We will continue to update this COVID-19 Info page with the most current policies and procedures pertaining to this ever-evolving pandemic.
Thank you for your continued support and flexibility.
For the most updated information, visit New Jersey COVID-10 Information Hub (nj.gov) for guidelines, quarantine recommendations, and FAQs.
NJ Mask Mandate Lifted 3/7/2022
At Girl Scouts, there is nothing we take more seriously than the safety and well-being of our girls, volunteers, and council staff. We have been continuing to monitor communications from the governors’ offices, the Centers for Disease Control, the National Institutes of Health, among others. Beginning March 7, 2022, mask-wearing will no longer be mandatory for members, volunteers, visitors, or council staff. Please see full policy change for additional information.
UPDATE 3/1/2022, Masking Update Effective March 7: With the decrease in COVID-19 cases, removal of some local masking policies, and increase in vaccination rates, Girl Scouts of Northern New Jersey is providing updated masking guidance for Girl Scout activities in our council, effective starting March 7, 2022.
Mask wearing will no longer be mandatory unless a troop leader or meeting location has different rules. We recognize that some volunteers may not be comfortable with their troops/groups being unmasked. With that in mind, if volunteers/leaders would prefer to have their groups masked, they are permitted to put that requirement in place. If the location you are utilizing for meetings or activities has more stringent policies in place than the current GSNNJ guidance, you must follow the location’s policies.
This guidance also applies to visitors and staff at any GSNNJ facilities. For health/personal reasons, some staff may request that you wear a mask when you are meeting with them, and if you would prefer staff be masked when you are with us, we are more than happy to wear a mask at your request!
As part of the Girl Scout Law, we pledge to respect ourselves and others, and we ask that you continue to be respectful of an individual’s masking decision. As always, we ask that you continue to follow Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and your state and local government’s guidelines and restrictions as they change. Please continue with good handwashing and sanitizing practices.
Updated 9/7/2022 and Effective 9/7/2022
The following are COVID-19 safety guidelines from our Council, however, please follow any additional guidelines in place at each location your Girl Scouts are utilizing, such as schools, recreation centers, libraries, and houses of worship, when visiting those facilities. (*NOTE: See location-specific information below our guidelines).
Guidelines for In-Person Troop Meetings
Troops can meet virtually or in-person: outdoor and indoor meetings
Troop Guidelines can help guide preventive
actions to protect against COVID-19 considering the level of current
risk. GSNNJ may modify this guidance as circumstances require.
Volunteers should be
reminded, and acknowledge understanding, that COVID-19 is an
extremely contagious virus that spreads easily in the community.
Volunteers should take all reasonable precautions to limit potential
exposure for girls, themselves, and families. It is an important
time to be a great Girl Scout and demonstrate Girl Scout values.
Pre-screening and Symptoms Check: Prior to attending in-person troop meetings and activities, all participants should complete the COVID Member Participation Screening Form and provide to the Troop Leader. This screening form is deigned to cover all meetings and activities for the year and does not need to be completed for each individual meeting.
Refer to the GSNNJ Attendee COVID-19 Screening Form.
Please be sensitive to the fact that girls may be experiencing symptoms that are similar but completely unrelated to COVID-19 and not contagious at all such as menstrual body aches or headaches or allergies or a pre-existing condition. The goal is to keep the meeting safe from contagion and do the very best to ensure our girls are educated and healthy, not to make it unnecessarily difficult or uncomfortable.
- There are no numerical limits for indoor or outdoor gatherings. Masks are encouraged for unvaccinated individuals; however, masks are no longer mandatory. The Department of Health recommends a face mask whenever you have symptoms of COVID-19, tested positive, were recently exposed to someone with COVID-19 or if you live in a community with elevated or high community levels.
- There are no longer social distancing requirements in place for meetings or activities. In new guidelines released on August 11, 2022, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has adjusted its measures surrounding social distancing and quarantining, with a focus on reducing severe illness.1 The organization no longer suggests staying six feet apart from other people, adding that contact tracing and regular testing should be limited to high-risk settings, such as hospitals, nursing homes, or prisons.
- The new guidance also does not require quarantining for those who have been exposed to COVID, as long as they are not infected.
- The CDC still
advises that people who are close contacts to those with COVID
maintain a routine testing regimen, and anyone who tests positive
should remain home for at least five days, while wearing a mask
around others for ten days.
- If volunteers/leaders would prefer to have their groups masked, they are permitted to put that requirement in place. If the location you are utilizing for meetings or activities has more stringent policies in place than the current GSNNJ guidance, you must follow the location’s policies.
- Virtual meetings: Meeting options may need to be flexible based on the fluid nature of COVID-19 risk. Troops that can run online meetings as needed (or wanted) should continue to do so. GSUSA recommends maintaining a virtual to in-person ratio of at least 20/80, which means to maintain virtual troop meetings at least 20% of the time to keep tech skills and virtual meeting habits fresh. For more information on how to plan a great virtual meeting: Tips, Tools, and Ideas for Planning a Great Virtual Meeting
In-Home Troop Meetings in the front or back yard: The general recommendation is to stay away from any type of in-home meetings. At this time, outdoor meetings, such as in the back or front yard, are permitted in private homes, providing the following guidelines are met.
- Please note that since it may be necessary for girls to enter a home to use the bathroom, girls should not enter the home to use the bathroom unattended.
- The home must be the home of registered, background checked, council approved volunteer.
- Girls may not meet in a home where a registered sex offender
- The troop needs to be able to focus without disruptions from other household members.
- Animals must be kept in a place that is separate from the meeting space.
- Homeowners should consider any personal homeowner insurance implications. The homeowner should ask their Homeowner’s insurance carrier if there are any insurance exclusions regarding holding troop meetings at the home, in the event an accident or injury occurs.
- Weapons must be completely out of view and stored in a locked space.
- Medication, dangerous cleaning products, or any poisonous substance must be stored in a secure space out of sight, preferably locked.
- Ensure that the Hygiene and Risk Mitigation and all other guidance in this document are followed.
Troop Meeting Space:
Indoor and outdoor spaces are permitted with proper permissions in
place from the property owners.
Troop Day Trips: Day
trips are permitted following
Checkpoints and GSNNJ Covid-19 guidelines.
Travel, Camping, and Overnight Stays: These activities are permitted (effective 1/18/22) for ages 5 and older. Vaccinations are not required, but are recommended. Please continue to follow hygiene and risk mitigation strategies such as using hand sanitizer, encouraging hand washing and leaving windows and doors open when possible.
(Car-pooling): Carpooling is permitted at this time.
Hygiene and COVID-19 Risk Mitigation: Share these with girls and volunteers and ensure that they are practiced during meetings and activities. Place signs in the meeting or activity space to remind girls and volunteers to engage in everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Signs should include:
- Stay home if you are sick.
- Cough and sneeze into a tissue, throw the tissue in the trash, and wash or sanitize your 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 available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Wash hands if you do touch.
First Aid Supplies:
Troop first aid
supplies should include COVID-19 prevention items including hand
sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol), tissues, disposable facemasks, and
disinfectants. Trash baskets or bags should be supplied for meeting
and activity spaces, if not already available.
First Aid / CPR Training: Keep skills up to date for any emergency.
Disinfectants and Disinfecting: Routinely clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that are frequently touched (i.e., tabletops, 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.).
Household bleach is effective against COVID-19 for up to 24 hours when properly diluted. Check that the bleach is not expired and determine if it can be used on a given surface. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application and proper ventilation. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser.
To prepare a bleach solution, mix:
- 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of water or
- 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water
See the CDC’s website for more on cleaning and disinfecting community facilities.
Face Coverings: NJ mask mandates are lifted on 3/7/2022 and at that time, masks are optional. All individuals should be respected for their choice and follow Girl Scout values. GSNNJ recommends that all members carry a mask with them at all times and utilize them in circumstances where another member may not feel comfortable being without masks. Again, if volunteers/leaders would prefer to have their groups masked, they are permitted to put that requirement in place. If the location you are utilizing for meetings or activities has more stringent policies in place than the current GSNNJ guidance, you must follow the location’s policies.
Designate a COVID-19
incident response lead: Volunteers should be directed
to contact a council staff member in the event of a COVID-19
positive test result. Please contact Jessica Hoffman, Chief
Operating Officer, at (973) 248-8200 or firstname.lastname@example.org for any
Fill out a GSNNJ COVID-19 Incident Report Form and submit it to Council.
All health information is private/confidential to be shared only on a need to know basis. There are laws and regulations governing sharing of health data.
Council staff, NOT volunteers, will notify parents and others about a positive test result and that the tester’s identity is confidential. The council staff point person responsible to manage COVID-19 positive tester reports will contact the parents of anyone who may have been exposed, or other adult volunteers, and will not share the positive tester’s identity.
Release and Waiver of Liability: COVID-19 is an extremely contagious virus that spreads easily through person-to-person contact. As with any social activity, participation in Girl Scouts could present the risk of contracting COVID-19. While GSNNJ takes every safety and preventative precaution, GSNNJ can in no way warrant that COVID-19 infection will not occur through participation in GSNNJ programs.
Restrooms: Girls and
adults should get in the habit of using tissue or paper towel to open
doors and latches, touching as little as possible. Restrooms and
toilets are fraught with germs normally. Be sure to practice good
hygiene and risk mitigation when using restrooms.
Quarantine/Isolation: If your child has tested positive or has been exposed and named a close contact, please utilize the quarantine calculator tool to determine the length of quarantine required: Isolation and Quarantine Calculator (nj.gov)
*NOTE: Location-specific COVID Guidelines Information
Morris School District Use
- When using any Morris School District building, at this time, masks are now optional.
- To report any COVID-19 exposure or
positive results after a Girl Scout activity, please email the
School Business Administrator, Mr. Anthony LoFranco