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COVID-19 Updates

Last updated Tuesday, April 6, 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. 

Our customer care team is available for questions Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Friday, 9 a.m.-noon, via phone 800-248-3355, email at customercare@gswpa.org, or by completing our online form

GSWPA Offices

GSWPA offices closed to public

All council offices are closed to the public until further notice. Our staff is working remotely and available to support you Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Friday, 9 a.m.-noon, via phone 800-248-3355, email at customercare@gswpa.org, or by completing our online form

GSWPA Shops

GSWPA shops open 

Beginning March 22, GSWPA shops will return to normal hours for in-person shopping following local and CDC guidelines. See Shop Hours and Locations for full hours. 

Virtual shopping, curbside pickup, and free shipping

Our Edinboro, Greensburg, and Pittsburgh shops continue to offer live virtual shopping experiences, curbside pickup and consignments, and free shipping on orders totaling $99 or more. Shipping is just $2.95 for orders less than $99. 

In-person Events/Programs

In-person events and activities planned for spring

Updated April 6, 2021

GSWPA is planning in-person events and activities. Please check our Activities list for upcoming offerings.

Registration maximums will be based on current state gathering limits for indoor and outdoor events.

At GSWPA activities, all attendees are required to:

  • Wear face coverings that cover the mouth and nose at all times, for both indoor and outdoor activities 
  • Practice social distancing from other people who are not from your household in both indoor and outdoor spaces
  • Wash hands frequently during the event

We will continue to offer virtual programs for our members including virtual summer camp offerings. Please check our Activities list for upcoming activities. 

Resident Camp

Registration for 2021 summer camp is open

We couldn't be more excited to welcome Girl Scouts back to summer camp! Whether she camps with her troop or by herself, girls gain valuable experience at camp that helps her courage bloom and her confidence soar. 

Camp S'more magazine offers an easy way to check out all of the great programs planned at our GSWPA camps for summer 2021. To register for a specific camp session, visit our Activities page and use the keyword search to find the camp session that interests you. 

As with every summer session, our camp directors and other staff are trained and prepared to implement all guidelines and procedures that keep camp a safe and fun experience for every camper. Learn more by visiting our camp page. 

Camp Facility Rentals

GSWPA camp rentals open

Updated April 6, 2021

We're accepting day-use and overnight rentals at each of the four GSWPA camp properties for May 1 and beyond using our online reservation system. Visit our camp reservations page for full details.

  • Day-use and overnight rental capacities are based on American Camp Association (ACA) sleeping guidelines and current state gathering limits.  
  • Capacities will increase/decrease as guidance and orders from state and local authorities is updated.
  • For more detailed information about renting any GSWPA camp properties, please contact customer care.
Troop Meetings & Activities

This guidance is being provided when a vaccine has not been made readily available. 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 Meeting Space

At this time, troops should keep activities within 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.
 

Troop Meeting Size

Updated April 6, 2021
based on Pennsylvania Department of Health Guidelines

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.
     

Transportation

Updated Oct. 1, 2020

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: Virtual Troop Meetings.

Other helpful resources can be found here.
 

Day trips and activities

Updated Oct. 1, 2020

Troop activities and day trips are now permitted beyond the counties of GSWPA, as long as troops stay within the state of Pennsylvania. 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 April 1, 2021

GSWPA is reviewing trip applications that include overnight and out-of-state travel in May and beyond. No international travel will be approved at this time.

Troop day trips are permitted beyond the counties of GSWPA, as long as troops stay within the state of Pennsylvania.

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

Volunteer Training/Certification

Outdoor Training/Certification for Volunteers

Updated April 1, 2021

GSWPA is extending the following certifications through August 31, 2021 to allow volunteers to run programs on GSWPA properties through August 31, 2021. This extension applies to certifications that expire from March 1, 2020-August 31, 2021.

  • Archery Training
  • Hatchet Throwing (Range Safety)
  • Canoe/Kayak/SUP Training
  • Lifeguard Training

This extension does not apply to any certifications that are used for activities taking place off of GSWPA properties.

GSWPA is exploring all options to be able to support volunteer training and certifications, including certifying GSWPA staff as trainers for our volunteers.

We will communicate these opportunities as they become available. Thank you for your continued patience!
 

In-person training/certification

Updated April 6, 2021

GSWPA is planning in-person training at our camp properties this spring. More details and a link to register will be posted on our Activities list it's available.

Registration maximums will be based on current state gathering limits for indoor and outdoor events.

At GSWPA activities, all attendees are required to:

  • Wear face coverings that cover the mouth and nose at all times, for both indoor and outdoor activities.
  • Practice social distancing from other people who are not from your household in both indoor and outdoor spaces.
  • Wash hands frequently during the event.
Hygiene and the COVID-19 Risk Mitigation Guidance

Face Coverings

Updated July 29, 2020

Face coverings are mandatory in the state of Pennsylvania and required at all GSWPA indoor and outdoor activities and events. 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.