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GSTF COVID-19 Policy Update


As the 2020-21 school year begins, we know that girls and troops are excited to get back to a routine and sense of normalcy.  However, COVID-19 continues to be a serious health concern.  Girl Scouts of Tropical Florida aims to balance supporting girls and troops in the desire to get back to normal, with ensuring girl and family health and safety is protected.  We are closely following the local trends, CDC guidelines and COVID dashboards.  As new information is being reported daily, we will remain fluid in our planning and scheduling. We will take all possible and appropriate measures to ensure girls continue to have a safe, fun, one-of-a-kind experience at Girl Scouts.

Latest Update: September 24, 2020   

The state of Florida, as well as some areas within our council’s jurisdiction, are continuing to experience above-average occurrences and impacts due to the Coronavirus situation. Miami-Dade and Monroe counties have distinct guidelines and ordinances in place, while some municipalities have implemented additional guidelines that are specifically related to the impact Coronavirus. Members, volunteers, girls, and families are required to follow these local directives in such areas while participating in Girl Scouting.

Please read our guidelines carefully so CDC guidelines, as well as state and local ordinances, can be followed. We remain hopeful that we can welcome back wider varieties of in-person programs, meetings, and activities, but will only proceed when it is deemed safe to do so.

The following information is current as of the date indicated above:

Virtual Troop Meetings: Based on the risks surrounding COVID-19, utilizing virtual tools is the recommended way to keep troops meeting regularly and maintain engagement in the Girl Scout experience.  Volunteers should review the Safety Activity Checkpoint for Virtual Troop Meetings.

In-person Troop Meetings:  In-person troop meetings are allowed; however virtual continues to be recommended as the primary means of troop meetings.  When meeting in-person, the following guidelines must be met: adult-to-girl ratios; mask wearing;  social distance – 6 feet; follow all site-specific guidelines (as of this post date, Miami-Dade County does not allow groups over 10 to meet in parks); follow curfews/park closure schedules.  Outdoor meetings are highly encouraged. 

When holding an in-person meeting please plan for each girl to have her own supplies, be prepared for hand sanitation, have girls bring their own water bottles (we discourage offering snacks due to mask wearing, girls must keep masks on – only remove for a drink of water and then put back on).  If meeting in a public park, please be aware of possible restroom closures.  Finally, please always remember that when we are out in the community, we are representing Girl Scouts.  Following all local guidelines is part of following the Girl Scout Law. 

Troop Meetings in private homes: GSUSA suggests no troop meetings be held in private homes out of concern that there would be greater risk of exposure to other household members. We understand that due to COVID-19, the schools and community locations where troop meetings often take place, may be less available. Troops that wish to have a periodic in-person meeting, must submit a Troop Meeting Update form to ensure accurate records in the event of an accident. Additionally, we recommend the in-person troop meeting in a private home, is held outside, and all safety guidelines must be carefully adhered to in accordance with CDC, state, local health authorities and as outlined council COVID-19 guidance. Volunteers should remind girls that Girl Scouts wear face coverings (masks or face shields) not only to protect themselves but to protect others. We recommend having disposable masks on hand for those who need them. Follow the CDC Guidelines to teach girls how to handle their face coverings so that the coverings are effective. Based on the risks surrounding COVID-19, GSTF recommends the use of virtual tools to keep troops meeting regularly and maintain engagement in the Girl Scout experience.

Activities, programs and events: Girl Scout one-day activities, including troop meetings, and events sponsored by our council may occur, at the discretion of all participants (and program partners) involved when participants can safely and consistently maintain a social distance of at least 6 feet. Girl-to-adult ratios must be maintained and face coverings (masks) are required for participants. It is strongly recommended groups meet outdoors as opposed to indoors, and only when social distancing can be maintained.

When planning an activity, call ahead to the facility or vendor to confirm that they are following CDC and state health department guidelines. If 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 disposable masks and extra sanitizer or disinfectant wipes if none will be provided for public use at the activity location.

GSTF Properties:  Our GSTF Properties remain closed until no earlier than October 1.  We will provide updates on properties as local conditions evolve.

Overnight trips (domestic and international) are not permitted at this time; we do not have a definite timeframe as to when we will be able to permit them. Troops are welcome to submit a Trip and Travel form to CustomerCare@girlscoutsfl.org, with future travel dates so they can be reviewed at such a time that our council is permitted to process and approve them.

Transportation (car-pooling): Based on the risks surrounding COVID-19, and due to the proximity within a confined space of carpooling and/or public transportation, GSTF strongly discourages any shared transportation. Individual families should provide required transportation for the girls in their own household.

At this time individual parents should drop off and pick up their own girls from meetings.

Questions?  The GSTF Service Center is here and ready to answer your questions, assist you in joining/renewing membership, and more.  While our office is closed for in-person work and meetings, we have been working remotely since mid-March, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.  Please contact us at customercare@girlscoutsfl.org for any assistance you may need.

Thank you for your support of our programs and your understanding as we monitor this evolving issue. We will notify you of any changes or updates as they occur by posting them on our GSTF website and social media. We continue to create exciting virtual activities and events, please continue to engage your girls in all Girl Scouts has to offer!