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COVID-19 Prevention

Updated 12:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 1, 2020

Our most valuable resource is our people, and protecting the health and well-being of our girls, volunteers and employees remain a top priority. Rule number one when it comes to emergencies? Stay calm. Read Girl Scouts of the USA’s “How to Talk to Your Kids About Coronavirus” for some helpful dos and don’ts on how to talk openly about what your girl may think or feel about the situation.

Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas (GSSWT) leadership is closely monitoring the continued spread of COVID-19 and regularly consulting reputable sources, including San Antonio Metro Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).


In May, Governor Greg Abbott announced the state’s ongoing plan to “safely and strategically open Texas while minimizing the spread of COVID-19.” Under Phase II, Gov. Abbott granted youth clubs permission to meet assuming minimum standard health protocols as outlined in The Governor’s Report to Open Texas are followed. Our region has successfully reduced community transmission of COVID-19 due to the consistent adherence of preventive measures recommended by both San Antonio Metro Health and the Texas Department of State Health Services.

On September 17, Gov. Abbott issued new executive orders expanding capacity for certain services. Though youth camps and recreational sports programs for youths are mentioned, youth clubs and youth club participants (of which Girl Scouts is included) are NOT.

We recognize how Girl Scouting’s social and emotional learning and positive peer interactions contribute to the mental health of girls amid the uncertainty caused by the pandemic. To support the continued well-being of our members, GSSWT troops and communities may be granted permission to meet in person following the required COVID-19 Health & Safety Protocols training effective August 1, 2020 and GSSWT will accept reservations for meeting space at the Sally Cheever Girl Scout Leadership Center effective October 1, 2020.

 

Steps we are taking:

  • All GSSWT offices remain closed to the public until further notice. 
  • GSSWT has developed a COVID-19 Health & Safety Protocols training that is required for all troop co-leaders to complete before a troop or group is permitted to meet in person. Visit our Volunteer Resources page for more information.
  • To accommodate troops and communities that have been granted permission to meet in person and are unable to find a meeting space, GSSWT will accept reservations for use of the USAA Multi-purpose Room at the Sally Cheever Girl Scout Leadership Center on Tuesdays, Thursdays and the 2nd Saturday of each month effective October 1, 2020. Visit the COVID-19 Protocols & Restrictions section on our Volunteer Resources page for more information.
  • The majority of GSSWT staff continue to work remotely. GSSWT continues a phased approach to return select staff members to offices at the Sally Cheever and West Side leadership centers, as well as Camp La Jita. Please email customercare@girlscouts-swtx.org with any questions or concerns.
  • The Girl Scout Shop at the Sally Cheever Girl Scout Leadership Center has extended its curbside pick-up options. Orders placed using the NEW online form will be available for pick up each Tuesday, Thursday and the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of each month. See the new Cara’s Boutique shop site for details.
  • GSSWT canceled our annual Celebrations ceremony originally scheduled for May 17, 2020. Please be assured that council leadership is pursuing alternative plans to properly recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of all our girls.
  • We’ve extended the deadline for girls to earn their highest awards (the Gold, Silver and Bronze awards) from September 30 to December 31, 2020. Please visit our Highest Award page for more details.
  • We continue to evaluate restrictions for all travel and overnight activities with girls.
    • We are suspending reservations at Camp La Jita and evaluating all camping trips and other overnight activities at other locations. Preventive measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 cannot be maintained at most overnight activities. Troop and community campouts or overnight activities will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, regardless of location. Volunteers are required to submit the online Activity and Trip Form to GSSWT for all overnight activities of one to two nights four weeks in advance.
    • All domestic and international travel with girls will be evaluated on a case by case basis. Please note that if there is any girl travel scheduled on a cruise ship, regardless of destination, or to a  U.S. Department of State  “Level 3 – Reconsider Travel” location, the trip should immediately be cancelled or re-routed. Travel with girls to any international location identified by the U.S. Department of State as “Level 4 – Do Not Travel” is never allowed. Volunteers are required to submit the online Activity and Trip Form to GSSWT for all extended travel of three or more nights six months in advance.

 


You can stop the spread of COVID-19:
Download the flyer in English and Spanish published by the City of San Antonio and Bexar County.

San Antonio Metro Health recommends practicing social distancing and observing basic hygiene practices to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus/COVID-19.

Social distancing is a practice in which people maintain safe distances from each other and avoid direct contact with high touch items in the community. Here are six ways to practice social distancing:

  1. Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  2. Avoid touching high-touch surfaces in public places like elevator buttons, door handles, handrails, handshaking, etc. Use a tissue or your sleeve to cover your hand if you must touch something
  3. Wash your hands after touching surfaces in public places and avoid touching your face, nose, eyes, etc.
  4. Avoid crowds, especially in poorly ventilated spaces. Risk of exposure to respiratory viruses like novel coronavirus/COVID-19 may increase in crowded, closed-in settings with little air circulation if there are people in the crowd who are sick
  5. Clean and disinfect your home regularly, including routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces
  6. Maintain a six-foot distance from others in public settings

The best way to prevent infection is to take precautions to avoid exposure to this virus, which are similar to the precautions you take to avoid the flu. The CDC always recommends these everyday actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

  1. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; if soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  2. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  3. Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  4. Stay home when you are sick
  5. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash
  6. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

 

COVID-19
What is a coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans. In humans, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The most recently discovered coronavirus causes coronavirus disease COVID-19.

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus. This new virus and disease were unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.

What are the symptoms?

Patients with confirmed COVID-19 infection have reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

This list does not include all possible symptoms. At this time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) believes that symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure.

Who is at a higher risk?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states those at high-risk for severe illness from COVID-19 are people 65 years and older, people who live in nursing homes or a long-term care facility and people of all ages with underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled, including:

  • People with chronic lung disease or moderate to sever asthma
  • People who have serious heart conditions
  • People who are immunocompromised
    • Many conditions can cause a person to be immunocompromised, including cancer treatment, smoking, bone marrow or organ transplantation, immune deficiencies, poorly controlled HIV or AIDS, and prolonged use of corticosteroids and other immune weakening medications
  • People with severe obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 40 or higher)
  • People with diabetes
  • People with chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis
  • People with liver disease
Can the virus that causes COVID-19 be transmitted through the air?

Studies to date suggest that the virus that causes COVID-19 is mainly transmitted through contact with respiratory droplets rather than through the air. 

Can COVID-19 be caught from a person who has no symptoms?

The main way the disease spreads is through respiratory droplets expelled by someone who is coughing. The risk of catching COVID-19 from someone with no symptoms at all is very low. However, many people with COVID-19 experience only mild symptoms. This is particularly true at the early stages of the disease. It is therefore possible to catch COVID-19 from someone who has, for example, just a mild cough and does not feel ill. The World Health Organization (WHO) is assessing ongoing research on the period of transmission of COVID-19 and will continue to share updated findings.

What is the risk of my child becoming sick with COVID-19?

Based on available evidence, children do not appear to be at higher risk for COVID-19 than adults. While some children and infants have been sick with COVID-19, adults make up most of the known cases to date.

Are the symptoms of COVID-19 different in children than in adults

The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar in children and adults. However, children with confirmed COVID-19 have generally presented with mild symptoms. Reported symptoms in children include cold-like symptoms, such as fever, runny nose, and cough. Vomiting and diarrhea have also been reported. There is much more to be learned about how the disease impacts children.

The Centers for Disease Control is working with state and local health departments to investigate reports of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) associated with COVID-19 and gather more information as quickly as possible about how common it is and who is at risk. MIS-C has been described as inflammation (swelling) across multiple body systems, potentially including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, and gastrointestinal organs. Signs and symptoms of MIS-C include fever and various symptoms such as abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, neck pain, rash, and feeling tired.

If your child has any of these symptoms, contact your pediatrician. If your child is showing any emergency warning signs including trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, bluish lips or face, severe abdominal pain, or other concerning signs, seek emergency care right away.

What should you do if you feel sick?

If you are feeling sick, call your primary care physician’s office before going in. If you do not have a primary care physician, visit any urgent care or walk-in clinic in the community after calling ahead. If you need to call 911 because you are experiencing severe and/or life-threatening flu-like symptoms and/or respiratory issues, be prepared to answer additional questions. Additionally, San Antonio Fire and EMS are practicing social distancing. If you see EMS crews keep a distance or decide to wear additional personal protective equipment, do not be alarmed. These measures are being used to maintain the safety of first responders.

Is local testing for COVID-19 available?

If you think you need to be tested, call your primary care physician’s office before going in. If you do not have a primary care physician, visit any urgent care or walk-in clinic in the community after calling ahead, or you can use San Antonio Metro Health’s online self-screening tool to better determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19.

The City of San Antonio has established drive through and walk up testing sites throughout the city. Learn more about the testing process and current testing locations by visiting the City’s Testing for COVID-19 webpage or calling the City’s COVID-19 Hotline at 210-207-5779 Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday – Sunday, 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Are there any treatments available for children with COVID-19?

There are currently no antiviral drugs recommended or licensed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for COVID-19. Clinical management includes prompt implementation of recommended infection prevention and control measures in healthcare settings and supportive management of complications. See the CDC’s Clinical Guidance for COVID-19 for more information. Children and their family members should engage in usual preventive actions to prevent the spread of respiratory infections, including covering coughs, cleaning hands often with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer, and staying up to date on vaccinations, including influenza. 

How long will it take to develop a treatment or vaccine?

Several drugs are being tested, and some initial findings are expected soon. 

Realistically, a vaccine will take 12 to 18 months or longer to develop and test in human clinical trials. If a vaccine is approved, it will take time to produce, distribute and administer to the global population.

What is our community doing about COVID-19?

This is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation and global, federal, state and local entities are working together 24/7 to provide updated information as it becomes available. Reputable sources our council leadership is consulting include the following:

Where can I call for more information?

San Antonio Metro Health has opened a COVID-19 hotline for residents to ask questions about the virus. The hotline is available in English and Spanish.

Residents can call 210-207-5779 or email COVID-19@sanantonio.gov.  Information regarding COVID-19 is also available in American Sign Language.

 

GSSWT
Are Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas (GSSWT) offices closing? Are council events canceled?

Yes. Due to the city’s escalated efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19, all GSSWT offices remain closed to the public until further notice. However, a majority of GSSWT staff continue to work remotely. The Girl Scout Shop at the Sally Cheever Girl Scout Leadership Center is offering curbside pick-up for orders. Please email customercare@girlscouts-swtx.org with any questions or concerns.

GSSWT is working diligently to offer council-sponsored activities virtually. We encourage you to visit our Events Calendar and Girl Scouting from Home pages and follow us @GirlScoutsSWTX on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube for exciting opportunities to keep your girl connected to her sister Girl Scouts.

Can troops keep meeting? Is it okay for our girls to be interacting with each other?

GSSWT troops and communities may be granted permission to meet in person following the required COVID-19 Health & Safety Protocols.

We recognize how Girl Scouting’s social and emotional learning and positive peer interactions contribute to the mental health of girls amid the uncertainty caused by the pandemic. To support the continued well-being of our members, GSSWT released a training that is required for all troop co-leaders to complete before a troop or group is permitted to meet in person. 

The training ensures the minimum standard health protocols as recommended for youth groups by The Governor’s Report to Open Texas and by Girl Scouts of the USA are followed.

In-person gatherings are optional. We encourage you to visit our Girl Scouting from Home page for helpful resources to meet virtuallyand follow us @GirlScoutsSWTX on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube for exciting virtual opportunities to keep your girl connected to her sister Girl Scouts.

Gov. Abbott granted youth clubs permission to meet May 18, why can’t Girl Scout troops and communities meet yet?

Troops and communities can meet in person if granted permission by Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas.

The governor’s Executive Order on May 18 granted youth clubs permission to meet in person as long as the minimum standard health protocols are followed and allows youth clubs to “adopt additional protocols consistent with their specific needs and circumstances to help protect the health and safety of all employees, volunteers, contractors, and participants.” It is the responsibility of Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas to provide all volunteers and participants with the training required by the minimum standard health protocols on the recommended screening, cleaning, hygiene and physical distancing recommendations to best limit the risk to our girls,  member families, volunteers and the council.

On July 1, 2020, GSSWT released a COVID-19 Health & Safety Protocols training that is required for all troop co-leaders to complete before a troop or group is permitted to meet in person. GSSWT troops and communities may be granted permission to meet in person following the required COVID-19 Health & Safety Protocols effective August 1, 2020.

Why can’t troops meet in homes?

Though our region has managed to limit community transmission of COVID-19 and state authorities have expanded capacity for certain services, the minimum health standard protocols recommended by The Governor’s Report to Open Texas require screening, cleaning, hygiene and physical distancing recommendations that are impossible to enforce in a private residence. GSSWT closely monitors the continued spread of COVID-19 and will re-evaluate this decision assuming community transmission of COVID-19 remains low in our region.

Is the Girl Scout Shop open? Can we place orders?

The Girl Scout Shop at both the Sally Cheever and West Side leadership centers remained closed to the public.

However, the Girl Scout Shop at the Sally Cheever Girl Scout Leadership Center is taking orders for curbside pick-up. Orders must be placed by noon on Tuesday or Thursday for curbside pick-up the next available day. Curbside orders may be picked up each Tuesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. or on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of each month from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

To place your order, complete our NEW online order form. Girl Scout Shop staff will contact you via email with an invoice to pay online. Upon payment, a confirmation email will be sent with instructions for your curbside pick-up.

Why did GSSWT choose to cancel Celebrations?

After consulting reputable resources and our community partners in government and education, council leadership determined it was likely executive orders prohibiting large gatherings would remain in effect through May which required GSSWT to postpone the Celebrations ceremony.

As community transmission of COVID-19 continued to rise this summer, GSSWT determined it would not be possible to schedule an in-person event before the new school year started. Council leadership was able to recognize this year’s Gold Award Girl Scouts through virtual events and personal visits to each girl’s home, and is working with communities to recognize girls earning their Bronze and Silver awards, as well as the top cookie sellers and Presidential Volunteer Service Award recipients this fall.

How do I get more information about planning a community Celebrations event in the fall?

If you are a member of your community’s leadership team, please reach out to your volunteer support team for next steps. If you are a troop co-leader or caregiver of a girl expected to receive an award, please reach out to your community leadership team for the latest information.

I wasn’t able to complete my Bronze, Silver or Gold Award project, what now?

We understand many girls may not have had the opportunity to complete their Bronze, Silver and Gold awards this year. To ensure all Girl Scouts who want to earn their highest awards this year have the chance to do so, we have extended the deadline from September 30 to December 31, 2020. To meet this new deadline, Girl Scouts should have a project identified, a plan in place and be ready to take action no later than September 30. Graduating seniors (Ambassadors in 12th grade) should have an adult membership to use the extension. Please visit our Highest Awards page for more details.

Can girls still camp?

We are suspending reservations at Camp La Jita and evaluating camping trips at other locations. Preventive measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 cannot be maintained at most camping facilities. Troop and community campouts will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, regardless of location. Volunteers are required to submit the online Activity and Trip Form to GSSWT for all overnight trips of one to two nights four weeks in advance.

Can girls still travel?

All domestic and international travel with girls is evaluated on a case by case basis. Please note that if there is any girl travel scheduled on a cruise ship, regardless of destination, or to a U.S. Department of State “Level 3 – Reconsider Travel” location, the trip should immediately be cancelled or re-routed. Travel with girls to any international location identified by the U.S. Department of State as “Level 4 – Do Not Travel” is never allowed. Volunteers are required to submit the online Activity and Trip Form to GSSWT for all extended travel of three or more nights six months in advance.

Hate or racism is growing towards the Asian community, how is Girl Scouts creating a safe space?

Unfortunately, these kinds of discriminatory attacks can occur at times like these. GSSWT strongly condemns acts of discrimination against the Asian community, or any other demographic group. We are proud of our legacy of inclusion and diversity. Girl Scouts is and always will be a safe space for all girls, regardless of the demographic group to which they belong. 

Does Girl Scouts have any medical expertise?

While Girl Scouts strives to be a resource for girls and their caregivers, we do not have any medical expertise. However, we want to ensure that official guidance from reputable local, state, federal and global sources reach our volunteers and member families in a timely manner.