COVID-19 Tips for In-Person Meetings & Events
Use the following tips for conducting in-person Girl Scout meetings and events during the coronavirus pandemic. All in-person meetings must follow Governor Abbott’s Minimum Standard Health Protocols and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, which together form the basis of the Girl Scouts of Central Texas Group Meeting Guidelines. When meeting in person, be sure to follow all current group size limits, wear masks as required depending on girl age and specific activity, and keep a safe social distance. Keep in mind that no live meeting is completely safe, even when guidelines are followed.
Safety protocols change rapidly. Consider any recent updates from the Governor, the CDC, and local guidance for your community before you meet. If your local leadership has issued a stay-at-home order, please suspend in-person meetings until that order is lifted.
It’s hot outside in Texas in the summer and fall. But meeting in the morning or in the evening makes getting together outside possible. Some meeting locations to consider include:
- Parks - even when playground spaces close, open space often remains available
- City hall, county court, or other government office grounds
- Parking lots - for example: church, school, service center, or scout house parking lot
- A troop member’s yard or driveway
- School fields - baseball, softball, soccer, football
Contact your city’s government offices or local outdoor locations to determine if other open spaces are available. Follow your local community’s guidelines for park, lake, river, or other open space closures.
Health officials suggest coronavirus is spread more easily indoors than outdoors. However, meeting indoors in large a space that allows for social distancing is still possible. Some options include:
- Basketball courts or gyms at recreation centers or schools
- Places/Houses of worship
- Library activity rooms
Availability of these meeting spaces varies by community.
Helping girls manage social distancing.
Younger girls may need some help in remaining safely distanced. Consider clearly marking each girl’s personal space so the troop can more easily follow social distancing rules.
- Have each girl sit or stand in her own hula hoop or on her own beach towel or picnic blanket
- Use sidewalk chalk or lay down tape to draw a “personal space” square for each meeting participant. Using sidewalk chalk, girls can decorate their own square while you meet!
Managing group size limits for larger troops.
Large troops can meet by dividing into groups of 10 or fewer and having the groups be near one other. For example, a multi-level troop may divide into smaller groups by level or a troop of 16 can split into two groups of 8.
Groups should not intermingle during a single meeting. Be sure to rotate girls into different groups each time you meet in person so that they can spend time with different girls.
Planning socially distanced group activities.
Badge earning and journeys are certainly on the list of activities that can be managed following health safety guidelines, but consider some of these additional options, as well.
- Drive-in Movie – each girl stays in the car with her caregiver, but go as a troop
- Drive-through zoo or safari - each girl stays in the car with her caregiver, but go as a troop
- Picnic or tea party – each girl brings her own food and drinks but eat together as a group. You can suggest everyone follows the same recipe to encourage girls to try something new. Or assign themes like “your favorite dessert” or “middle eastern meal” and have girls talk about what they’ve brought
- Scavenger hunts
- Bike riding
- Kite flying
- Obstacle course races– set up a quick obstacle course then time each girl as she goes through individually (think: run to this line, hop on one foot through these squares, turn around three times in this circle, jump until you cross the finish line)
- Butterfly release - purchase caterpillars, watch them crystalize, then everyone meets to release
- SWAPS – make SWAPS to leave on neighbors’ porches to show you’re thinking of them
Check locally for group-oriented community service projects, as well. For example, some communities are looking for volunteers to hand out food at food pantries or schools while following social distancing protocols.
Meeting online doesn’t have to feel like school or work. Girls may join one of our many council-hosted virtual events together as a group or individually, and you can host your troop meetings using Zoom.
Meeting options may need to be flexible based on the fluid nature of COVID-19 risk. Troops that are able to run online meetings as needed (or wanted) should 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 percent of the time to keep tech skills and virtual meeting habits fresh. Use the virtual troop meetings checkpoint found in the Safety Activity Checkpoints to guide your meeting plans.