Troop 95 Operating Procedures when the CDC has issued alerts due to a virus
Meetings time and location will be determined on a week-by-week basis and may be virtual. Meeting notices will be sent out regularly.
These guidelines are in addition to current Policies outlined in the current Guide to Safe, Boy Scouts of America Website and Scouts BSA Troop 95 handbooks. Nothing in this Operating Procedure will supersede policies in place by the CDC, government, Boy Scouts of America, the local BSA Council or the Chartered Organization’s (Temple Shalom) [hereinafter referred to as “The Authorities”] policies.
There have been multiple Pandemics in human history. Additionally, viruses usually under control have been known to re-emerge. The purpose of this document is to discuss camping guidelines when a virus is spreading easily through the community such that the CDC has issued guidance and recommendations for minimizing exposure. Alerts may be issued when flu season is particularly severe, when mosquito-born illnesses are prevalent and during times of novel viruses and pandemics. Alerts range from common sense reminders, such as hand washing and using mosquito repellent, to more strict rules such as quarantine.
When traveling out of the country, always check the CDC website for any travel alerts.
The troop will follow all recommendations of The Authorities. Scouts BSA Troops are technically a youth group of the Chartered Organization. All unit youth, leaders and activities must be approved by the chartered organization. The COR (Chartered Organization Representative) is the representative, and voice of, the Chartered Organization.
Virus – the current virus for which the alert has been issued. Typically a virus that is severe enough that the CDC and/or WHO has issued warnings for our area of travel and guidance for its management. State and local governments, Boy Scouts of America, and the local BSA council may have issued additional guidance and recommendations. These recommendations will be followed.
Pandemic – a disease that spreads from person to person throughout the world. It spreads quickly and easily making a lot of people sick.
ILI – influenza like illness which can indicate presence of COVID-19, or any range of flu, MERS, SARS or other pandemic illnesses.
Is it safe to travel to campgrounds/go camping?
Going camping at a time when much of the United States is experiencing community spread of a virus can pose a risk to you if you come in close contact with others or share public facilities (like restrooms or picnic areas.). Exposure may be especially unsafe if you are more likely to get very ill from the virus, due to an underlying condition, (related article, COVID-19 risk factors) and are planning to be in remote areas, without easy access to medical care. Also be aware that many local, state, and national public parks may be temporarily closed during these times.
Leaders should consider the recommendations of The Authorities in addition to the severity and risk to youth and leaders when planning a trip. Any person who has high risk factors for infection or serious illness should not go on the trip. Anyone recently exposed to a person with the Virus or who has recently traveled to a Virus hot spot should not go on the trip.
When planning a trip, consider the following:
- Closures – Review closures of your local area and any area you will travel through including business and park closures, closures of public bathrooms, playgrounds, swimming areas, etc
- Distance – how far the unit will be from medical care and from home. If a person begins showing symptoms of sickness, they will need to be sent home immediately.
Regional Community Spread – Reroute around “hot spots” or areas of extremely high community spread or outbreaks.
- Social Distancing Guidelines – Can the current guidelines be followed for this outing?
- Alternate Leadership – Have in place registered and trained leaders (over the age of 21) who are able and willing to fill-in should a leader become sick before or during the trip. Leaders who are an alternate should be packed for the camping trip and ready to leave immediately upon receiving a phone call that a leader is ill. The alternate leader must be able to transport the same youth as the ill leader.
- Tents – tenting requirements may mean more tents are needed. Policies may be amended to limit the number of youth in a tent and to permit the use of personal tents.
- Uniforms – Due to sensitivity of local residents, the unit may recommend that uniforms (field and activity) are not required or recommended for unit activities. It is the policy to allow youth to choose what uniform parts are required. In this circumstance, however, leadership may enforce amending uniform requirements to include wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as face masks or scout friendly bandanas over the mouth and nose.
- Sanitation & Protection – The unit should provide necessary equipment and supplies (within reason) and plan extra time to sanitize or prepare protective equipment as needed. Adults should plan on:
- Applying additional protection. Protection may include treating equipment with a preventative ingredient. For example, treating clothing and fabrics with Permethrin to prevent mosquito bites or using a special sanitizing solution for surfaces.
- Providing guidance to campers on clothing best suited to the activity, such as long pants or long-sleeved shirts to prevent bug bites or face masks to prevent viral spread.
- Providing guidance on best practices for sanitizing surfaces and equipment
- Providing guidance on best practices for maintaining sanitary hygiene above and beyond usual measures
- Carrying hand sanitizer at all time and any additional equipment as recommended by the CDC for monitoring the health of all campers
- Virtual Meetings – meetings may be held virtually if recommended by The Authorities. Leadership will work with you to help you attend all meetings and meet all rank requirements. Requirements may be amended during this time.
OUTINGS CHECKLIST DURING DURING PANDEMIC
(This checklist applies specifically to the COVID-19 Pandemic)
- Pre-screening Checklist [Download PDF Here] is performed before departing for any outing and before attending any in-person meeting.
- Twice daily wellness checks will be performed (see pre-screening checklist)
- 1 person per tent, personal tents may be used
- Wear mask & use social distancing in all public places (such as gas stations & shopping)
- Wash hands with soap and water before eating
- Social distancing during all meals
- Travel in groups of 10 or less
- Recommend 1 person trained in first aid for each group
- Each person carry personal hand sanitizer and use frequently
- Any person developing a fever or ILI (see prescreening checklist) must be quarantined and sent home immediately.
ALTERNATE & CONTINGENT PLANS
- Typical BSA Outing rules apply: Required Health Forms, Guide to Safe Scouting, Trained Adults
- Must prescreen all participants before departure
- Follow current state and local guidelines for travel, social distancing and sanitizing
- Follow local BSA Council’s recommendations and guidelines for unit activities
When Social Distancing is recommended and gathering sizes limited:
- Patrols will meet separately under the guidance of two registered and trained adult leaders.
- When camping, youth will camp by patrols in separate tents (no sharing of tents.)
- Patrols will perform all activities separately. Youth and adults will stay with their assigned patrol and not “visit” other patrols.
- When leaders or instructors visit other patrols, they must wash their hands in between visits and wear face masks if recommended by the CDC
- Leaders will oversee additional sanitizing of dining and socializing areas.
- Mass transportation will not be used as much as possible and each vehicle will not exceed group size recommendations and will contain the smallest group size possible.
- The same vehicle will be used for every trip in an outing. Youth and leaders will not be swapping vehicles.
- As much as possible, family members will be in the same patrol/unit and vehicle.
- Any merit badges or classes will be held outside as much as possible and will use social distancing. Facemasks are to be worn where social distance cannot be maintained.
Should a youth become ill with symptoms indicating a possible community spread viral infection:
- The youth will immediately be separated from the group and, if possible, quarantined away from the rest of the group
- The youth’s legal guardian(s) will be contacted immediately and asked to pick-up their child
- An adult leader who has had close contact with the child will monitor the child’s health and wellness until the child’s parents arrive. The leader will wear a mask and wash his/her hands between visits.
- Should the child need emergency care, such care is authorized by the unit permission slip. An adult will be assigned responsible for making decisions on the child’s behalf until the child’s legal guardian(s) arrive.
- Depending on the virus and distance from home, it may be necessary to immediately end the trip and take everyone home (if, for example, the virus is severe, spreads easily or spreads quickly.)
Note: We are not implementing this policy for COVID-19
Should a leader become ill with symptoms indicating a possible community spread viral infection,the leader should:
- Immediately notify another leader of the symptoms and review the ILI.
- Immediately self-quarantine in his/her tent. If the leader does not have access to a working cell phone, another leader should remain within shouting distance of the ill leader’s tent and wear a face mask and wash hands between visits
- The alternate leader should be contacted immediately and the alternate leader should travel to the camp site immediately.
- The ill leader should gather his/her belongings and prepare to leave
- Youth under the leadership of the ill leader will immediately wash their hands and change into clean clothing. If possible, youth should shower.
For viruses that are not community spread, such as tick or mosquito-born illnesses, the sick individual does not need to be quarantined. Their symptoms should be monitored closely and the individual may proceed with activities for which he/she feels well enough. It is strongly recommended that leaders call the alternate leader. Illness and medication may cause impairment, including fatigue, that can affect your ability to lead well and provide a safe environment for youth. Any adult leader that becomes ill should not drive. If the adult leader continues to drive he/she should not take any cold medication as that could impair his/her abilities to do so safely.