Excerpt from the National Boy Scouts of America Statement on COVID-19 (May 7, 2020)
“As the national response to the coronavirus pandemic shifts to a state-focused and phased approach, the Boy Scouts of America is advising local councils to consult with their local and state health departments, as well as local chartered partners, in order to implement the appropriate protocols to help keep our members, volunteers, and employees safe. Units should look to their councils for guidance on whether to conduct in-person meetings and activities again. If a unit’s local council is allowing in-person activities but has restrictions in place (e.g., no more than 10, social distancing of 6 ft. etc.), the unit must meet and abide by those restrictions – even if the unit is traveling out of council/state.”
Safe Does Not Equal Risk-Free
Precautions and mitigation strategies are important, but they cannot eliminate the potential for exposure to COVID-19 or any other illness when in-person activities resume. People with COVID-19 may show no signs or symptoms of illness, but they can spread the virus. Some people may be contagious before their symptoms occur.
The fact is that someone with COVID-19 may pass the required health screenings and be allowed into program activities.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. If you are in this group, please ensure you have approval from your health care provider prior to resuming in-person Scouting activities.
Every member, volunteer and family must evaluate their unique circumstances and make an informed decision before attending in-person activities.
National BSA COVID-19 – Frequently Asked Questions
Topics: In Person Scouting Activities, Camping, Cub Scout Advancement, Scouts BSA Advancement
Advancement Update and Resources
8/26 Scouts BSA Advancement Updates and Requirement Deferments
Greater New York Councils – In-Person Scouting Activity Guidance
Units in the Greater New York Councils must follow the GNYC Guidelines to Restart Scouting Safely (updated on 9/28) that has four steps for restart. The Restart Scouting Safely Planning Guide can be used to develop the Unit’s Restart Scouting Safely Plan.
The National Council has issued additional guidance, the Restart Scouting Checklist, that should also be followed when developing the Unit Restart Scouting Safely Plan.
In addition to a Unit Restart Reopening Scouting Agreement- should be completed. This document is for units, their chartering organization, and meeting place contact to complete to ensure the best practices and safety guidelines are followed.
Unit Restart Planning Steps
- Step 1: Develop your Scout unit’s COVID-19 ‘Restart Scouting Safely’ plan with your unit committee.
- Using the GNYC Guidelines to Restart Scouting Safely and the National Council’s Restart Scouting Checklist, create a document that:
- Precautions found in GNYC and National guidelines for unit restart safety must be followed but should be customized on how it applies to each unit.
- Identify location-specific processes that the unit will follow for indoor and outdoor meeting areas
- Addresses concerns of the charter organization and parents.
- Step 2: Share your plan with your Scout unit’s Charter Organization and Scouting Professional. Discuss other requirements and guidelines the Charter Organization may have in place, and if your Scout unit has permission to begin using their facilities/space for meetings. Complete the Reopening Scouting Agreement with your Charter Organization leadership and meeting location leadership.
- Step 3: Communicate your unit’s plan to your Scouting families. Be sensitive to all families and consider offering a hybrid (both in-person and virtual) program to ensure all Scouts can participate. Parents should only resume Scouting when they are comfortable. Parents are highly encouraged to ask their unit leadership questions about the unit’s plan to restart Scouting safely, and a unit should ONLY begin meeting if social distancing can be assured.
- Step 4: Monitor and adjust your unit’s plan to be current with any new council, local, state, or federal changes. Repeat steps 1-3 when changes are made.
Sample Unit Restart Plans:
Sample Unit Restart Plan One (PDF)
The decision to allow activities or not allow activities, as well as the guidelines found in the ‘Restart Scouting Safely’ are based on current legal and public health allowances for organizations in the state of New York. The guidelines may become less restrictive or more restrictive based on government mandate. While we would love for Scouting to return to how things were prior to the pandemic, the return is not under our direct control.
No activities should resume in person until the unit has a reviewed Restarting Scouting Safely Plan.
For all in-person activities, as stated in the Restarting Scouting Safely Plan, families must follow the Pre Event Screening Checklist – Covid-19. and all participants must have an up to date, within the last year, BSA Health and Medical Record Part A and Part B.