side menu icon

COVID-19 INFORMATION

Wash Hands

Girl Scouts of Southern Alabama Important Updates & Frequently Asked Questions

updated 3/26/20 5:11 pm

It is with an abundance of caution that beginning, March 16 at NOON, all GSSA offices will be closed to the public and our staff will be working remotely. We are also suspending all GSSA activities, programs, meetings, and trainings until April 27 when we reassess this situation.

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.

Recent Communications Regarding COVID-19

Please refer to the most recent communications for current information and recommendations.

Sent to Membership via Chatter 3/12

Sent to Membership 3/16

Sent to Membership via Chatter 3/19

Service Unit and Troop Leadership Zoom Meeting 3/19

Sent to Membership via Chatter 3/26

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 public gatherings are discouraged/prohibited due to COVID-19?

It is unfortunate that COVID-19 is interfering with Girl Scouts’ ability to meet and learn together. Thank you all for taking steps to ensure the safety of girls in this difficult time. 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 

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 GSSA programming, both council-led and volunteer-led, is canceled through April 6, 2020, potentially longer depending on civic and public authority directives. All volunteer-led activities and programs—these include but aren’t limited to troop meetings and camporees—should be held virtually only. This guidance extends to events held on or off Girl Scout property. 
    • Options for virtual meetings are shared above. 
    • Registered participants will be contacted about cancellations and refunds as quickly as possible when decisions are made.
  • GSSA staff are working closely with 3rd party partners who offer programming to Girl Scout members to determine the best course of action, and 3rd party partners will be in contact directly with registered attendees regarding these events.
  • All GSSA offices and stores will be closed to the public through April 6, 2020, and these closures will be reassessed at that time. Our aim is to follow the request of the public health authorities and minimize people gathering together.
    • Girl Scout camps are closed through April 6, 2020, with closures reassessed and potentially extended at that time.
    • Staff will be telecommuting and Customer Care will continue to be available at  customercare@girlscoutssa.org and 1-800-239-6636. 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.

If a school or school district closes, will GSSA close also?

GSSA plans to follow school or school district closures, but this is subject to change at any time.

Following recommendations from local public health authorities, all Girl Scouts of Southern Alabama offices, stores, and camp properties will be closed until further notice. Staff will be telecommuting. Customer Care will continue to be available at customercare@girlscoutssa.org and 1-800-239-6636. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Will you be canceling any programs? How much notice will you give if you cancel any programs? Will we receive full refunds?

All GSSA programming, both council-led and volunteer-led, is canceled through April 6, 2020, potentially longer depending on civic and public authority directives. Feel free to check out the activities calendar for updates. All volunteer-led activities and programs—these include but aren’t limited to troop meetings and camporees—should be held virtually only. Camporees are canceled through April 6, when we will reassess this situation. This guidance extends to events held on or off Girl Scout property.

Girl Scout camps are closed through April 6, 2020, with closures reassessed and potentially extended at that time.

As always, if council-led programs or events need to be canceled, registered participants will receive refunds. Due to the evolving nature of this situation, cancellations may have to be made with short notice, for instance in the case of a public health directive. We will do our best to contact all those affected as quickly as possible.

Non-health-related cancellations must be received by the published registration deadline to get a refund or to transfer to a different course. Cancellations received after the published registration deadline are not refundable.

What about 3rd Party Events offered exclusively to Girl Scouts?

3rd Party Program Partners who offer events that are exclusively for Girl Scout members (like a badge workshop, journey workshop, etc.) have been asked to cancel and refund program fees to all Girl Scout participants. Ultimately, it is up to the discretion of each Program Partner to determine their cancellation and refund policy. We encourage registrants to reach out directly to the hosting organization to inquire about their cancellation terms and policies. GSSA cannot issue refunds for 3rd Party Events or Programming. We apologize for the inconvenience.

What about 3rd Party Events that include Girl Scouts and others?

3rd Party Program Partners who are hosting events that are open to Girl Scouts and others (like a theater program or sporting event) will make their own determination about any cancellations/refunds. We encourage those who have registered or purchased tickets to reach out to the hosting organization to inquire about their cancellation terms and policies. GSSA cannot issue refunds for 3rd Party Events. We apologize for the inconvenience.

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.

Following recommendations from local public health authorities, we are recommending that all members cancel or delay troop meetings, camporees and volunteer-led programming events. Information about virtual meeting options is available above.

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
  • The deadline to pay your balance off and upload forms to receive an extra $25 off is now May 1. It was originally April 1, but due to recent events, we are pushing it back.
  • So far dates for summer camp have not changed. In mid-April we will make a final decision about summer camp. We are closely monitoring official local, state, and federal guidance, and are prepared to disseminate new information to our stakeholders as it becomes available from sources such as the governor’s office, the Centers for Disease Control, the National Institutes of Health, among others
  • Payment plans were automatically set up for every Camp Doc account and as of 3/23 they have been deactivated in order to ease any financial concerns about paying for camp.
  • We will continue to update accounts with entries for Program Credits, Scholarships and Discounts as quickly as possible.

**Parents may not need to be out-of-pocket for an office visit or co-pays when their camper is healthy and just needs a camp physical.

The camper health form must be “signed by a medical professional” and many nurses do routine health assessments at minute clinics, schools and such.

The exam must have been within one year of the date the child attends camp.

Early Bird Renewal

Early Bird opens April 1st, so be sure to check out all the reasons to renew by June 30th*!!

*Deadlines have been pushed back due to COVID-19 and are reflected on the Early Bird packet.

Early Bird 2020

Cookie Season

Cookie Program Credits should not be delayed.

Recognitions, on the other hand, come out of the state of Michigan who happens to be under strict orders to stay home. This may delay the shipping of recognitions. Stay tuned. 

Great Wolf Lodge trip hasn't been rescheduled. 

Retail and Online Shops

Need things from our shop? Don't worry! We're still able to receive your orders via email. GSSA's also offering FREE shipping to help alleviate some of the costs during this time of social distancing. Please fill out our Shop Order Form and email it to Customer Care to place your order. 

You can also order from our Online Shop to receive free standard shipping. However, please note, there will still be an upcharge for expedited shipping on all orders: for 3-day service, the upcharge is $10; for 2-day service, the upcharge is $15; and, for 1-day service, the upcharge is $25.

Questions or concerns?

Contact us using the form below or call 1(800) 239-6636.
*
Name
 
phone number
*
email
*
zip code
 
(2000 characters left)
Comments
*