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Scouters, we have been monitoring the Coronavirus (COVID-19) alerts from county, state and federal authorities. Due to the extended National Social Distancing Guidelines from the President we have extended our office and camp closures through June 1st. Staff will be working to answer calls and emails daily.

 

COVID-19 Update – 5.22.2020

 

On Tuesday May 12, Governor Kemp issued Executive Order 5.12.20.02 giving additional guidance on re-opening Georgia subject to certain restrictions. Governor Kemp also issued a statement extending Georgia’s public health emergency order to June 12. This order calls for everyone to continue to stay home and social distance as much as possible. 

As a result, the Central Georgia Council, under the guidance of our Health & Safety Officer Dr. Umesh Narsinghani feel it is in the best interest of our council that all Scout related meetings, activities and events be postponed through June 12th.

 

COUNCIL AND DISTRICT MEETINGS AND EVENTS

1)   Unfortunately, we continue to live with the COVID-19 virus.  Accordingly, we encourage Council and District officers to consider using phone and video conferencing platforms for their meetings and events where possible.  We have all learned to hold effective meetings and boards of review using technology while satisfying social distancing concerns.  Please consider using remote technology – at least through June 12th and possibly longer.

2)   If a Council or District meeting or event cannot be effectively held on a remote basis or if an “in person” meeting is preferable, such meetings or events can occur if all the following requirements are followed:

a)   A maximum of ten individuals may gather together in one group. The scout professional and the Council or District volunteer in charge of the meeting must ensure that this social distancing requirement is followed. 

c)   When forming groups of ten or less, youth protection policies apply -- including two deep leadership, age, and gender of youth, etc.

d)   The Council or District volunteer in charge of the meeting or event (or his or her designee) must sanitize high touch areas before the meeting or event begins.  For example, doorknobs, tables, and other areas that are regularly touched must be wiped down and disinfected prior to the arrival of others.  If a bathroom will be used, the bathroom must also be disinfected before the arrival of others.  Sanitation efforts will need to be coordinated with the organization that is allowing use of its facilities.  Adults should be in charge of sanitation efforts.  

e)   The volunteer in charge should ensure hand sanitizer or other hand washing supplies are available.  Do NOT assume the facility will have these supplies.

f)    Handshakes or other “person to person” contact should not occur.

g)   Facial covering or masks are strongly encouraged.

h)   Individuals with any COVID-19 symptom should not attend the meeting or event.  If within the prior 14 days an attendee has been in contact with anyone with these symptoms, the attendee should not attend the meeting or event. Prior to entering the meeting or event area, the Council or District volunteer in charge or the scout professional in attendance, (or his or her designee) should ask this question orally to all participants or hand out a written note to each attendee asking these same questions.

COVID-19 symptoms include temperatures greater than 100.4 degrees, cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, or other respiratory symptoms or at least two of the following symptoms:  chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, or new loss of taste or smell.

i)    If the event or meeting is scheduled to last more than four hours, each attendee should have his or her temperature taken with an infrared thermometer upon arrival at the meeting to ensure no one in attendance has a fever over 100.4 degrees.

INDIVIDUAL UNIT EVENTS AND ACTIVITIES

Consistent with our prior announcements, individual pack, troop, crew, and post units may make separate decisions regarding meetings and activities in conjunction with their chartered organization.  However, we strongly encourage units to follow the above procedures when holding unit events.  Please, follow all guidelines and requirements of our state and local health officials and our lawmakers. 

As our state is still under Phase 1 of re-opening please remember there are to be no gatherings of 10 or more at this time and social distancing requirements must be followed.

PARENTS AND GUARDIANS

We defer to parents and guardians who may adopt additional, self-imposed guidelines in addition to those described above.  Families always decide if their children should participate in unit activities or meetings depending on their comfort level.

VULNERABLE POPULATIONS- WHO ARE HIGH RISK FOR INFECTION

1)   Individuals who are at high risk to this infection (this applies to everyone, adult leaders, volunteers, administrative staff and children) who are age 65 or older and individuals who have vulnerable health conditions should not attend Scouting functions, gatherings or events at this time; until CDC or State Governor’s office issues an executive order stating clearance..

2)   Vulnerable health conditions include:

  • People who are age 65 or older
  • People of all ages with underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled including:
    • People with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
    • People who have serious heart conditions
    • People who are immunocompromised
      • Many conditions can cause a person to be immunocompromised, including cancer treatment, smoking, bone marrow or organ transplantation, immune deficiencies and prolonged use of corticosteroids and other immune weakening medications
    • People with severe obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 40 or higher)
    • People with diabetes
    • People with chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis
    • People with liver disease

 

AN IMPORTANT REMINDER

We all desire to return to normal scout operations including camping.  We need your assistance to allow the Council to again open meetings, events and camps.   Please help us by following the above requirements.

While the above precautions and requirements are important, they do not remove the potential for exposure to COVID-19 or any other illness while at camp, at a meeting or at an event. Some people with COVID-19 show no signs or symptoms of illness but can still spread the virus, and people may be contagious before their symptoms occur.

Please use common sense.  Use face coverings and masks.  Maintain social distancing.  Be safe.

 
Volunteer Service Center and Scout Shop will remain closed for the time being- with an anticipated re-open date of June 2nd
 
The Central Georgia Council Staff is dedicated to continue operations and will operate remotely. Our staff will continue their dedicated work and will be available via email and phone for questions, needs and service to you. 
 
Below are some helpful tools:
 
To submit forms to the Service Center:
           • Scan to centralgeorgiacouncil@scouting.org . There are many free phone scanning apps available online.
           • A lockbox is available at the side entrance of the Volunteer Service Center for you to drop off paperwork.
 
Scout Shop: You can shop for your Scouting apparel by visiting scoutshop.org
 
Digital Safety Guidelines
As local councils and units use digital and online resources, such as video conferencing, to continue Scouting meetings, projects and advancement during the COVID-19 outbreak, the National Council is providing guidance in this UPDATED BSA Safety Moment that can be shared with anyone who has questions about topics such as video conferencing safety for Scouts and leaders. Note: This guidance is not comprehensive, and if it differs from the legal requirements of your state or local jurisdiction, please consult with your local council attorney.
 
We will continue to monitor governmental guidelines and update you via e-mail and on our council website .  While this is in no way an easy decision to make, the health and safety of our Scouts, Scouters and staff remains our top priority.?We will notify you immediately if the situation warrants a change in this decision.  

 

LOOKING TO THE FUTURE


One of the key concerns, no matter the unit size, is how to safely accommodate gatherings of various sizes when the time is right. The timing and preparations for each unit opening their doors will look different for every single unit. Inevitably, how we gather will look different than it did in February. Here are five key words to guide our decision making: Context, Risk, Resources, Readiness, Monitoring.

CONTEXT: Pay attention to your context and do not compare yourself to units of different sizes or locations. Are you in an area where the coronavirus is especially prevalent? What specific concerns are being expressed by parents, older adults, and others? What size gatherings will your space permit you to hold while allowing for six feet of distance between each person or family?

RISK: Many of our volunteers fall into the high-risk category. How much risk are you willing to assume? How will you mitigate risks for children, youth, adults, and all who have underlying medical conditions?

RESOURCES: Before re-starting anything, do you have adequate supplies such as paper towels for restrooms, sanitizer, gloves/masks? Are you able to procure additional supplies as needed? What is your plan for cleaning/disinfecting all areas that are used?

READINESS: Are plans in place to provide guidance for safely entering, and leaving the building? Are plans in place to provide seating that maintains social distancing? How will these plans be communicated to parents and leaders? 

MONITORING: Who is designated to maintain accountability to all guidelines and procedures?  How will you monitor staff for possible infections?

 

CLOSING

We hope that the COVID-19 pandemic will be controlled in our communities, our State and our country.  We pray for the safety of our healthcare workers, first responders and those who serve others affected by this virus and who work to make our world safer. 

We appreciate your patience during this challenging time.  Scouting is moving forward in the Central Georgia Council. Thank you for all you do!

 
Volunteer Service Center and Scout Shop will remain closed for the time being.
 
The Central Georgia Council Staff is dedicated to continue operations and will operate remotely. Our staff will continue their dedicated work and will be available via email and phone for questions, needs and service to you. 
 
Below are some helpful tools:
 
To submit forms to the Service Center:
           • Scan to centralgeorgiacouncil@scouting.org . There are many free phone scanning apps available online.
           • A lockbox is available at the Volunteer Service Center for you to drop off paperwork.
 
Scout Shop: You can shop for your Scouting apparel by visiting scoutshop.org
 
Digital Safety Guidelines
As local councils and units use digital and online resources, such as video conferencing, to continue Scouting meetings, projects and advancement during the COVID-19 outbreak, the National Council is providing guidance in this UPDATED BSA Safety Moment that can be shared with anyone who has questions about topics such as video conferencing safety for Scouts and leaders. Note: This guidance is not comprehensive, and if it differs from the legal requirements of your state or local jurisdiction, please consult with your local council attorney.
 
We will continue to monitor governmental guidelines and update you via e-mail and on our council website .  While this is in no way an easy decision to make, the health and safety of our Scouts, Scouters and staff remains our top priority.?We will notify you immediately if the situation warrants a change in this decision.  

Free videoconferencing options

Note: Each of the options below has a paid option, but I’m outlining the features of the free tier.

  • Google Hangouts: Easy to use, no time limit, allows up to 10 participants
  • Zoom: Great features, 40-minute time limit, allows up to 100 participants
  • Skype: Good stability, four-hour time limit, allows up to 50 participants
  • UberConference: Excellent video quality, 45-minute time limit, allows up to 10 participants

 

Below are ways you can help:

  • Practice good hygiene and have hand washing stations or hand sanitizer available at activities.
  • Conduct meetings or activities outdoors.
  • Avoid activities where Scouts have to have close contact with each other such as holding hands.
  • Limit food sharing or buffet style food service.
  • Take time for a teaching moment about good hygiene with your Scouts.
  • Work closely with your Charter Partner and Committee if you have questions regarding your routine scheduling. Consider postponing large gatherings if they deem it necessary.
  • "social distancing" (avoiding large crowds or gathering) and staying home
  • seek medical advice when sick with flu like symptoms.

A Scout is Clean and Prepared

Please familiarize yourself with the CDC guidelines on how to limit the spread of the virus, here at the CDC's Preventing COVID-19 Spread in Communities.

The safety of our Scouts and Leaders is our number one priority. If you have questions about District or Council events happening in your area please contact your District Professional.

 

Guide to Safe Scouting

Completing the Annual Health and Medical Record is the first step in making sure you have a great Scouting experience. So what do you need? Check the sidebar for all forms you may need. 

All participants in official Scouting activities should become familiar with the Guide to Safe Scouting, applicable program literature or manuals, and be aware of state or local government regulations that supersede Boy Scouts of America practices, policies, and guidelines. The Guide to Safe Scouting is an overview of Scouting policies and procedures gleaned from a variety of sources. For some items, the policy statements are complete. Unit leaders are expected to review the additional reference material cited prior to conducting such activities.

In situations not specifically covered in this guide, activity planners should evaluate the risk or potential risk of harm, and respond with action plans based on common sense, community standards, the Scout motto, and safety policies and practices commonly prescribed for the activity by experienced providers and practitioners.

Download the print-friendly version below. This is the full PDF version that contains updates as of January 2019.  Please refer to the online version for the most updated information.