COVID-19 INFORMATION
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COVID-19 INFORMATION

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Girl Scouts of Southern Alabama Important Updates & Frequently Asked Questions

updated 7/2/20 3:18 pm

We will tentatively open our Service Centers to the public on August 3rd. Our Retail Shops ARE OPEN and will remain open only on Wednesdays from 12-4 p.m., with the option of curbside delivery. There will be a one person at a time limit in the retail shops. 

The safety and welfare of our girls is Girl Scouts of Southern
Alabama’s top priority. We are hearing from our community, and many families and volunteers are concerned about the spread of COVID-19 in our state. Below are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions. We will be adding frequently asked questions to this document as they come up. If you have a question, please email  customercare@girlscoutssa.org or call 1-800-239-6636.

 

Programs to Keep Your Girl Actively Learning

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Does GSSA have an online conferencing tool that my Troop or Service Unit can use to meet virtually?

While we cannot endorse or support specific online meeting tools for your use, we are aware of several tools troops and Service Units are using for virtual meetings. See below for a list of free and low-cost tools that could be useful to you. We encourage troop leaders to look at these and alternative options and discuss with parents and girls to determine what the best solution is for your troop’s needs. 

Supporting Your Troop When You Can't Meet in Person

Video and Audio-Conferencing Tools with free versions 

Safety Activity Checkpoints for Virtual Meetings

While all of these options have a free version, please note you may be prompted to consider their upgraded versions for a subscription fee.

  • Zoom - FAQ
    • Note: Meetings durations maximum of 40 minutes in free version
  • Skype - Support
    • Note: Up to 10 participants free
  • Webex – Help Center
    • Note: Limited file and content sharing in free version

Chat and Collaboration Tools with free versions

Additional low-cost tools for collaboration and conferencing to consider if the above options do not meet your group's needs.

What is GSSA doing in response to COVID-19?

Girl Scouts of Southern Alabama is actively monitoring the Centers for Disease Control (CDC),  and the Alabama Department of Public Health so we can respond quickly to any shifts in their recommendations. Based on public health authorities’ current guidance, GSSA has updated our recommendations for Girl Scouts across our council. We will also be taking several actions to support the health and well-being of our girls, members, and the community:

  • All council-led GSSA programming is canceled until August 3, 2020, potentially longer depending on civic and public authority directives. Feel free to check out the activities calendar for updates.
  • All volunteer-led activities such as troop meetings can proceed. We recommend that you follow these guidelines
  • Camporees are canceled through July 31st when we will reassess this situation. This guidance extends to events held on or off Girl Scout property.
  • Girl Scout camps are closed through July 31, 2020, with closures reassessed and potentially extended at that time.
  • Options for virtual meetings are shared above. 
  • We will tentatively open our Service Centers to the public on August 3rd. Our Retail Shops ARE OPEN and will remain open only on Wednesdays from 12-4 p.m., with the option of curbside delivery. There will be a one person at a time limit in the retail shops. Face coverings are mandated in the cities of Montgomery and Mobile so we do require them in our offices.  Our aim is to also follow the request of the public health authorities and minimize people gathering together.

Staff will be telecommuting and Customer Care will continue to be available at customercare@girlscoutssa.org and 1-800-239-6636. Staff will also be available for appointments only at our Service Centers. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

This is a quickly evolving situation and we will stay in touch with members about any additional changes in public health recommendations and how they affect Girl Scout programming. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we figure out our next steps.

When Will There be Council Programs?

All council-led GSSA programming is canceled until August 3, 2020, potentially longer depending on civic and public authority directives. Feel free to check out the activities calendar for updates. All volunteer-led activities such as troop meetings can proceed. We recommend that you follow these guidelines. Camporees are canceled through July 31st when we will reassess this situation. This guidance extends to events held on or off Girl Scout property.

Girl Scout camps are closed through July 31, 2020, with closures reassessed and potentially extended at that time.

What steps can girls and volunteers take to prevent the spread of COVID-19?

Please follow all of the steps recommended by the CDC (see https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention.html). The same simple steps that prevent the spread of ordinary flu viruses work against COVID-19 and other illnesses:

  • Clean your hands often

    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

 

  • Avoid close contact

    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
    • Put distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.

 

  • Cover coughs and sneezes

    • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
    • Throw used tissues in the trash.
    • Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

 

  • Wear a facemask if you are sick

    • If you are sick:  You should wear a facemask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office. If you are not able to wear a facemask (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), then you should do your best to cover your coughs and sneezes, and people who are caring for you should wear a facemask if they enter your room. Learn what to do if you are sick.
    • If you are NOT sick: You do not need to wear a facemask unless you are caring for someone who is sick (and they are not able to wear a facemask). Facemasks may be in short supply and they should be saved for caregivers.

 

  • Clean and disinfect

    • Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
    • If surfaces are dirty, clean them: Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.

Having trouble finding hand sanitizer? Good thing we're Girl Scouts! Try making some at home with this recipe.

Be a Source of Calm and Comfort

Girl Scouts of the USA has developed a helpful resource for How to Talk to Your Girl About Coronavirus to help minimize stress and worry in your Girl Scout’s life and give her a sense of calm and control.

Thank you for your help in keeping Girl Scouts a safe, fun space for everyone! If you have questions about how the coronavirus may impact Girl Scout activities, please contact us.

Summer Camp Cancellation FAQs

Letter to Families Who Registered for Summer Camp 2020

Why are you making the decision to cancel camp so early?

We have waited as long as possible to make this decision and sought the counsel of many. Even considering that our camps adhere to the most stringent safety protocols and that stay-at-home orders could lift in early summer, social distancing and crowd limits will likely remain in effect, and too much is still unknown with respect to the spread of the virus. Additionally, opening resident camp in June would mean convening girls, young adults, and our staff early in the post-outbreak recovery period. We are simply not willing to risk gathering large numbers of Girl Scouts together before we know it is truly safe to do so.

How quickly will I receive a refund for my child’s camp registration deposit and/or fees?

Refunds for money paid for 2020 summer camp will be automatically processed in the original form of payment. We’ll begin processing refunds on April 27th, although it may take up to 2 weeks for you to see the refund. If you haven’t received a refund by May 11th, please contact customercare@girlscoutssa.org.

What can my girl/troop do with the Program Credits they earned last year that are expiring in August 2020?

We know girls work extremely hard during the Girl Scout Cookie Program to earn Program Credits for camp. To ensure girls can still use their Program Credits, the following changes have been put into effect:

  • Program Credits expiration for 2018-2019 Cookie Program and Fall Product Program (originally expires August 2020) has been extended to April 2021.
  • Program Credits may be applied to:
    • Council-sponsored programs
    • Retail purchases
    • Girl and Adult Renewals

What if my girl earned the camp three-day experience during the cookie program?

The product program team will be reaching out to the parents of these girls individually. Girls who chose a camp three-day experience as a Cookie Program incentive will be given the option to carry it over to next year, or they may switch this incentive to the Program Credit Option.

If there is no summer camp, will troops and service units be able to reserve the properties?

As previously announced, all GSSA properties remain closed to the public at this time. When we know it is safe to re-open our properties, we will let our members know.

In the late summer and into the fall, we hope to open camps for troop camping, and we are committed to providing as many camp-like opportunities as we possibly can and as the situation allows.

Can I still hold my own volunteer-based summer/ day camp later in the summer?

At this time, we cannot allow plans for Service Unit and troop day camps to move forward.  However, this may change later in the summer and into the fall. We will make our decision regarding the opening of camps later in the summer based on guidance from the American Camp Association and the government advises. For insurance and safety purposes, we ask that you partner with us as you are making plans for any late-summer day camps.

In School Girl Scout Programming (STEAM TEAM)

Cookie Incentives- we will work out a pickup date/time at each school that isn't close to a Girl Scouts of Southern Alabama office.

Can My Troop Meet In-Person
  • All volunteer-led activities such as troop meetings can proceed. We recommend that you follow these guidelines. Camporees are canceled through July 31st when we will reassess this situation. This guidance extends to events held on or off Girl Scout property.
  • Girl Scout camps are closed through July 31, 2020, with closures reassessed and potentially extended at that time.
Retail and Online Shops

Our Retail Shops ARE OPEN and will remain open only on Wednesdays from 12-4 p.m., with the option of curbside delivery. There will be a one person at a time limit in the retail shops. If using curbside delivery, please give us at least a 2-hour notice. 

Face coverings are mandated by city of Montgomery and Mobile. We do require them to enter both of our Service Centers. 

If you are placing a PICKUP ORDER, please fill a SHOP ORDER FORM out and email it to our Customer Care Team. We are also still accepting orders through email and we will be honoring free shipping (not expedited) until July 15th. 

Questions or concerns?

Contact us using this form or call 1(800) 239-6636.