side menu icon
Girl Scout Mask with Trefoil

COVID-19 Guidelines

For Girls and Volunteers of Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana

UPDATED MAY 9, 2022

As the COVID-19 situation is changing, we recommend reviewing the COVID-19 dashboards on the CDC, Illinois Department of Public Health, and Indiana Department of Health sites for the most up-to-date information and recommended protocols.

If there has been a positive COVID case within your troop, follow the CDC guidelines on quarantining and isolating.

UPDATED MARCH 4, 2022

UPDATED FEBRUARY 28, 2022

On February 28, the council is lifting its mask mandate. Masks will be optional for all in-person engagements. We strongly encourage troops to continue with indoor masking. The staff will continue to mask at the Gathering Places for the time being. 

Mask mandates have been an emotional, divisive topic in our country. We urge our members to be kind and compassionate as individual troops determine their protocols as a caring community of volunteers and parents who are all concerned about the safety of our members and others.

Acknowledging the difficulty of satisfying different viewpoints, we will be adding resources to assist with making the best decisions for each troop. We will also be updating the detailed guidelines below to reflect the mask-optional guideline.

Updated January 10, 2022

Troop leaders have the right to ask for proof of vaccination. The council does not recommend the troop leader keep a copy of the vaccination card. It is the responsibility of the parent and/or the girl to provide the proof of vaccination as needed.


Our council covers a wide geographic area across Illinois and Indiana with varied COVID-19 restrictions throughout. All participants, regardless of vaccination status, are to follow federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business, workplace, and council guidance.

In addition to these COVID-19 ordinances, it is important to consider your situation and the risk to you, your family, your community, and the troop members before venturing out. Three factors to assess are:

  1. Vaccination rates for participants
  2. Medical risk factors for COVID-19
  3. Local COVID-19 rates for the community/destination.

For the most up-to-date COVID-19 guidance, visit CDC COVID-19 Community Level, State of Illinois COVID-19 Response, and the State of Indiana COVID-19 Response sites, and refer to the chart below for additional council guidelines.

Currently, individuals ages 5 and over are eligible for vaccines. An individual is considered fully vaccinated 2 weeks after the 2nd shot of the Pfizer/Moderna vaccinations, or 2 weeks after the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen 1-shot vaccination. Unless otherwise noted, the council guidelines listed below are for all participants, regardless of vaccination status. You are allowed to ask individuals ages 18 and over for their vaccination status. For individuals ages 5-17, you would need to ask the individual’s parents/guardians. For situations where you are unsure of vaccination status, it is recommended to follow the guidelines for participants who are not fully vaccinated.

Additionally, the CDC recommends all eligible individuals should receive a booster shot. Please visit the CDC website for when you should receive one based on your last vaccination type.

*If wearing face masks, they should fit snugly over the nose, mouth and chin. See the CDC website for recommendations on making the best decision for your situation.

Safety Guidelines for In-Person Meetings
  • In-person gathering is entirely voluntary.
  • Troop leaders, with input from their members, will decide on any mask protocols that best work their situations.
  • Please review the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) advisory for adults 65 years of age and older and those with underlying medical conditions before voluntarily deciding to participate in any in-person gathering.

Group Size

  • Group size includes the required number of adults pursuant to Safety Activity Checkpoints.
  • Group size depends on the current phase or advisory level where the meeting is taking place.
    • In general, group sizes can be larger if gathering outside.
    • Groups meeting indoors at a public space, like a community center, should follow the capacity as stated by the venue.
    • If meeting inside a home or private residence, the group size should be such that 6 feet can be comfortably maintained among all participants and any additional residents.

Additional Recommended Precautions 

  • 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.

Limited Personal Contact

  • Hugs, handshakes, “high-fives,” and even activities like the friendship circle or squeeze can transmit COVID-19 from person to person. For groups that contain individuals who are not fully vaccinated, refrain from these gestures for the time being. Create a safe way for girls and volunteers to greet and end meetings instead (like tapping elbows).

First Aid Supplies

  • Troop first aid supplies should include COVID-19 prevention items such as 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.

First Aid/CPR Training

  • Keep skills up-to-date for any emergency, as required.

Disinfectants and Disinfecting

  • Routinely clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that are frequently touched (e.g., tabletops, 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 or 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water.
  • See the CDC’s website for more on cleaning and disinfecting community facilities.

Face Coverings

  • Troop leaders, with input from their members, will decide on any mask protocols that work best for their situations.
  • If the troop decides to continue wearing masks, 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.
COVID-19 Exposure or Symptoms

If you’ve been exposed to COVID-19, or are experiencing any of the following symptoms, please complete the self-checker from the CDC to determine the best course of action. If you need to quarantine or isolate, you can find further information on the CDC website.

In the past 48 hours, have you experienced any of the following symptoms:

  • Fever or feeling feverish (such as chills, sweating)
  • Cough
  • Mild or moderate difficulty breathing (breathing slightly faster than normal, feeling like you can’t inhale or exhale, or wheezing, especially during exhaling or breathing out)
  • Sore throat
  • Muscle aches or body aches
  • Unusual fatigue
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
Meeting Location

Meeting Location

  • Outdoor meetings are encouraged to reduce safety risks. Indoor meetings that include participants who are not fully vaccinated are allowed but are discouraged due to the additional safety risk. Indoor meetings should have adequate ventilation and cleaning procedures in place. All gatherings must have space for social distancing.
  • Meetings at a home are never recommended out of concern of greater risk of exposure to other family members and other safety risks. Use only if all other options have been exhausted. While council pre-approval is temporarily removed for meeting at a home or private residence, an email must still be sent to meetingathome@girlscoutsgcnwi.org with the name of the troop or other group planning to meet at a home, the homeowner’s name, address of the property and proof of insurance.

Requirements for Approval of Meetings at a Home

The approval requirement is temporarily removed as we understand that finding space to meet is challenging. An email must still be sent to meetingathome@girlscoutsgcnwi.org with the name of the troop or other group planning to meet at a home, the homeowner’s name, address of the property and proof of insurance.

Registered/Background Checked Member

Homeowner must be a registered, background-checked volunteer.

Proof of Insurance

Proof must be provided that the homeowner maintains a minimum of $100,000 of Homeowner’s Liability coverage. The declaration page of the homeowner’s insurance coverage serves as proof of coverage.

Please note: Homeowners must be aware of the risk the homeowner is assuming. Generally, the homeowner’s insurance is the primary insurance coverage. The council’s general liability insurance is secondary.

Safety Precautions

The homeowner must agree to the following precautions to make the meeting area as safe as possible.  

Properly secure/prevent access by girls to:

  • Pets
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Firearms and weapons
  • Pornographic materials, including access to family computing devices (e.g. laptops and tablets) that could be used to access such materials
  • Prescription and non-prescription medicine
  • Other legal and illegal drugs
  • Trampolines
  • Pool areas, unless swimming activities take place with a certified lifeguard in attendance 
  • Chemical cleaning solutions 
  • Tools and power equipment  
  • Busy streets

Take precautions to prevent physical and sexual harm. 

  • Girls may not meet at a home where a registered sex offender lives.
  • Girls must not be left alone. Use the buddy system in a socially distant manner. 
  • Plan short meetings to avoid the need for access to a bathroom inside the home.

Maintain a safe physical space. 

  • The lighting system must illuminate entrances, walkways, and parking areas. 
  • Sidewalks and exterior stairs must be clear of debris, snow and ice at all times. 
  • Steps must be clear of trip and fall hazards. 
  • Stairs must have handrails and railings, both of which must be secure. 
  • Extension cords must be tucked away so that they will not be walked on or trip someone.
  • Electrical outlets must be protected with covers.

To notify the council about holding meetings at a home, send an email to meetingathome@girlscoutsgcnwi.org with the name of the troop or other group planning to meet at a home, the homeowner’s name, address of the property and proof of insurance.

Reporting a Positive COVID-19 Test

All girl and volunteer health information is private and strictly confidential. 

In the event that a person who attends an in-person Girl Scout gathering receives a COVID-19 positive test result, we ask that the individual contact the volunteer in charge of the gathering (e.g. troop leader, or Service Unit Manager) directly.  The volunteer in charge should notify others who may have had exposure to the individual.

Volunteers must protect the identity and confidentiality of any individual with a positive test result while notifying others who may have been exposed to that individual. All health information is private/confidential to be shared only on a need to know basis.

Transportation

Carpooling and public transportation should be avoided, where possible to maintain social distancing. If carpooling includes riders who are not fully vaccinated, space out the riders to avoid crowding, and keep the windows partially open to provide ventilation. Consider if riders live with an immune compromised person that they can put at risk. If so, make other transportation arrangements.

Day Trips and Travel

Day Trips and Activities

  • Follow Safety Activity Checkpoints, including all recommendations in this these guidelines.
  • 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.
  • Make whatever appropriate accommodations that are necessary. For example, bring extra sanitizer if none will be provided for public use at the activity location.

Travel and Overnight Stays

  • Safety of our girls and members is our highest priority.
  • Trips that include only fully vaccinated participants -- Travel and overnight trips that include only girls and adults who have been fully vaccinated are permitted. Fully vaccinated means at least 2 weeks after the second shot of the Pfizer/Moderna vaccinations, or at least 2 weeks after the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen 1-shot vaccination. Plan accordingly to allow time for full vaccination.   
  • Trips that include unvaccinated individuals -- Girls and adults who are not fully vaccinated are discouraged from overnight trips and travel. Troop leaders, with input from their members, will decide on any COVID-19 precautions that best work for their situations. 
  • Troop and family camping opportunities are available on council properties.
  • Troops are encouraged to participate in outdoor activities as much as possible when in-person, including trips. If attending a non-council camp, stay at a location that complies with CDC COVID-19 recommendations.
  • International travel involves a much higher degree of risk to participants and to the success of the trip. For all international travel, pay close attention to the situation at the international destination. All participants must be aware of the risks and families must make their own decision about participation. Check for current CDC requirements for all air passengers arriving in the U.S (e.g. proof of negative COVID-19 testing or recovery from COVID-19), which may require additional planning to ensure re-entry.
  • All travel and overnight stays must be approved by the usual Trip and Travel process.
Virtual Meetings and Activities

Meeting options may need to be flexible based on the fluid nature of COVID-19 risk. Troops may wish to continue to host online meetings or host a combination of virtual and in-person engagement.

Visit Girl Scouts from Home for resources, guidelines and a link to Safety Activity Checkpoints for Virtual Meetings to guide your meeting plans.


Free Curbside Pick-Up Guidelines

For the convenience of our customers, orders can be placed online at shop.girlscoutsgcnwi.org. In-person shopping is available at selected Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana Gathering Place shops. Please check here for location, date, and times for in-person shopping and pickup.