As we all have been aware Governor Cooper has declared a state of emergency for North Carolina due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The safety and welfare of our girls is top priority for Girl Scouts – North Carolina Coastal Pines. 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 and updating this resource as information becomes available. If you have a question, please call 1-800-284-4475 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
General COVID-19 Information
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus. This new virus and disease were unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, dry cough and difficulty breathing. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don't feel unwell. Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment. Around 1 out of every 6 people who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness. About 2% of people with the disease have died. People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention.
What steps can girls and volunteers take to prevent the spread of coronavirus?
Please follow all of the steps recommended by the CDC. The same simple steps that prevent the spread of ordinary flu viruses work against coronavirus and other illnesses:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
- Cough into a tissue or your elbow (not your hand). Then throw tissue away and wash hands.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick, with temperature above 100.0 F (38.7 C) or do not feel well, appear weak or ill
- Consult your health care provider if you have special health conditions that put you at increased risk.
Are children more susceptible to the virus that causes COVID-19 compared with the general population?
No, there is no evidence that children are more susceptible. In fact, most confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported from China have occurred in adults. Per the CDC, children have not been shown to be a high-risk group for serious illness from this virus. As much as possible, children should be allowed to carry on with their education and normal activities.
What is a person’s risk for contracting COVID-19?
North Carolina currently has a handful of people primarily within the Triangle area that have tested presumptively positive for COVID-19. Contact with someone with COVID-19 might heighten a person’s risk. Medium and high risk categories include being in sustained close contact (10 minutes or longer) within six feet of a person with COVID-19 while they had symptoms or close household contact of people with a confirmed case of COVID-19.
What is a State of Emergency?
It is an administrative act that provides access to additional resources and facilitates more efficient decision-making authority.
Girl Scouts – North Carolina Coastal Pines Information Regarding COVID-19
What is Girl Scouts – North Carolina Coastal Pines doing in response to the coronavirus?
Girl Scouts – North Carolina Coastal Pines is monitoring the situation closely. There is nothing more important than the safety and wellbeing of our girls, volunteers, and staff. While we are currently operating as usual, we are also working on contingency plans for programming and other events to be prepared for changing circumstances. We are actively following the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services so we can respond quickly to any shifts in their recommendations. 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.
Will GSNCCP be cancelling any events or activities?
Though we are currently continuing to offer some regularly scheduled activities and events, this is a fast-evolving situation and we are making decisions on a case-by-case basis using current reports, information and guidance available from local, state and federal health agencies which are being updated regularly and will likely continue to affect Girl Scout programming. Amidst this guidance, we are also considering such factors as the number and makeup of participants, type of activity and if it requires resource sharing, the venue and social distancing as feasible in vetting to either continue, cancel, postpone or modify activities and events. In addition, we are enhancing extra health and safety measures and promoting good health practices on our properties and at our events. As always, decisions regarding participation in Girl Scout activities, are up to the discretion of parents and guardians. For any activity or event that is cancelled, all registered participants will be contacted and the council will provide a full refund. A list of current cancellations and updates can be found below and will be updated on our website.
How will notice be provided if GSNCCP cancels any events, activities or trainings? Will we receive refunds for cancelled events?
All council events taking place in the upcoming weeks are currently being vetted and reviewed for potential cancellations, postponement or modification. As always as events are cancelled, registered participants will be notified via email communication and 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, program partner decision, etc. We will do our best to contact all those affected as quickly as possible and with as much lead time as feasible.
What events or activities have been canceled to date?
As of March 11, the following council-sponsored events have been cancelled or postponed. This list will be updated regularly as event cancellations are added.
- March 14 - Annual Meeting and Adult Recognition Luncheon – event cancelled; abbreviated virtual meeting will take place instead
- March 14 – Marbles Mega Sleepover: Full STEAM Ahead
- March 14 – Marbles Mega Sleepover: Full STEAM Ahead Program Aide Adventure
- March 14 – Girl Scout Rock-In at the Triangle Rock Club
- March 14 – Making Games at the North Carolina Museum of History
- March 17 – Women’s History Month Celebration at NC Executive Mansion – postponed TBD
- March 21 – Badges on the Battleship
Will events and workshops provided by third party Program Partners be cancelling their events offered to Girl Scouts?
Third 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.
How do I help calm and educate my girl(s) about the Coronavirus?
Your girl could likely use a sense of calm in her life right now, and you can help—not by avoiding the topic, but by tackling it head-on. Check out this article from Raising Awesome Girls for suggestions on how to handle the subject of coronavirus with care and encourage her to stay calm during similar situations.
Should service units (or troops) cancel their upcoming events?
We strongly encourage Service Units to also follow guidance from health agencies and conduct similar vetting of area events as we do with council-sponsored events in their decision making to either continue, cancel, postpone or modify activities and events. Consider such factors as the number and makeup of participants, type of activity and if it requires resource sharing, the venue and social distancing. In addition, as with council events, we encourage extra health and safety measures and promoting good health practices at all Girl Scout functions.
What should a troop co-leader be doing in the troop to ensure health and safety?
Please follow all regular Girl Scout health and safety guidelines and follow the guidance of official health sources like the CDC and state health authorities. We will continue to monitor the situation and will keep you posted with any relevant Girl Scout updates. We encourage volunteers, caregivers, and girls to use their best judgment. Your troop might make these considerations:
Talk with the meeting facility about circumstances if anywhere they might limit access to groups, ask about their cleaning protocols, etc. Is the troop assisting with wiping down tables or common spaces and shared resources in their meeting location?
- Talk to the girls and parents about not attending a meeting or activity if they are sick or have underlying health conditions. Are there other ways they can participate (virtually, take-home packet, work on badge/Journey activities at home, etc.)?
- Have everyone wash their hands when arriving to and upon leaving the meeting or activity and before eating snacks.
- Modify activities that might include shared resources, touching or handshaking (i.e. Friendship Circle, Girl Scout handshake, etc.)
- Check out technology resources to host virtual meetings, as needed. There are some free or low-cost, safe options available for hosting online meetings (see below in subsequent question).
- Follow the guidance below about minimizing risk.
- Use and share with parents/caregivers the resource below on how to comfort and educate girls about coronavirus.
If girls cannot attend troop meetings, what resources or technology can I use to keep Girl Scouts engaged and enjoying Girl Scout activities and fellowship during this challenging situation?
The opportunity to participate in “normal” activities and engage with one another will continue to be very important for girls, especially during this time of uncertainty for them. To keep girls actively engaged, consider creating take-home packets, choose a badge, Journey or patch program to work on individually then host group discussion/sharing video conferences, find a Facebook Live event to attend together, etc.
You can also consider hosting online or virtual meetings. Though we cannot endorse or support specific online meeting tools for your use, there are various tools to check into for virtual meetings and/or perhaps further engaging with council activities and other troops. We encourage troop co-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. *Make sure your girls complete the Internet Safety Pledge and have parent/caregiver consent.
At council-level meetings and trainings, we use the following online tools that might be good options for your troop/service unit and to further engage in council activities and perhaps even with other troops. While these options have a free version, please be mindful they also have subscription fee based products and you may be prompted by them to consider upgraded versions that include a fee.
1. Microsoft Teams – offers a free version for collaboration, file sharing and chat
2. Lifesize – offers a free account for personal use. It allows for up to a 90-minute call and up to 25 participants with a dedicated virtual meeting room and group chat during the meeting.
My troop has a troop trip scheduled for spring break. Are there any current guidelines to consider?
As this situation is developing, the following guidance may be useful as you make your decisions regarding troop travel with girls. For travel with girls scheduled within the next 60 days, we strongly recommend that you examine each scheduled trip and determine if the trip should be cancelled or rescheduled. Please monitor the updates the CDC, U.S. Department of State, and state/local authorities are providing. Look at all travel advisories and health department notifications for destinations. If utilizing a third party for travel planning, consult with them regarding cancellation, insurance, refund or credit inquiries. For any trip that does proceed, ensure to take every suggested precaution recommended by the CDC and U.S. Department of State in conjunction with all of the Travel/Trip guidelines in Safety Activity Checkpoints. Troop Leaders should have girl safety top of mind and engage them and their parents/caregivers in the decision making.
Important: please note that girls traveling to any international location identified by the U.S. Department of State as “Level 4 – Do Not Travel” is never allowed. New in this situation is that if there is any girl travel scheduled in the next 60 days to a U.S. Department of State Level 3 location due to COVID-19 risk, the trip should immediately be cancelled or re-routed. New guidance also prohibits travel to Europe and advises against cruises and long air travel.