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COVID-19 Guidelines

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

Update: January 19, 2021

As many municipalities in our council are reporting a decrease in COVID-19 cases and local restrictions are eased, and to positively contribute to the social-emotional wellbeing of our girls and volunteers, we are excited to announce updated guidelines to allow for limited small group, outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people. 

Effective immediately:

  • Outdoor gatherings of 10 or less people, social distanced and wearing face coverings at all times are permitted.
  • Indoor engagement continues to be prohibited due to the higher risk.
  • Meeting options may need to be flexible based on the fluid nature of the COVID-19 risk. We encourage a blend of virtual engagement and in-person engagement. Discounted Zoom licenses are available to Girl Scout volunteers.
Safety Guidelines for In-Person Meetings
  • Outdoor, in-person gathering is entirely voluntary.
  • All participants must wear a face covering (mask) on the nose and mouth at all times.
  • Those who elect to attend an in-person meeting must review and sign our statement to be retained by the troop leader. 
    Download the agreement »   
  • All attendees must complete a self-screening assessment (below) prior to meeting.
  • Guidelines will apply to all GSGCNWI members, regardless of state residency. 
  • 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.

Meeting Size

  • Small groups of 10 or fewer individuals may gather. Two of the ten individuals must be unrelated adult volunteers. Safety precautions must be are observed, including the mandatory wearing of masks. 

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.

No Personal Contact Allowed

  • Hugs, handshakes, “high-fives,” and even activities like the friendship circle or squeeze can transmit COVID-19 from person to person. 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 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.

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 (i.e., 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

  • Girl Scouts and volunteers must wear face coverings (masks) to protect themselves and 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 GSGCNWI at customercare@girlscoutsgcnwi.org for guidance on how best to handle exceptional circumstances as they arise.
Self-Screening Assessment

Prior to in-person troop meetings and activities, all participants must perform a self-health assessment, answering the following questions:

  1. In the past two weeks, have you been in close physical contact (6 feet or closer for a cumulative total of 15 minutes) with:
    • Someone who is known to have laboratory-confirmed COVID-19?
    • Someone who has any symptoms consistent with COVID-19?
  2. Are you isolating or quarantining because you may have been exposed to a person with COVID-19 or are worried that you may be sick with COVID-19?
  3. Are you waiting on the results of a COVID-19 test?
  4. In the past 48 hours, have you experienced any of the following symptoms:
    • Fever or chills?
    • Cough?
    • Congestion or runny nose?
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing?
    • Fatigue?
    • Sore throat?
    • Muscle aches or body aches?
    • Headache?
    • Nausea or vomiting?
    • Diarrhea?
    • New loss of taste or smell?

Individuals answering yes to any questions must stay home and should contact their personal healthcare provider for further evaluation.

Download a printable version to send to participants [PDF].

Meeting Location

Meeting Location

  • Gatherings may take place only outdoors with space for social distancing. We encourage finding outdoor space on the property of schools, park districts, libraries, houses of worship, community buildings, childcare facilities, and local businesses.
  • Consider hikes and other outdoor adventures even into the winter months.
  • Use the Volunteer Toolkit (VTK) for ideas on badge activities that can be done outdoors. The Get Girls Outside Icon feature is denoted by the tree icon on both the YEAR PLAN and MEETING AGENDA tabs. The icon will turn green if the outdoor plan is selected for that activity
  • Check out the council’s Backyard challenge patches for more fun ideas.
  • Outdoor meetings at a home (in the back and front yard) are not 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. Pre-approval is required. Among other requirements, council approval requires proof of homeowner’s insurance. Approval requirements follow. Requests will be considered on a case by case basis.
Requirements for Approval of Outdoor Meetings at Home

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 request permission to hold an outdoor meeting at a home, send an email to customercare@girlscoutsgcnwi.org. with the name of the troop or other group planning to meet outdoors 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 is used, always space out the girls to avoid crowding, have girls wear a mask and keep the windows partially open to provide ventilation. Consider if girls 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.
  • Activities must be outdoors.
  • 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

  • Overnight trips and travel are not permitted at this time.
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

Orders can only be placed online at shop.girlscoutsgcnwi.org. Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana Gathering Place shops will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. for curbside pick-up ONLY on select days Please check here for location, date and pickup time.

Locations and Dates

LOCATIONS
Greene Wood, Homewood, Joliet, Merrillville and Vernon Hills

CURBSIDE DATES AND TIMES

JANUARY 2021
9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

  • Thursday, Jan 14
  • Tuesday, Jan 19
  • Wednesday, Jan 27

FEBRUARY 2021
9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

  • Thursday, Feb 4
  • Monday, Feb 8
  • Tuesday, Feb 16
  • Wednesday, Feb 24

MARCH 2021
9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

  • Thursday, Mar 4
  • Monday, Mar 8
  • Tuesday, Mar 16
  • Wednesday, Mar 24
Curbside Pickup Safety Guidelines

We’ve reviewed safety protocols for our employees that need to be in our offices to prepare orders and we are taking precautions to ensure that we are being as safe as possible to return to the safest way possible to get your items to you.

The following guidelines will be strictly observed for all GCNWI shopping experiences:

  • Curbside pick-up will be by appointment only and on the days and times specified for curbside pickup. Customers will schedule their designated curbside pick-up appointment at the time they place their order online at shop.girlscoutsgcnwi.org.
  • Orders MUST be placed online five days prior to the pickup date for the week.
  • We DO NOT have the ability to ring sales for drive up customers.
  • Customers must wear a mask covering their mouth and nose. GCNWI will refuse service if a customer isn’t wearing a mask.
  • Customers will text their name and location to the number provided when they arrive on the day they selected to pick up their order.
  • Customer Care and/or a Retail Specialist will take the customer’s order and put it on a table outside the building. Customers will remain in their vehicle until order has been placed on the table. If there is inclement weather, the order will be placed in the foyer and the customer will be contacted.
  • There will be no inside access to the Gathering Place.
  • Bathrooms are not available to the public.


For questions regarding our curbside pick-up shopping experience or any of the above guidelines, visit the shop website to read their Frequently Asked Questions, contact GCNWI’s Customer Care Team at 855-456-8347 or customercare@girlscoutsgcnwi.org.


Cookie Booths

The NEW Cookie Season starts January 1, 2021

Please note these are subject to change in coordination with the CDC recommended guidelines.

If you, your co-leaders, the girls and their parents are ready to get out to a booth site, all safety precautions must be followed.

Think “out of the box” when choosing a booth site during COVID-19.  Where are people who are going out actually going? To grocery stores, car washes, where else? Try to secure a site that is well populated. If any location needs a Certificate of Insurance, please connect with CJ at cjones@girlscoutsgcnwi.org

Guidelines

All Girl Scouts and volunteers are expected to follow the guidelines below when participating.

2021 Cookie Booth Guidelines

Your safety is our first concern.

If you, your co-leaders, the girls and their parents are ready to get out to a booth site, we need you to think safety first

Basics

  • All Parents and Guardians must approve if their child goes to a cookie booth.   
  • Girls should wear Girl Scout apparel or display their Girl Scout pins.
  • You must remain at your booth site the entire duration of the hours you signed up for, or until you sell out of cookies. 
  • Arrive no more than 10 minutes before your scheduled time.  The troop before you is scheduled until the end of their time slot.  You cannot sell cookies before the beginning of your time slot.  Manage the transition with the previous troop smoothly, keeping social distancing in the forefront.
  • If the troop following you has not shown up, you may continue to sell until they arrive. 
  • Bring with you to your booth
    • Table, chairs if needed/allowed by the store that gave you permission to sell.
    • Popular Girl Scout cookie varieties (i.e. Thin Mints, Samoas) are a MUST! 
    • Cash box/bag with enough cash to make change         
    • Card reader
    • PPE includes hand sanitizer, masks for all, gloves if desired.  Keep social distancing in mind. 
    • Posters (large enough for passers-by to see from a distance.) Anyone holding a poster should be with/near an adult and should not be on the street or curbside.  Safety first.
    • Pop up tent optional.  (The tent should attract people…large lettered posters on the tent would be a plus!)
  • Social distancing is required.  Create a boundary in front of table to maintain social distancing from customers.
  • Masks that cover mouth and nose should be worn by Girl Scout and customers at all times
  • If gloves are not worn, use hand sanitizer after each transaction
  • No personal contact (hugs, handshakes)
  • Do not hand out samples at your booth.
  • Girls/adults should eat and drink away from the booth site.  No food or drink should be on the booth site display. 
  • No smoking by adults/girls anywhere near the cookie booth.
  • Bling your booth!  Include posters, cookie costumes, music.
  • Think about accepting credit cards and display a sign-“We accept credit cards!”. 
  • Consider the possibility that rest rooms may not be available for the duration of your cookie booth.  In the event there are restrooms, girls should use the buddy system when visiting the restroom. 
  • Consider donating a box of cookies as a courtesy to the business your booth may be located by. 
  • At the end of your shift quietly pack up all items, clean up, take all your trash with you, and leave the area cleaner than you found it. If you are the last booth slot, please leave on time.
  • If you must cancel, go back into eBudde to release the location

Security

  • Cookie booths should be attended by 2 adults and 2 girls.  Additional girls and adults can be present to guide customers to the booth.
    • *Booths can be attended by adults only during Covid-19.
  • For the well-being of the girls, only adults should be handling money or credit card transactions during Covid-19.
  • Use caution as booths may be set up in a parking lot.
    • *Cookie booth locations can utilize additional girls/adults to guide traffic to the booth location.  As an example, girls can hold posters at a street corner to advertise their cookie booth (an adult must also be present, and think safety.)
  • Girls should stay close to their booth with no running around. 
  • Take away all garbage and cookie cases when you leave your site.  Remember, Girl Scouts always leave a place cleaner than they found it!
  • If confronted by an individual about Girl Scouts or the Girl Scout program, do not engage in debate.  Refer the individual to the product program team at 855-ILOVE GS   X 6722 or product program@girlscoutsgcnwi.org.  If you feel threatened, call 911.
  • Remember, we are all responsible for the reputation of Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana.  Protect that reputation and our relationships with the businesses that support us with booth site opportunities. 
  • All Girl Scouts and Leaders are expected to follow the above guidelines when participating in cookie booths 2020.

Fun Tips

  • Bring hand warmers
  • Bring a clear shower curtain with you in case it snows or rains so customers can still see your product!
  • Bring a cart along with you to carry cookies from your car to the site
  • If it is really cold weather, flatten an empty case and stand on it to keep your feet off the cold ground.

If you have questions about the cookie booths, please reach out to our Product Program team directly at productprogram@girlscoutsgcnwi.org.


Additional Information

Girl Scouts GCNWI Gathering Places remain closed, and staff is working remotely.

Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana cares deeply about the health and safety of our Girl Scout members and families.

COVID-19 is an extremely contagious virus that spreads easily in the community. Our recommendations require everyone to take all reasonable precautions to limit potential exposure for girls, volunteers, and families.

Should any conditions change, these sets of guidelines will be adjusted to reflect new information or changes noted by federal or state health agencies. All current guidelines will be posted and updated as necessary on our website, and alerts will be sent to member families via email.