Dear Girl Scouts,
At Girl Scouts our motto is “be prepared,” which can be challenging as protocols regarding COVID-19 (aka coronavirus) have evolved rapidly in recent weeks. Like many of you, we are closely monitoring information provided by the New Mexico Department of Health, Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, city and county health authorities, school districts and other partners to ensure that our decisions and guidance reflect Girl Scouts’ commitment to prevent the spread of coronavirus in our community. I am reaching out to you today to update you on actions we are taking in response to today’s press conference held by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, as well as in response to feedback and concerns we are hearing from you: our members, families, volunteers, staff, donors, supporters and friends.
Guidance for every Girl Scout
We all have a role to play in preventing the spread of coronavirus in our community. In the spirit of the Girl Scout promise and law, we ask every member to do their part:
- Follow CDC hygiene best practices that include regular hand washing for at least 20 seconds, avoid touching your face, and cover your cough or sneeze.
- Use non-contact forms of greeting instead of physical contact such as shaking hands.
- Keep at least 3 feet of distance between individuals at meetings and events whenever possible.
- Do not attend Girl Scout or other public functions if you are ill or believe you have exposed to a contagious disease like coronavirus.
- Consult your healthcare provider if you (or a member of your family) is at risk for serious illness from COVID-19 before attending a Girl Scout or other public event. Most children and adults under 60 are not at risk of serious illness from coronavirus. However, adults over 60 and those with a compromised immune system or an underlying health condition may be at greater risk.
- Use the resources on our Raising Awesome Girls site with girls who may have questions or concerns about coronavirus.
We encourage volunteers, caregivers and girls to use their best judgement when participating in community events and activities, and to follow all health and safety guidance from Girl Scouts and other official sources.
Girl Scout troop meetings and trainings
We are paying close attention to local guidance around best practices for keeping our children safe. Per the CDC, children have not been shown to be a high-risk group for serious illness from this virus. We believe that, to the safest extent possible and at the discretion of every parent, children should be allowed to carry on with their education and normal activities until there is a recommendation to change course. As of today, the CDC and NMDOH have not recommended school closures or widespread activity restrictions in our area. At present, girls and volunteers can continue to participate in most Girl Scout events and activities such as troop meetings and local field trips, as well as any council-sponsored trainings such as Babysitter Training and New Leader Orientation. With that being said, we ask that any individual who is ill or at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19 infection not attend council events, meetings or trainings unless cleared by a physician.
- Currently the New Mexico Department of Health is not restricting public gatherings in our area. If circumstances change, we are prepared to follow the recommendations of the CDC and local health departments to ensure the health and safety of our members.
- Our team is carefully reviewing the status of Council sponsored programs and special events, and every attempt will be made to provide at least two weeks’ notice if a decision is made to postpone, reschedule and/or cancel.
- For Girl Scout events managed by outside vendors check with the vendor regarding cancelations or refunds.
Avoiding domestic, non-essential airline travel is one step that we can all take to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Many businesses and nonprofit organizations, including Girl Scouts of the USA, have restricted airline business travel for employees in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. We are evaluating our upcoming Girl Reward trips and will have a final decision on their status in the coming weeks.
Other things to know
- La Tienda remains open on a regular schedule.
- For now, the Girl Scout Cookie Program will continue as planned, and cookie cupboards remain open through Friday, March 20, 2020.
- Check the council calendar for updates to other activities and events.
- Girl Scouts of the USA has provided a Raising Awesome Girls Blog article just for parents and caregivers to tackle any concerns your girl may have about COVID-19: How to Talk to Your Girl About Coronavirus.
Girl Scouts as a force for good
Throughout our history, Girl Scouts have played an important role in helping to keep our country safe. The 1947 Girl Scout Handbook explains: "A Girl Scout is ready to help out wherever she is needed. Willingness to serve is not enough; you must know how to do the job well, even in an emergency." During World War II, Girl Scouts tended victory gardens, sold war bonds and collected scrap metal. The work of today’s Girl Scouts is just as essential. Girl Scouts can continue to demonstrate leadership in the fight against coronavirus by teaching proper handwashing and other hygiene practices to their peers. They can learn about how coronavirus is spread and how to protect themselves and share this information with others. Girl Scouts can be a force for good by confronting misinformation about Asian-Americans, who increasingly have been the targets of racist attacks and discrimination.
On behalf of the Girl Scout movement, I want to thank each of you for being part of our collective action to prevent the spread of coronavirus. We will continue to update you via email and on the Girl Scouts of Greater New Mexico Trail’s website.
Yours in Girl Scouting,
CEO, Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails