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COVID-19 Updates

Last updated Oct. 25, 2021

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

The response to the pandemic continues to change as infection rates rise and fall in different areas. This information will continue to be updated as local and national directives change. 

GSWPA Offices

Updated Oct. 25, 2021

Our staff is available to support you Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. by:

You do not need to pre-schedule appointments to visit our council shops during shop hours. Drop-offs and deliveries will be accepted at office locations.

And Friday, 9 a.m.-noon by:

Please note, our offices are open to visitors Monday-Thursday for pre-scheduled business meetings, maintenance, and deliveries only. We are closed to the public on Fridays (except during Cookie Program).

Masks that cover the mouth and nose are required at all times regardless of vaccination status at council properties, offices, shops, and programs/activities. This includes all girls and adults, shop customers, and council staff.

GSWPA Shops

GSWPA shops open 

Updated Sept. 28, 2021

GSWPA shops are open for in-person shopping. See Shop Hours and Locations for full hours. 

GSWPA mask requirements for shoppers and staff:

To help protect our Girl Scouts, staff, and their families, we are updating our council mask policy to align with the Order of the Acting Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health Directing Face Coverings in School Entities.

Effective immediately:

  • Masks that cover the mouth and nose are required at all times regardless of vaccination status at council properties, offices, shops, and programs/activities. This includes all girls and adults, shop customers, and council staff.

Please practice social distancing from other people who are not from your household and wash hands frequently.

In-Store Shopping, Curbside Pickup, and Mail Orders

Our Edinboro, Greensburg, and Pittsburgh shops are offering in-store shopping, as well as curbside pickup, and mail orders. Contact us at 800-248-3355 or customercare@gswpa.org to place an order, or submit your order with this form. Browse or shop at shop.gswpa.org anytime.

The shipping rates, when ordering directly through one of our shops, are lower than shopping online. These rates are effective Sept. 7, 2021:

Up to 6 badges or patches $1.25
Orders $.01-49.99 $4.95
Orders $50-98.99 $9.95
Orders $99+ $12.95
In-person Events/Programs

In-person events and activities

Updated Sept. 28, 2021

Our council is offering in-person events and activities, as well as virtual programs. Please check our Activities list for upcoming offerings.

Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania mask requirements for all programs/activities, shops, and properties:

To help protect our Girl Scouts, staff, and their families, we are updating our council mask policy to align with the Order of the Acting Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health Directing Face Coverings in School Entities.

Effective immediately:

  • Masks that cover the mouth and nose are required at all times regardless of vaccination status at council properties, offices, shops, and programs/activities. This includes all girls and adults, shop customers, and council staff.
  • Girls and adults may remove masks for boating, water fun, riding horses, climbing, eating, and sleeping at camp. For more information on exceptions to the mask requirement, see Section 3 of the Acting Secretary’s order.
  • Masks may be removed during outdoor activities only when social distancing of six feet can be maintained.
  • Children and adults who have medical exemptions to wearing masks must show documentation from a healthcare provider at check-in for the program/activity.
    • A clear face shield must be worn by anyone with a medical mask exemption, regardless of vaccination status.
    • The face shield must wrap around the sides of the face and extends below the chin. Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania does not provide face shields.

Please practice social distancing from other people who are not from your household in both indoor and outdoor spaces and wash hands frequently.

Camp Facility Rentals

GSWPA camp rentals open

Updated June 28, 2021

We're accepting day-use and overnight rentals at each of the four GSWPA camp properties using our online reservation system. Visit our camp reservations page for full details.

  • Day-use and overnight rentals are now at full capacity.
  • For more detailed information about renting any GSWPA camp properties, please visit our Reserving a Camp page.
Troop Meetings & Activities

Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania may modify this guidance, from time to time as circumstances change. This document is intended to help volunteers determine if they are prepared to hold in person activities with their troop and elements to consider in planning those activities.

Parent Permission Form

During this time, the COVID-19 Permission Form is replacing the Parent Permission Form. Please have this form completed by caregivers when you return to in-person meetings or activities.
 

Troop Meetings

Updated August 20, 2021

Meeting Locations:
At this time, troops can participate in activities outside the counties of GSWPA. Outdoor spaces where social distancing can be maintained are strongly recommended for meetings. Get advance permission from the property owner or the jurisdiction that provides the location.

GSWPA will permit troops to meet at private residences/property, with strict adherence to CDC and state guidelines. To be approved for this troop meeting option, you must complete an application. A GSWPA staff person will review the request and notify the applicant of approval or request more information. 

Meetings may not be held at fitness centers or gyms where a greater risk for contracting the virus may exist. Schools or churches may not permit outside groups on-premises, so always check and confirm ahead of time.

Meeting Size:
Indoor and outdoor events must follow the current state gathering limits.

The current suggestion from GSUSA is to keep your group's size as small as possible to allow for social distancing while maintaining volunteer-to-girl ratio. Follow all local and CDC restrictions.  

If you have a large troop, stay connected while you wait for a safe time for everyone to gather. Large troops are wonderful, so stay together! Some ideas:

  • Host virtual troop meetings.
  • Gather up in smaller groups—such as age-level groups, patrols, or groups of girls with a particular badge they’d like to work on. Each group must maintain volunteer-to-girl ratio.

Mask requirements for indoor and outdoor troop meetings and activities:

  • Masks that cover the mouth and nose are required at all times, regardless of vaccination status.
  • Girls and adults may remove masks for these activities: boating, water fun, riding horses, climbing, eating, and sleeping.

Please practice social distancing from other people who are not from your household in both indoor and outdoor spaces and wash hands frequently.

Transportation

Updated July 28, 2021

Individual parents drop off and pick up their own girls from meetings. Carpooling and public transportation should be avoided, when possible, to maintain social distancing.

If carpooling is required, all travelers should wear masks and wash or sanitize their hands before and after traveling. It is recommended that windows remain open to improve ventilation. See the CDC’s full guidance on using transportation.

Virtual meetings. 

Meeting options may need to be flexible based on the fluid nature of COVID-19 risk. Troops that can run online meetings as needed (or wanted) should do so. GSUSA recommends continuing occasional virtual meetings to keep tech skills and virtual meeting habits fresh. Virtual meetings are also a great alternative for inclement weather.  Use the Safety Activity Checkpoints for Virtual Meetings to guide your meeting plans.

Other helpful resources can be found here.
 

Day trips and activities

Updated May 3, 2020

Troop activities and day trips are now permitted beyond the counties of GSWPA, including out-of-state travel. In conjunction with Safety Activity Checkpoints, follow the same guidance as the Troop Meetings and Hygiene and the COVID-19 Risk Mitigation guidance.  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 equipment at the gym. Make whatever appropriate accommodations that are necessary. For example, bring extra sanitizer if none will be provided for public use at the activity location.

Troop Travel & Overnights

Travel and overnight stays

Updated May 3, 2021

Troop day trips, overnights, and out-of-state travel is permitted at this time. International travel is not permitted.

If your troop is planning high-adventure activities, to travel more than 200 miles round-trip, or an overnight trip, you must complete a Trip and High Adventure Application for approval. No international travel will be approved at this time. Please note that due to an increased volume of applications, review time may take a bit longer than usual.

Check back here for additional guidance and dates as it becomes available.  

Volunteer Training/Certification

In-person training/certification

Updated Oct. 6, 2021

GSWPA is now offering in-person training. Find more details and a link to register on our Activities page.

To help protect our Girl Scouts, staff, and their families, we are updating our council mask policy to align with the Order of the Acting Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health Directing Face Coverings in School Entities.

Effective immediately:

  • Masks that cover the mouth and nose are required at all times regardless of vaccination status at council properties, offices, shops, and programs/activities. This includes all girls and adults, shop customers, and council staff.
  • Girls and adults may remove masks for boating, water fun, riding horses, climbing, eating, and sleeping at camp. For more information on exceptions to the mask requirement, see Section 3 of the Acting Secretary’s order.
  • Masks may be removed during outdoor activities only when social distancing of six feet can be maintained.

Please practice social distancing from other people who are not from your household in both indoor and outdoor spaces and wash hands frequently.

Hygiene and the COVID-19 Risk Mitigation Guidance

Face Coverings

Updated September 28, 2021

  • Masks that cover the mouth and nose are required at all times regardless of vaccination status at council properties, offices, shops, and programs/activities. This includes all girls and adults, shop customers, and council staff.
  • Girls and adults may remove masks for boating, water fun, riding horses, climbing, eating, and sleeping at camp. For more information on exceptions to the mask requirement, see Section 3 of the Acting Secretary’s order.
  • Masks may be removed during outdoor activities only when social distancing of six feet can be maintained.
  • Children and adults who have medical exemptions to wearing masks must show documentation from a healthcare provider at check-in for the program/activity.
    • A clear face shield must be worn by anyone with a medical mask exemption, regardless of vaccination status.
    • The face shield must wrap around the sides of the face and extends below the chin. Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania does not provide face shields.

Please practice social distancing from other people who are not from your household in both indoor and outdoor spaces and wash hands frequently.

Volunteers should remind girls that Girl Scouts wear face coverings (masks) not only to protect themselves but 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. 

Disinfectants and Disinfecting

Routinely clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that are frequently touched (i.e., table tops, 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.).  Cleaning and disinfecting should be done by adults and older girls.

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 (1/3 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.

Hygiene and COVID-19 Risk Mitigation

Follow the resources developed by credible public health sources such as CDC or your local public health department. Share these with girls and volunteers and ensure that they are practiced during meetings and activities. Place signs in the meeting or activity space to remind girls and volunteers to engage in everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Signs should include:

  • 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.
  • Parents/guardians should be reminded to make sure temperatures are taken prior to group interaction to confirm the individual is not running a fever and temperature is a normal 98.6 degrees  Members with fever or temperature higher than 98.6 should skip the in-person gathering until their temperature is normal.

Personal Contact

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.