COVID-19

Updated June 12, 2020

On Thursday, June 11, Governor Kemp issued Executive Order 06.11.20.01updating earlier COVID-19 guidance.  This policy reflects the Governor’s new Executive Order and applies to Council and District meetings as well as overnight camping by individual units effective June 12, 2020 and continuing through July 15, 2020.     

Please understand that the following policy does NOT apply to events that are considered “summer camps” or “overnight summer camps”.  A separate policy will apply to those events and will be communicated to troops, packs, and individual scouts participating in those Council sponsored summer events prior to their participation.

The Council will hold summer camp at Camp Rainey Mountain.  That event is considered an “overnight summer camp”.  Similarly, Scoutland Cub Summer Camp is an “overnight summer camp”.  Pathfinders, Cub Scout day camps, twilight camps, STEM camps and the scout show are all examples of “summer camps”.  Again, similar COVID-19 guidelines applicable to those events will be separately communicated.

The following is a summary of the changes from our most recent COVID-19 policy.

  • Groups of 50 or fewer individuals are now permissible for meetings if the sanitization and other guidelines are followed.  Groups of 25 or fewer individuals are now permissible for overnight camping. 
  • Volunteers who are age 65 or older are free to participate in events that comply with the guidelines in this policy and Governor Kemp’s Executive Orders; provided, the volunteer does not have significant health conditions described below.

COUNCIL AND DISTRICT MEETINGS

1)   While many businesses and other events are opening, we continue to encourage districts and units to hold meetings virtually. 

2)   If you desire to hold an “in-person” meeting, the following requirements must be satisfied:

a)   A maximum of fifty individuals may gather together in one group.  For clarity, more than fifty individuals may attend a meeting or event.  However, all groups with a maximum of fifty individuals must be at least six feet from all other groups.  The scout professional and the Council or District volunteer in charge of the meeting must ensure that this social distancing requirement is followed. 

b)   The six-foot requirement for groups can be briefly ignored when multiple individuals are arriving or if a transition is required.  For example, it may take a few minutes to separate individuals into different groups that are six feet apart.  Please do not use this as an excuse to willfully ignore the social distancing requirement.

c)   When forming groups of fifty or less, youth protection policies apply -- including two deep leadership, age, and gender of youth, etc.

d)   The Council or District volunteer in charge of the meeting or event (or his or her designee) must sanitize high touch areas before the meeting or event begins.  For example, doorknobs, tables, and other areas that are regularly touched must be wiped down and disinfected prior to the arrival of others.  If a bathroom will be used, the bathroom must also be disinfected before the arrival of others.  Sanitation efforts will need to be coordinated with the organization that is allowing use of its facilities.  Adults should be in charge of sanitation efforts.   If a youth or youths will be sanitizing, adult volunteers, following youth protection policies, should supervise the sanitation efforts.

e)   The Council or District volunteer in charge should ensure hand sanitizer or other hand washing supplies are available.  Do NOT assume the facility will have these supplies.  The hand sanitizer should be placed where attendees can easily access and use the hand sanitizer.  The Council or District volunteers should remind attendees to wash their hands.

f)    Handshakes or other “person to person” contact should not occur.  Avoid sharing any tools or equipment among attendees (e.g., sign-in sheets, clip boards and pens that are passed from person to person).

g)   Facial covering or masks are strongly encouraged.

h)   Individuals with any COVID-19 symptom should not attend the meeting.  If within the prior 14 days an attendee has been in contact with anyone with these symptoms, the attendee should not attend the meeting. Prior to beginning the meeting, the Council or District volunteer in charge or the scout professional in attendance, (or his or her designee) should ask this question orally to all participants or hand out a written note to each attendee asking these same questions.

COVID-19 symptoms include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, or new loss of taste or smell.

i)    Avoid bringing food to these meetings.  Otherwise, the Council or District volunteer must ensure all food related requirements are followed under the Governor’s Executive Orders.

j)    The Council or District volunteer should provide masks, gloves and other personal protective equipment as available and as appropriate to the function and location of the volunteers.  For example, at a pinewood derby event where a few people are checking in all participants, such volunteers may be provided masks and gloves if available and if deemed appropriate.

UNIT CAMPING

1)   Individual units may hold overnight camps of less than 72 hours.  These camps may be held at the Council owned or leased properties. 

2)   Unit camping must be carefully structured to avoid being classified as a summer camp or overnight summer camp.  The Governor’s Executive Order defines a summer camp as “any entity offering organized sessions of supervised recreational, athletic or instructional activities held between school terms.  An “overnight summer camp” is any summer camp where attendees remain overnight at the camping facility.  Substantially, more restrictive sanitation and other requirements apply to overnight summer camping and to summer camps.  For example, current COVID-19 testing is required for all participants in outdoor summer camps.

3)   To ensure social distancing requirements, we are reducing the maximum capacity at our Council camps effective June 12, 2020 through July 15, 2020.  During this time, the maximum capacity at each camp and at each campsite within the camp is reduced by 50%. Reservations must be made by contacting Heather Sisk at Heather.Sisk@scouting.org

4)   Units using the Council’s camps must adhere to the following requirements.  We realize this list is lengthy.  The list is derived from the Governor’s Executive Order.  Please follow these requirements when camping so we can have a safe environment available for a unit’s overnight camping.

a)   As part of making a reservation to camp, the unit leader is agreeing to follow all provisions of this policy and is responsible for ensuring others follow the policy.  If a unit leader has any questions about the policy, the unit leader should contact the district executive or other scout professional. 

b)   Groups can only have a maximum of twenty-five individuals.  Multiple groups may share a campsite and facilities at our Council camps provided each group is at least six feet from all other groups.  For example, a Troop with 60 scouts and adult volunteers can share the same campground composed of three or more groups if there is sufficient room for each group to be at least six feet apart from all other groups.  Once a group is formed, absent an emergency or other unexpected event, the group should remain as a group the entire campout (i.e., no exchanging individuals among groups).

c)   Events held during the unit campout must not result in a gathering of more than twenty-five individuals within six feet of another group.  Care must be taken during gatherings such as campfires, a flag raising or lowering, patrol or den events, camp events, free time, scoutmaster minutes, etc.  If unit leaders are not able to maintain social distancing at all times, the unit leader should end the overnight campout immediately.

d)   When forming groups of twenty-five or less, youth protection policies apply -- including two deep leadership, age, and gender of youth, etc.  At camp, the buddy system still applies.  Buddies must be part of the same group.

e)   The six-foot requirement for groups can be briefly ignored when multiple individuals arrive or a group is in transit.  For example, one group can pass another group on a camp trail.  However, no lingering should occur.  Please do not use this as an excuse to willfully ignore the social distancing requirement.

f)    At the beginning of each day, the unit leader or his or her designee must remind all campers of the social distancing requirements and hand washing guidelines.

g)   The unit leader (or his or her designee) must assume sanitizing obligations for the campground and the camp facilities that are used.   Do not assume tents or other sleeping structures provided by the camp are sanitized.   Similarly, leaders cannot assume restrooms or other camp buildings are sanitized.  One or more adult leaders should be assigned to enforce the sanitation policy and ensure areas are being regularly sanitized.

h)   Leaders must arrange for sanitizing supplies, including hand sanitizer, that will be used by all campers during the event or campout.  DO NOT assume the camps will have sufficient sanitation supplies. 

i)    Some camps do not yet have adequate facilities or supplies for hand washing.  Leaders should encourage individuals to bring their own hand sanitizer or other hand washing supplies.  Regardless, leaders of the campout should plan well in advance to ensure adequate hand washing is available for all participants.  Unit leaders should remind and encourage all participants to wash their hands for at least twenty seconds multiple times each day.  Handwashing must occur after use of any restroom facility and during snack breaks or meal breaks.

j)    Leaders must completely sanitize bathrooms each morning with at least one additional sanitizing effort during the day and at other times as necessary.  Leaders must regularly sanitize high touch areas and surfaces during the day.  Sanitation efforts can be coordinated with other units using the camp.  Adults should be in charge of sanitation efforts.   If youth will be sanitizing, adult volunteers should supervise the sanitation efforts.  Please follow youth protection protocols.

k)   Camp kitchen facilities may not be used as part of unit camping.  Camp kitchen facilities are subject to the same specific sanitation procedures as public restaurants to the extent practicable.  As a result, kitchen facilities are closed and not available to unit campouts.  If the dining area or any camp facility is used, the event leader must ensure the entire area is completely sanitized before and after its use.  For example, all tables, doorknobs and frequently touched areas must be wiped and sanitized before and after each use.

l)    Handshakes or other “person to person” contact is prohibited.

m)  Facial covering or masks are strongly encouraged.  Unit leaders should ensure all participants provide their own face covering.   Otherwise, unit leaders should provide face coverings.

n)   Leaders should screen each participant for symptoms of COVID-19 including checking the temperature of each participant using infrared (no touch) thermometers.   Ideally, unit leaders or parents/guardians would take temperatures before leaving for camp.  Additional COVID-19 screening must occur each morning and each evening. Individuals who exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 will not be allowed in camp or to remain at the campout. 

      COVID-19 symptoms include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, or new loss of taste or smell.

      Unit leaders must provide training to adult leaders on how to identify symptoms of COVID-19, the proper process for removing a potentially ill camper (following youth protection guidelines) and the infection mitigation procedures to perform in such event (e.g., immediate high sanitation efforts and identifying others who were in the presence of the ill camper, etc.).

o)   Unit leaders must prepare a quarantine area where scouts or other individuals who show symptoms of COVID-19 can remain separate from all others until a parent or other individual can drive the scout home.   Any individual exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms must be separated from the group immediately and must leave camp as soon as possible.  Again, youth protection protocols apply at all times.

p)   Prior to a campout and again when leaving for the campout, the unit leader must communicate to each parent or guardian of a scout attending the campout and to each adult volunteer attending the campout that the scout or adult is NOT permitted to attend the campout if they have been diagnosed with COVID-19, have exhibited symptoms of COVID-19 or had contact with a person that has or is suspected of having COVID-19 within the past fourteen days.

q)   Parents or guardians dropping off or picking up youth must remain in their cars.  To the extent practicable, unit leaders should establish staggered drop off and pick up times.  Hand sanitizer should be provided to youth and volunteer adults, at the drop location, as soon as practicable upon drop off. 

r)    Unnecessary visitors should not visit the unit during the campout.

s)   Do not use camp facilities that you cannot regularly sanitize or ensure have been sanitized.  Do not have person to person interaction with other units camping at the same campground.  Regularly sanitize shared facilities.

t)    Each camper’s belongings should be stored separately (e.g., in their tent).  Belongings should not be commingled.  Discourage sharing of items such as flashlights, camp tools, etc.  Consider requiring separate tents.  Ensure parents approve of their child’s camping arrangement (e.g., if the child will share a tent with another youth).

u)   To the extent possible, allow only one group at a time to use camp equipment.  Sanitize the camp equipment after such use and before the use by another group.

v)   If the unit permits swimming (following all swimming guidelines of the camp and of the BSA), each group may swim only once each day.  Swimming times should be staggered to avoid crowding at the swimming location.

w)  If a unit vehicle is used to transport youth or a parent transports other youth in addition to their own, the vehicles must be sanitized before and after each use.

x)   The unit leader should provide masks, gloves and other personal protective equipment as available and as appropriate to the function and location of the volunteers.  For example, if an adult leader were required to temporarily interact with multiple groups of campers, that leader should be provided personal protective equipment (such as a mask) when interacting with the other groups.

VULNERABLE POPULATIONS

1)   Regardless of the foregoing, individuals who have vulnerable health conditions are not permitted to attend any Council or District event or any campout or other event without a complete BSA medical form including Part C permitting such attendance.    

2)   According to Governor Kemp’s Executive Order, vulnerable health conditions include chronic lung disease, moderate to severe asthma, severe heart disease, immunocompromised individuals (e.g., cancer treatment, smoking, bone marrow or organ transplant, immune deficiencies, poorly controlled HIV or AIDS, prolonged use of corticosteroids and other immune weakening conditions), individuals, regardless of age with class III or severe obesity, diabetes, liver disease, and persons with chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis.

AN IMPORTANT REMINDER

We all desire to return to normal scout operations including camping.  We need your assistance to allow the Council to again open meetings, events and camps.   Please help us by following the above requirements.

While the above precautions and requirements are important, they do not remove the potential for exposure to COVID-19 or any other illness while at camp, at a meeting or at an event. Some people with COVID-19 show no signs or symptoms of illness but can still spread the virus, and people may be contagious before their symptoms occur.

Please use common sense.  Use face coverings and masks.  Maintain social distancing.  Be safe.

INDIVIDUAL UNIT EVENTS AND ACTIVITES

Consistent with our prior announcements, individual pack, troop, crew, post and ship units may make separate decisions regarding meetings and activities in conjunction with their chartered organization. However, when using our Council campgrounds, the above policy must be strictly followed.  We strongly encourage units to follow the above procedures when holding unit events and unit campouts at locations outside of our Council camps.  Please, follow all guidelines and requirements of our state and local health officials and our lawmakers. 

PARENTS AND GUARDIANS

We defer to parents and guardians who may adopt additional, self-imposed guidelines in addition to those described above.  Families always decide if their children should participate in unit activities or meetings depending on their comfort level.

SUMMER CAMPS

Again, Camp Rainey Mountain will be open for camping beginning the week of June 21. 

As previously stated, the above guidelines do not apply to Camp Rainey Mountain or to Scoutland during summer camp events and outdoor summer camping events.    Separate safety and sanitation policies will be communicated to troops and units attending those events.

SCOUT STORE OPERATIONS

As a reminder, you can continue to order your scout supplies and needs from our Council scout stores.  Both our Lawrenceville store and the Jefferson store are open.

CLOSING

We hope that the COVID-19 pandemic will be controlled in our communities, our State and our country.  We pray for the safety of our healthcare workers, first responders and those who serve others affected by this virus and who work to make our world safer. 

We appreciate your patience during this challenging time.  Scouting is moving forward in the Northeast Georgia Council. Thank you for all you do!

 

Northeast Georgia Council, Key Three

Craig Pett, Council President

Carter Wood, Council Commissioner

Trip Selman, Scout Executive