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 Guidance for In-person Scouting Meetings and Activities

 

Guidance for In-person Scouting Meetings and Activities!!! 

As of May 19, 2021

The Greater Niagara Frontier Council (GNFC) is pleased that the Governor has relaxed the restrictions on activities and gatherings in NY. We look forward to the opportunity for our Scouts and Units being able to return to more normal programming, but we must do so in a safe manner. We have outlined several requirements for Unit operations. In this everchanging environment, it is essential to note that State and Regional guidelines will always take priority. We will strictly adhere to current State and/or County and/or Department of Health directives, these will be considered as requirements, and not suggestions. The safety of our Scouts, Leaders, Families, and Community is of paramount importance. Scouts have always been seen as leaders, and we will continue to set a good example for all. Failure to follow either Government or Council guidelines can result in the end of membership with the Scouting program. 

The CDC currently recommends: 

• Establish and maintain a minimum distance of 6 feet between people. 

• Anyone 2 years and older should wear a cloth face covering over their nose and mouth when in settings where it’s difficult to practice social distancing. This is an additional public health measure people should take to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in addition to (not instead of) other preventative actions listed. 

• Keep at least 6 feet between yourself and others, even when you wear a face covering. Many of our youth are not currently eligible for vaccination and those that are, have not had adequate time to complete the full course.

• No sharing of common use items. Items that must be shared must be sanitized properly between users.

• Anything that is used/touched must be disinfected before another person can use it. 

• If anyone is feeling unwell, they are not to attend an activity. 

• If anyone becomes unwell during the event they are to be separated from the group and sent home immediately. 

As of this writing, it is our understanding that in-person Scouting is allowed throughout Western New York. 

National BSA policy/direction to all Councils is to follow the Federal and State guidelines and the direction from the local Department of Health. National has also provided this Restart Scouting Checklist for Units to use as they plan for in-person activities. They have also created a Pre-Event Medical Screening Checklist to help you determine whether to stay home or not during the pandemic.

The Greater Niagara Frontier Council recommends the following requirements for Unit, District & Council operations now that Federal, State and Local Restrictions allow in-person Scouting activities to resume. 

  • Guide to Safe Scouting requirements always apply https://www.scouting.org/health-and-safety/gss/toc/.  
  • Youth Protection Guidelines always apply (including mandatory 2 adults at all times) https://www.scouting.org/training/youth-protection/.
  • For Disinfection Guidelines: https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/system/files/documents/2020/08/interim-guidance-schools_1.pdf 
  • Virtual meetings are still a good option and the only option if in-person meetings cannot be done safely 
  • In-person meetings/activities: 
    • All participants (Scouts, volunteers, and family members) must complete and submit the GNFC’s “COVID-19 Screening Form for All In-Person Meetings and Activities” to the Unit Leader. The forms must be completed each day of multi-day activities and must be maintained by the unit for at least 3 years. 
    • Activities must meet the New York State definition of Low-Risk Outdoor Arts and Entertainment or Low-Risk Indoor Arts and Entertainment Guidelines as issued by the state on June 24, 2020 https://forward.ny.gov/phase-four-industries
    • Social distancing must be maintained. 
    • Masks must be worn at all times when within 6 feet of a non-household member. This will continue until further notice to protect our unvaccinated Scouts. Adults attending meetings with no youth present may remove their masks if they are vaccinated.
    • Scout salute will replace handshakes. 
    • All shared items (i.e., ropes, books, etc.) must be decontaminated between users. 
    • Any food/drink at the meeting/activity must be individually packaged. No self-serve or buffet style eating is allowed.
    • Any person that is feeling ill is prohibited from attending or even dropping someone off at the meeting/activity. 
    • Any person who becomes ill will be immediately separated from the group and sent home. The Unit’s District Executive must be contacted anytime this happens, see notification section below. This report should be made ASAP but must be made within 24 hours by phone and e-mail. 
    • Groups not in a private residence cannot exceed 250 people indoors or 500 people outdoors, including but not limited to Scouts, Leaders, family members, and non-Scouting adults. Private residences are still limited to 10 people indoors, but outdoors is now expanded to 25 people.
    • No activities involving physical contact between individuals are allowed. 
    • Attendance must be kept of everyone (Scouts and family members). 
  • Camping 
    • Our 3 camp facilities will remain open for day activities and over-night  family camping! Cabin Rentals will be open but limited to single household use for overnight stays. At this time the requirements set by the State only allow for over-night family camping. Unit camping is not allowed at this time. Reservations will be required for all activities at our camps, both day activities and over-night camping. We will continue to work with the State and our local health departments and update our policies accordingly.
    • Activities must meet the New York State definition of Low-Risk Outdoor Arts and Entertainment or Low-Risk Indoor Arts and Entertainment Guidelines as issued by the state on June 24, 2020 https://forward.ny.gov/phase-four-industries, as well as follow the guidelines for Sports and recreation activities as of February 2, 2021. https://www.governor.ny.gov/sites/governor.ny.gov/files/atoms/files/SportsAndRecreationSummaryGuidance.pdf.
    • Follow all guidelines listed under the In-person Meetings/Activities section of Guidance for Reopening of In-person Scouting Meetings and Activities.
    • Social distancing must be maintained.
    • Masks must be worn at all times when within 6 feet of a non-household member. This is to protect our unvaccinated Scouts. Adults attending meetings with no youth present may remove their masks if they are vaccinated.
    • Please contact the Operations Manager (Bob.Blatz@scouting.org or 716-512-6215) for complete details about using a camp and to make reservations.
    • The Camp Ranger will provide guidance on safety and disinfection requirements that must be followed by everyone in camp.
    • No group style cooking is allowed, all food must be prepackaged or brought by the individual/family, no sharing of utensils or cookware is allowed. Outside catering is allowed.
    • Groups cannot exceed 250 people indoors or 500 people outdoors, including but not limited to Scouts, Leaders, family members, and non-Scouting adults. 
  • Day Activities
    • Units may hold day activities at our camps such as hiking, fishing or others.
    • Units will be charged $2/day for each person plus a $10 Sanitation fee.
    • Groups limited to 250 people indoors or 500 people outdoors, including but not limited to Scouts, Leaders, family members, and non-Scouting adults. 
  • Over-night Camping
    • At this time only family camping (1 parent must be present) is allowed.
    • Only members of the same household may share a tent/cabin. All BSA Youth Protection Polices must be followed. Scouts BSA Families camping with other Families must adhere to tenting rules, Parents can’t share a tent with a registered Scouts BSA Scout, but is permitted to tent with a Scout that is of Cub Scout Age. Participants are permitted to stay in the same tent only if they are from the same household.
    • Campsites/cabins will be limited to 50% or less of normal capacity.
    • Families will be charged $2/night for each person plus a $25 Covid Sanitation fee per site.
    • Families will be charged the normal Cabin rental plus a $40 Covid Sanitation fee. 
    • Groups limited to 250 people indoors or 500 people outdoors, including but not limited to Scouts, Leaders, family members, and non-Scouting adults. 
  • Fundraising 
    • Prior to submitting a Unit Money Earning Application, the Committee Chair or the Unit Leader will contact the District Executive to review the Fundraising plan ? What is the Fundraiser? 
      • How many people will be at the fundraiser at any given time? 
      • What health and safety precautions are to be implemented? 
      • What is the plan if health issues arise? 
  • Travel 
    • The CDC is strongly discouraging any travel not deemed essential. As a result, no Unit should travel to a state or region with a high Covid incident rate. 
    • If possible, only members of the same household should travel together. 
    • Masks must be worn by all occupants if traveling in mixed groups. 

In a case where the circumstances create the need for clarification, the Committee Chair or Unit Leader will contact their District Executive to obtain that guidance. The District Executive’s decision on these matters is binding and carries the same weight as these guidelines. 

The health and well-being of our Scouts, their families, our communities, and the Scouting program is of the utmost importance to the Council. Failure by any individual to follow these requirements will result in an immediate suspension from the Scouting program. Any leader who allows such behavior to occur will be immediately suspended from the Scouting program. 

Notification 

It is the intent of the Council to create a safe and fun program under these stressful times. However, no matter the best laid plans, it is likely that someone may become ill. When anyone at an event becomes ill, they are to be immediately isolated from the group and sent home. 

As soon as possible, but no more than 24 hours, the adult leader of the event MUST contact their District Executive and provide the following information: 

  • Who became ill (name and contact information). 
  • Reason they were at the event/activity (i.e. Scout, Leader, Parent, Sibling). 
  • Symptoms and when they developed. 
  • How were they isolated. 
  • Name and contact information for all people present and who may have had contact (less than 6 ft). 
  • What was the nature of the event? 

Virtual Alternatives 

Scouting still continues and the above listed guidelines/requirements provide a framework to help make your in-person activities as safe as possible. Your Unit should also continue to use virtual programming as an option. Greater Niagara Frontier Council has developed many exciting virtual programs for our Scouts. Please visit our website to learn more: http://www.wnyscouting.org.

 

BSA, State and CDC Guidelines for Reference:

GNFC Letter on State Restrictions on Unit Camping 10.19.20 | Click

GNFC Unit Meeting & Activity Infographic | Click

COVID-19 Screening Form | Click

National BSA Restart Checklist | Click

Social Distancing | Click

Proper Use of Masks | Click

NYS Guidance for Childcare and Day Camps | Click

NYS Low-Risk Indoor Arts and Entertainment | Click

NYS Low-Risk Outdoor Arts and Entertainment | Click