Information Sheet - COVID-19 Guidelines


The Safe Resumption of Scout Meetings & Activities.

We know that many of you are keen to get back to face-to-face Scout meetings and activities. However, we can only do that when it’s safe to do so – for both youth members, Leaders and volunteers.

Physical Meetings & Activities

Scout Groups themselves will make the decision about when to resume face-to-face meetings and activities, after consultations with their Sponsoring Authority and Assistant District Commissioner/District Scouter. These decisions need to be made within a national framework which is designed to help everyone stay safe.

To make sure everyone is working to the same standards; a checklist has been provided to assist you in ensuring that you are adequately prepared for most if not all activities in which your Group may desire to participate in. However, that does not mean that you should not discuss any and all activities with your Sponsoring Authority and Assistant District Commissioner/District Scouter before involving youth members.

Group Scout Leaders/Leaders-in-Charge need to make sure that their plans for restarting face-to-face meetings and activities are developed so that all members:

  1. Have the ability to comply with social distancing requirements (determined by National Protocols)
  2. Have access to the necessary Safety and Hygiene equipment e.g. Digital Thermometer, Sanitizing equipment and supplies.
  3. Have the ability to ensure hygiene levels are maintained, including hand washing, as well as surface and equipment cleaning
  4. Safely manage any risk to volunteers, young people and the wider community, including a reduction in group sizes where necessary.
  5. Make sure vulnerable young people and adults can be effectively safeguarded, both in relation to COVID-19, as well as other risk factors.
  6. Volunteers, parents/guardians and young people have been informed and clearly understand what adjustments need to be made to ensure everyone’s safety.

Remember each group is responsible for proper record keeping as to which members and volunteers attend activities and where the activity was held.

If the Scout Group feels that these conditions cannot be met or managed in a safe way, you should not resume face-to-face activities until sufficient control measures or mitigations are in place.

As always, the safety of our Scouts, parents/guardians and Leaders is our top priority. This checklist outlines several minimum guiding protocols Leaders must consider while deciding on when and how to resume meetings, service projects, camping and most other official Scouting activities.

    Before you gather:

    • Consult your District and Sponsoring Authority to understand the community standards and protocols which have been put in place.
    • Communicate to all parents/guardians and youth that the BBSA recommends that no one in the higher-risk category take part in person. Continue to engage them virtually.
    • Communicate that anyone who feels sick must stay home. If you become sick or develop symptoms, isolate yourself then go home and seek care.
    • Educate and train all participants on appropriate social distancing, cleaning and disinfecting, hand hygiene and respiratory (cough or sneeze) etiquette before meeting for the first time. Periodically reinforce the behaviours as needed.
    • Before attending, upon arrival and at least daily for longer events, all participants should be screened for any of the following new or worsening signs or symptoms of possible COVID-19:
      • Persistent Cough
      • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
      • Chills
      • Repeated shaking with chills
      • Muscle pain
      • Headache
      • Sore throat
      • Loss of taste or smell
      • Diarrhea
      • Feeling feverish or having a temperature greater than or equal to 38°C
      • Known close contact with a person who is lab-confirmed to have COVID-19
    • As appropriate, participants should have face coverings available to wear when gathering or when in public areas or venues. Several coverings per person may be needed.
    • Communicate that those who take part in person should avoid contact with higher-risk individuals for 14 days after the event.

    As you gather:

    • Minimize group sizes. Small groups of participants who stay together all day every day, remain 6 feet apart and do not share objects are at the lowest risk. Think of a Lodge, Six, Patrol or Team that does not mix or gather with other Lodges, Sixes, Patrols or Teams, with supervision that stays with the small group.
    • Stay local to your geographic area and Groups for unit activities. If you must travel, limit mixing with others along the way.
    • Minimize mixing with parents/guardians or siblings unless they are part of the unit activity. For example, the same parent picks up and drops off youth, and stays in the car. No guests or visitors who have not been through the pre-gathering protocols and screening should take part.
    • Have hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, soap and water, or similar disinfectant readily available for use at meetings, activities and campouts.
    • Minimize the use of common areas and shared tools. If unavoidable, they should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected between uses.
    • Develop dining protocols (including but not limited to):
      • No self-serve buffet meals or common water coolers.
      • Use of disposable utensils, napkins, cups and plates.
      • Clean and disinfect eating and cooking gear after each use.
    • Develop tenting protocols for the group:
      • Minimize use of fans or devices that stir the air.
      • Campers should sleep head-to-toe in bunks or cots spaced as far apart as possible.
      • Individual tents, hammocks and bivys may be considered.
    • During program activities:
      • Equipment that must be shared should be disinfected before and after each use.
      • Where possible, assign activity-related protective equipment for the duration of an event to a single individual (life jacket, gloves, harness).
      • Effective handwashing before and after each program area use.
    • In case of an injury or illness, promptly report the incident, including COVID-19 exposures. Utilize Incident Reporting Resources, including COVID-19 instructions.

    Controlled activities can be conducted. These are activities where limited numbers and specific activities are engaged in. e.g. hikes, guided tours, church services etc. Activities that encourage mass gatherings should be avoided e.g. parades, sporting activities with spectators, concerts, etc.

Virtual Meeting & Activities

For those groups who are having difficulty arranging face to face sessions, Virtual Sessions are allowed. You can use any suitable meeting platform e.g. Zoom, Google Meet, Google Teams. Although it is virtual, it is still a "Scout" meeting or activity. Those attending should wear their Activity Wear or if it is a special occasion, their uniform.

The below guidance applies to all online Scouting activities and meetings.

  • All youth protection policies still apply in an online environment. Ensure you always have two-deep leadership for online activities and meetings i.e. Two Warranted Leaders or Leader and Parent Helper. One-on-one contact between an adult leader and youth members are not encouraged – whether in person, online, through a web conference, over the phone, via text, or in any other form.
  • All aspects of the Scouting programmes are open to observation by parents. The BBSA suggests parents/guardians take part in online activities and meetings. You may also be observed by your ADC/DS to ensure all safety protocols are observed.
  • Use business-oriented conference platforms that include good safety and privacy features instead of platforms with other primary purposes (such as gaming).
  • Review the terms of service, safety and privacy features, and data collection policies of any platform you use.
  • Regularly review and implement the latest security features of your chosen platform to avoid unauthorized visitors or other security issues in your meetings.
  • Just as you put in place plans for the physical security of your meeting place, here are some tips to consider as you get started developing your own strategy to manage online security:
    • Use unique meeting identification numbers for each session.
    • Utilize password features for all meetings.
    • Do not publish meeting invitations via public forums and remind attendees not to pass along invitations.
    • Use “waiting room” features to manage letting individuals into your meetings.
    • Disable features that you will not need, such as screen-sharing by non-hosts, private chats, and whiteboards.
  • Do not record online activities/meetings that include youth participants.
  • Safeguard personal information.
    • If you collect a person’s personal information online - for example, through web forms used to register people for online meetings - then you should post a notice or disclosure at the point of collection describing how you will use the information. The notice should be conspicuous and written in plain English.
    • Group Leaders must keep such information private and not share a youth’s personal information with anyone except that youth’s parent or guardian

Whether face to face, Virtual or a blended situation please ensure that your Group is SAFE:

S – Supervision

    Understand all guidance on preventing COVID-19 exposure. Engage your membership in following all protocols and have all necessary Safety Equipment. Conduct the “before you gather” protocols.

    Remember the rules of online meeting participation for Leaders and youth members

A – Assessment

    Identify all higher-risk members whether, youth members or Leaders. Notify all members about the risks of participating in each activity since COVID-19 exposure cannot be eliminated. Verify that the planned activity, gathering or group sizes are within the COVID-19 requirements.

    Decide which online platform suits your requirements. Ensure it is easily accessible to all members of the Group.

F - Fitness

    Ensure that all members are properly screened before each activity and adequate records are kept of their attendance.

E - Equipment and Environment

    Verify that handwashing, hygiene and cleaning supplies are available and used properly. Monitor social distancing, interactions and sharing of equipment and food among participants. Monitor participants for changing health conditions. Use the “As you gather” protocols.

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. Every member, volunteer and family must evaluate their unique circumstances and make an informed decision before attending in-person activities. We hope this information will be helpful as you make that choice.


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