfully starting their Girl Scout year online, a variety of new tools and resources are available. Troop leaders are encouraged to take advantage of Virtual Troop Leadership Training and explore virtual meeting support and adapted curriculum in the Volunteer Toolkit. And this year, all troops who renew by September 30, 2020, (including all who renewed during Spring Renewal) will receive a FREE Zoom Pro account for virtual troop meetings and activities. Stay tuned for more details on this offer from GSOSW. And be sure to check out the lists of resources for families and Girl Scout volunteers below!

  • Draft In-Person Troop Meeting Guidelines. As shared in an earlier communication, an interdepartmental team at GSOSW has developed draft guidelines for how our council might resume in-person troop meetings and programming when the time is right. The guidelines cover topics like meeting space, group size, face coverings, physical distancing and sanitation, and are informed by guidance from national and local health authorities, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Girl Scouts of the USA. We are grateful to the many service team volunteers who contributed thoughtful feedback during our recent review and survey process. We are carefully reviewing and applying feedback, and look forward to sharing these draft guidelines with all members soon.

At this time, GSOSW has not identified a reopening date, nor a date by which in-person troop meeting guidelines will be implemented. November 1, 2020, is a target date on or before which we will communicate with members about current conditions and any updated reopening plans.

Thank you for your continued resilience and flexibility in the face of challenge! We are in this together, and GSOSW is with you as you find new and creative ways to nurture friendship, discovery and leadership development in the virtual space. We hope you will join us for our Q&A on August 25!

TROOP AND SU MEETINGS AND EVENTS
All troop meetings, service unit meetings and Girl Scout activities must be cancelled or held virtually through at least November 1, 2020. Find helpful virtual meeting tips and tools and Girl Scout program resources below.

OTHER RECENT COVID-19 COMMUNICATIONS
Guidelines for 2020 Girl Scout Cookie Program Reward Distribution (released 6/12/2020)
Summer Program FAQs (released 5/8/2020)

Virtual Troop and Service Unit Meeting Tools

If your troop is ready to begin meeting virtually, here are some helpful tips for successful virtual meetings:

  • Hold a digital parent meeting before meeting with the girls to work out technology roadblocks
  • Plan well in advance with a wide variety of activities
  • Include activities that are not reliant on video or slide decks if possible
  • Engage the girls equally and by name so they are acknowledged and so they know you can see them
  • Create a group agreement with ground rules in your first meeting
  • Incorporate traditions, even if it feels awkward
  • If leader is also a parent/caregiver, encourage them to log on separately from their girl if technology allows

See more tips from multi-level Troop Leader, Jen Quaranta!

VIRTUAL MEETING TOOLS

Check out the virtual meeting tips and tools from Girl Scouts at Home, and stay tuned for more info from GSOSW about FREE Zoom Pro licenses for troops who renew by September 30, 2020!

Our sisters at Girl Scouts of Western Washington compiled this list of free and low-cost tools that could be useful to you during this time. While GSOSW does not endorse any specific products, we encourage you to take a look at these and other options and discuss with parents and girls to determine the best solution for your troop. 

CONFERENCING TOOLS WITH FREE VERSIONS

While all of these options have a free version, please note you may be prompted to consider their upgraded versions for a subscription fee.

  • Zoom - FAQ
    Meeting duration maximum of 40 minutes in free version
  • Skype - Support
    Up to 10 participants free
  • Webex – Help Center
    Limited file and content sharing in free version

CHAT/COLLABORATION TOOLS WITH FREE VERSIONS

OTHER LOW-COST TOOLS TO CONSIDER

Virtual Program Events

Check out Girl Scouts at Home for upcoming virtual events!

Join GSOSW for upcoming Camp In Campout events in August and Winter 2020.

Watch the GSOSW Activities page for upcoming virtual events hosted by our council and program partners.

At-home Program Resources
GIRL SCOUTS AT HOME

Stay connected to Girl Scouts across the nation and around the world with Girl Scouts at Home! Bring the exploration, fun and learning of Girl Scouts to your family even when circumstances are keeping Girl Scouts from meeting up in person. Afterall, Girl Scouts isn’t somewhere girls go or something they do—it’s who they are day in, day out. Use these self-guided, free activities to keep your girl, your troop, and your community connected.

 
SERVICE CENTERS AND SHOPS 

All GSOSW service centers and Girl Scout shops are closed to the public until further notice. GSOSW staff are working from home as possible during this time. Support for members is available during business hours at answers@girlscoutsosw.org or 800-338-5248. For after-hours Girl Scout emergencies, please contact 800-626-6543.

Girl Scout Shop Information
You can shop safely from the comfort of your home with free standard shipping on all Girl Scout orders, no minimum! Shop local with GSOSW by emailing your order to shop@girlscoutsosw.org, or shop online with GSUSA at girlscoutshop.com. Please note: Cookie Credit is only accepted at local GSOSW shops and cannot be used at girlscoutshop.com. All uniforms, badges, Girl Scout Leadership Experience books and guides, and lots of fun items are available through the GSOSW shop. To order from a local GSOSW shop, you must place your order by email. Have a question or need support? Email us!

PROGRAM ACTIVITIES AND TRAINING

GSOSW is cancelling, holding virtually or postponing all council-run program activities and in-person training  (including all events listed in the current  Program Guide  and those offered by GSOSW program partners) through at least November 1, 2020. Full refunds will be issued for all cancelled activities and training run through GSOSW.

Program Guide Events

All council-run program activities scheduled between now and November 1, 2020, will either be cancelled, postponed or held virtually. Full refunds will be automatically issued for all cancelled Program Guide activities run through GSOSW. You do not need to contact us to request a refund. Thank you for your patience!

If you registered for your activity directly through the program partner (not GSOSW), please contact the partner directly for information on cancellation and refund policies.

Adult Training

Visit our Activities page for details on upcoming virtual volunteer training, including Virtual Troop Leadership (NEW!), Grade Level, Day Trips and Extended Travel.

Girl Scout Information Nights

All in-person Girl Scout information nights have been cancelled as part of our council's effort to help stop the spread of Coronavirus. We encourage you to check out upcoming virtual events, or to invite a friend to participate! In the meantime, you can learn more about how to start a Girl Scout troop or contact us to find a troop near you today!

 
GIRL SCOUT OVERNIGHT CAMP, DAY CAMP AND PUENTES PROGRAMS

In May, we announced with a heavy heart the decision to cancel overnight camp, day camp and Puentes programs for 2020.  Summer programming is such a special part of who we are as Girl Scouts, and we know this news was disappointing to hear. Girls look forward to these programs all year long, and we know the tremendous impact they have on girls’ independence, confidence and happiness. The decision to cancel these programs was not made lightly, and was informed by expert guidance from Girl Scouts of the USA, the American Camp Association, and national and local public health officials. While heartbreaking, we know this was the right decision in the best interest of girls, families, volunteers and staff. Nothing is more important to us than your health and safety. For more information on refunds, Cookie Credit use, and more, please view the Summer Program FAQs.

TROOP TRAVEL

Troops planning to travel through November 1, 2020, are required to cancel or postpone travel due to the ever-changing situation surrounding COVID-19. No new trips will be approved at this time. If your troop has travel planned during this time period and you have questions or need support, please contact  answers@girlscoutsosw.org  or 800-338-5248.

GIRL SCOUT PROPERTY USE

All Girl Scout properties will remain closed through at least December 31, 2020. If you have a reservation scheduled through that time, a GSOSW representative will contact you with cancellation and refund details. New or rescheduled reservations will not be accepted at this time.