Coronavirus Updates
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Girl Scouts River Valleys

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates

Some in-person Girl Scout activities, service unit activities and troop meetings are allowed beginning July 1 provided guidance is followed. Read Girl Scouts River Valleys' In-Person Girl Scout Activity Guidance available in English, Spanish, Hmong and Somali, or see sections below for more details.

Girl Scouts River Valleys has cancelled the following:

  • All Girl Scouts River Valleys facility rentals through August 31
  • All Girl Scouts River Valleys summer camp programming, including:
    • Resident camp
    • Family camp
    • Troop camp
    • Edith Mayo day camp
    • Volunteer-led day camp
    • Mentored Troop day camp
    • ConnectZ camp
    • Bike Club

The following continues to be suspended until further notice:

  • All Girl Scouts River Valleys in-person program events
  • All Girl Scouts River Valleys shops, service centers, and camps are closed to visitors.

 

All Updates by Category

Camp

Safety is our highest concern. Due to the high volume of campers we serve, the frequency at which new campers arrive and depart, and the communal nature of camp, with shared dining, sleeping, and bathroom facilities, we cannot adequately ensure camper and staff health and safety this summer. Our camp calendar was created for pre-COVID-19 conditions, and we cannot safety operate that schedule this summer. 

We know any cancellation or closure of camps will be heartbreaking for girls. It is for us too. Full refunds will be provided; cookie credits and camp coupon expiration dates have already been extended.  Learn more about Summer Adventures!

Camp Cancellation FAQs

Q. Why make the decision now?

Some other camps have decided to wait until July to make the call on their July and August camp sessions. We considered this option, but after carefully reviewing all factors and recommendations, we don’t think it will be possible to operate camp safely as intended even later in the summer.

Q. How will I receive my camp refund? Do I need to do anything?

Refunds will be processed in the same form as original payment was received. Payments made by credit card will be returned to the original credit card. Payments made by submitting cookie credits or fall funds will be returned via mail. Refunds will take approximately eight weeks to process, depending on any local restrictions in place.

Q. I purchased a camp care package for the 2020 camp season, what happens now?

Retail Services will be reaching out to those that ordered a care package. We will be giving the option of a refund or we can offer free shipping and send the care package directly to the girl after the Stay at Home order is lifted.

Q. My girl earned lots of cookie credits/a camp coupon this cookie season, what happens now that camp is cancelled?

  • Full camp payments will be refunded.
  • Due to COVID-19, the 2020 Cookie Credits expiration date is extended by one year. 2020 Cookie Credits will expire on September 15, 2022.
  • The 2020 half-off camp coupon and 2020 free camp coupon cookie rewards have been extended for use during the 2021 camp season. The 2020 coupon expiration dates have been extended by one year (expires August 31, 2021).
  • 2019 cookie credits and fall funds that were submitted for a 2020 camp session payment will be refunded and will expire on September 15, 2021.
Summer Adventures 2020 (a.k.a. Virtual Camp)

Campers will create, challenge themselves, discover, and reflect as they keep their camp spirit alive in this virtual camp opportunity. Our Summer Adventure week-long sessions offer three hours of virtual camp per day, Monday through Friday. Programming includes a mix of all-camp as well as small group virtual activities–including a virtual camp-in/out on Thursday night! Led by Girl Scouts River Valley experienced program staff and camp directors, girls will connect with familiar faces and make new friends in this guided summer experience. Learn more about Summer Adventures!

Summer Adventure (Virtual Camp) FAQs

Q. How can I pay for camp with cookie credits?

Families who want to pay for virtual camp with cookie credits need to pay for their session in full with a credit card and then mail in cookie credits to be reimbursed. Cookie Credits should be sent to our Saint Paul Service Center with their girls camp registration order number included. Please note that this is a temporary exception to our cookie credit policy (which normally does not allow for reimbursement).

Q. Is financial assistance available for these sessions?

Families can request financial assistance to cover the cost of one virtual camp session. Virtual Camp costs will be covered at 100% for single sessions and cannot be applied to the Summer Adventure Subscription. If you apply for financial assistance, you do not also need to register for the camp session; your registration will be completed by our staff on your behalf.

Q. Can I transfer my in-person camp payment to a virtual session?

No. We are unable to transfer payments from an in-person session to a virtual session at this time. If you registered for an in-person session, your refund with be processed in full and returned to you within 8 weeks. Registration payment for virtual camp must be made in full at the time of registration.

Q. Can I cancel my session and receive a refund? Can I transfer my registration to another session?

Virtual camp sessions follow the same refund and cancellation policy as other River Valleys camp and events. You can cancel your session and receive a refund if requested 30 days prior to the session start date. You may transfer your registration to another session if the request is received 30 days prior to the session’s start date and the new session you’d like to attend hasn’t yet reached its registration deadline.

Camp sessions that begin in fewer than 30 days are non-refundable and non-transferable per our 30-day cancellation policy.

Events
  • All in-person council-sponsored program events scheduled through June 30 are cancelled.
  • Find a listing of upcoming virtual events on our Events page. Be sure to check this list regularly as we continue to add more virtual events.
  • We transformed our 2020 Women of Distinction fundraiser into a virtual event. Learn more.

We will provide more details as they are available. Our staff will be working remotely, and available to answer your calls and questions. You can reach us at 800-845-0787 or girlscouts@girlscoutsrv.org.

Service Unit and Troop Activities

As we continue to navigate our “next normal” this summer and begin to think about the fall, Girl Scouts River Valleys has developed in-person meeting, travel and activity guidance for troops and service units. We understand that allowing in-person meetings and events to resume may bring up many emotions. Some may feel excited and ready to get back together, while others may not feel as ready, but we empower you to connect with your families and volunteers to decide what is best for you and your group.

Back-to-Troop FAQs

Q. Do we need to wear masks?

In accordance with Minnesota and Wisconsin mask mandates, masks are required at all indoor Girl Scout activities and strongly encouraged at all outdoor Girl Scout activities to protect yourself and others. Participants can bring their own face coverings and troops or event planners are encouraged to have disposable masks on hand for those who need them.

Here’s a simple Fabric Mask Tutorial (PDF) created by a Girl Scout volunteer.

Volunteers or event hosts should also teach girls how to handle their face coverings so that the coverings are effective.

Q. How can we help girls with special needs who cannot wear a mask?

Some girls or volunteers may not be able to wear masks, due to medical conditions such as asthma, and this is allowed. In addition, participants/children should only wear cloth face coverings if they can reliably wear, remove, and handle the cloth face covering throughout their in-person activity.

Q. What happens if a girl/parents refuses to wear a mask?

Individual troops/groups may choose to require masks based on their troop needs. If the city, state, or meeting location requires masks, they must be worn. If a girl or a parent is not willing to wear a mask, they should not attend that particular gathering.

Q. Are there guidelines for social distancing if meeting in person?

Yes, outdoor spaces where 6 feet social distancing can be maintained are strongly recommended for meetings. Keep safety a top priority when selecting your meeting location. Get advance permission from the property owner or the jurisdiction that provides the location.

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.

Q. What restrictions will there be around the amount of people we can have at each event/troop meeting?

Indoor meetings and activities can be no larger than 10 people (eight girls and two unrelated adult volunteers).

The maximum for outdoor meetings and gatherings is 25 people including the required adult or volunteer ratio.

Outdoor meetings are strongly encouraged (weather permitting). If local guidelines are more restrictive, follow the local restriction. Continue to utilize all social distancing practices and follow all preventive guidance (such as face coverings).

If you have a large troop, stay connected in other ways while you wait for a safe time for everyone to gather. Large troops are wonderful, so stay together! Some ideas:

  • Host virtual troop meetings or engage in other ways, such as mailing materials or pen pals.
  • 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.

Q. Will there be a health checklist for all those attending a meeting or event?

Yes, families will be asked to do a self-administered health check at home before the meeting. See COVID-19 Family Agreement (PDF).

Q. Will we be given guidelines and supplies on sanitizing our meetings before and after?

Yes, 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.).

See In-Person Girl Scout Activity Guidance (PDF) for more information on cleaning meeting spaces and a handy guide to cleaning agents (PDF)

Q. Will shared troop meeting supplies need to be individualized for each girl instead of shared use?

At all in-person gatherings, try to limit supplies that need to be shared. Activity supplies should not be shared between girls if possible. As an alternative, supplies may be brought from home.

Q. Are there guidelines for snacks at meetings?

Snacks should be limited to pre-packaged, individual serving size which can be safely distributed without cross contamination.

Q. Are in-home meetings permitted?

Meetings or activities should not take place in the home out of concern that there would be greater risk of exposure to other family members and increased risk of homeowner liability. Our strong recommendation is to refrain from in-home meetings.

Q. Will there be some sort of assistance to help troops secure a meeting space?

At this time we are not able to offer assistance with this. There are several online platforms that you can use to meet, including Zoom and Google hangouts. Your Service Unit Manager or team may have also have ideas for you on how to meet in your community.

Q. If a family has been exposed to COVID-19 or someone in their household tests positive will they be required to contact the troop leader to inform rest of the families?

If your Girl Scout receives a positive test result within 14 days of participating in an in-person activity, please report this to Girl Scouts River Valleys at 1-800-845-0787. Staff will contact the families of anyone who may have been exposed during the activity. All information will remain confidential.

Q. How will Girl Scouts River Valleys notify those who may have been in contact with an infected person?

Families will be notified by phone, email, or both by our Volunteer Relations Manager. All communications will be kept as private and confidential as possible.

Q. What if a girl wants to ride/drive with another girl to an event?

Carpooling should be avoided, where possible, to maintain social distancing.

Q. How do you include a girl who is high risk that can't attend in person troop meetings?

Clear communication with all families, flexibility, and support are the key to keeping girls included even when COVID makes that difficult. Consider continuing virtual meetings, supplementing with other distance activities (such as mailing meeting supplies, setting up pen pals, texts, emails or social channels) and making sure there’s a mix of in-person and distance experiences.

Tips for engaging families who have opted out of in-person meetings

  • Consider various ways to ensure all girls are engaged and connected.
  • Offer a virtual and/or call-in option.
  • Send meeting activities ahead of time for families to do it themselves (via email, mail or drop-off/pick-up).
  • Follow-up with families that aren't able to join so that girls can still stay connected with troop leaders, do some reflection or share photos so the girls can see what they all did.
  • Seek out ideas from other troop leaders and volunteers, or as always, contact River Valleys at 800-845-0787 if you’d like assistance.

Q. Where can I got to get information on state and federal guidelines for COVID-19?

Q. Will you require “COVID” Parent Agreements?

Parent agreements are not required, but are recommended and provided as a resource for starting the conversations with your families. The COVID-19 Family Agreement (PDF) can be kept or shared among your troop, but are not required to be sent to River Valleys.

Q. How can we educate girls about social distancing?

Girl Scouts River Valleys has some great tips on talking to your girls about COVID safety in our First Meeting Plan (PDF).

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) also has recommendations to help adults have conversations with children about COVID-19 and ways they can avoid getting and spreading the disease.

Q. Can my troop or group attend a local town event if we (in our group) are following guidelines?

This is not recommended, due to the potentially larger numbers than our guidance requires and the fact that Girl Scouts does not control the location, spacing, and cleaning/sanitation of the event. However, it is not prohibited, provided your Girl Scout group maintains all Girl Scouts Guidance within the activities you partake in, and parents/guardians have approved that their girl participates.

Q. How can I protect my child from COVID-19 infection?

Following this guidance will not prevent you from catching or spreading COVID-19. You can encourage your child to help stop the spread of COVID-19 by teaching them to do the same things everyone should do to stay healthy.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue and throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects, like tables, countertops, light switches, doorknobs, and cabinet handles).

Read How to Protect Yourself & Others and How COVID-19 Spreads for additional information on preventing COVID-19 .

These guidelines are subject to change depending on local and state regulations are in line with state and the Center for Disease Control’s recommendations. However, these will not fully prevent or guarantee that Girl Scout members will avoid contracting COVID-19. If you have further questions on in person meetings. You can reach us at 800-845-0787 or girlscouts@girlscoutsrv.org.

Cookies

Updated as of April 22, 12:00 pm (CST)

Thank you for your patience as Girl Scouts River Valleys staff worked through the details of the Cookie Program during this unprecedented time. Your grace, understanding, and positive messages have meant so much to us as we navigate through these waters together.

The Cookie Program ended on April 12. An email has been sent to our troop cookie volunteers detailing the four steps of the cookie return process.

  • If you are a troop cookie volunteer that did not receive the email, you can view the communication linked below.
  • You can also find the details in our Cookie Press blog post.
  • If you are the parent/guardian of a Girl Scout, connect please with your troop leader or Cookie Manager to learn about your troop-specific details.

A Letter to our Cookie Volunteers | March 15

A Letter to our Cookie Volunteers | March 13

Shop

Girl Scouts River Valleys has many shop locations scattered throughout Minnesota.

Select locations are available for curbside pick-up orders by appointment only. Our online store is open 24/7. Our online store is fast, easy, secure, and orders typically ship within five business days. For additional shop resources, discounts, and special items, visit GirlScoutsRV.org/Shop.

Curbside Pick-Up

Email the completed Curbside Pick-Up Order Form (PDF) to retailservices@girlscoutsrv.org. The retail services team will contact you to process your payment and schedule a pickup time. Please allow up to 48 hours from receipt of your order for processing.

Visit our Shop page for more information.

Our staff is available to answer your calls and questions. You can reach us at 800-845-0787 or girlscouts@girlscoutsrv.org.

Facilities

The following closures are in effect until further notice:

  • The Girl Scout Shops are closed. Curbside pick-up is available by appointment only.
  • Our service centers and camps are closed to visitors.
  • Facility rentals scheduled through August 31 are cancelled.

We will provide more details as they are available. Our staff will be working remotely, and available to answer your calls and questions. You can reach us at 800-845-0787 or girlscouts@girlscoutsrv.org.

Highest Awards

Proposal deadlines for 8th and 12th graders have been extended from May 1st, 2020 to August 1st, 2020. Final Report deadlines for 5th, 8th and 12th graders have been extended from September 30th, 2020 to December 31st, 2020.  Due to remote staff work, please submit all Highest Awards paperwork by email and not by mail.

Travel & Overnight Stays

Travel and overnight activities come in a wide variety of formats. Review the below requirements regarding Girl Scouts River Valleys travel at this time. As always, complete the Travel Request Form before planning any extended overnight stays and follow guidance in Safety Activity Checkpoints.

Tent/Outdoor Camping:

Tenting and outdoor camping is allowed. Troops and groups must follow all guidelines as outlined in the In-Person Girl Scout Activity Guidance (PDF). All participants should either tent with a member of their household or by themselves. If individuals from different households must share a tent, social distancing should be maintained.

Indoor Overnights:

Troop and group indoor overnights are not allowed at this time. This includes activities such as one-night overnights and encampments.

Extended Travel:

  • U.S. Travel – Troop, group, and Juliette travel will be reviewed and approved on a case-by-case basis. Troops and groups should proceed cautiously with travel plans and consider current Centers for Disease Control (CDC), group size, family expectations, destination, and safety plans. The Travel Request Form is required for all Girl Scout travel. Girl Scouts River Valleys staff will work with each troop/group to discuss your trip final details and COVID-19 travel safety plan to determine trip approval. Troops and groups must recognize that the COVID-19 risk is fluid, and contingencies for rescheduling and pivoting should be in place for last minute changes.

  • International Travel – Troop and group international trips are not allowed at this time. Girl Scouts River Valleys will follow Centers for Disease Control (CDC) travel guidelines. Girl Scouts cannot participate in international trips until the travel health notice is at a level 1 or level 2 for their trip destination.

 

Additional Support

Be a Source of Comfort and Calm

Girl Scouts of the USA has developed a helpful resource for How to Talk to Your Girl About Coronavirus and Help Kids Cope with Disappointment in the Face of COVID-19 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.

Be Prepared and Minimize Risk

The CDC has shared the following things you can do to minimize your risk of contracting any virus:

  • Stay home when you are not feeling well.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed 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 readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
Girl Scouts are a Force for Good

Girl Scouts is leading as we have always done, as a force for good in the world. We can be an inspiration to others as we all live through this difficult time, and we can be sisters to every Girl Scout—especially those who are hardest hit by the disruptions of this pandemic, and our Asian American friends and colleagues unfairly treated and targeted by xenophobia and racism.

We will find ways to continue to stay connected, participate, and contribute, as we do the right thing for our community and our country. We will be Girl Scouts and we will help and lead. You should be proud of your membership in the only movement in the world that is by girls, for girls, and includes all girls.

 

Still have questions? Contact us.