Coronavirus & Scouting Activities

Page reviewed September 21, 2020

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Updated Guidance to Units

June 22, 2020

The Pacific Skyline Council understands that many units have questions regarding when and how they can begin holding in-person meetings, activities, and outings once again. With the situation and government guidance changing quickly, and with the wide array of possible meetings, activities, and events, it is not feasible to provide a comprehensive list of activities that units can or cannot do.

Considerations for Planning Unit Activities

BSA Units are operated by chartering organizations. These organizations are responsible for the leadership and management of the unit. Ultimately, a unit should conduct in-person meetings or activities only after consulting with their chartering organization and determining that the meeting or activity they wish to conduct is both safe and legal. In order for an activity to be conducted under the auspices of the Boy Scouts of America, it must comply with all BSA policies and comply with all local, state, and federal laws. Conducting an activity outside of these parameters could expose the unit, chartering organization, and responsible adults to personal liability.

The most prudent course of action for all units and chartering organizations is to monitor and follow the public health orders of their local municipalities and counties, as well as the public health orders of the state of California. Additionally, in the event the unit, in consultation with their chartering organization, determines it is lawful to proceed with an activity, ensure you are following all guidelines for conducting the activity safely. This includes guidelines from your county health department and the BSA. If an activity requires travel outside of one’s home county, units and chartering organizations should consult the public health orders of the county they are traveling to.

Status and Recommendation

The San Mateo County Health Officer issued a new order on June 17, 2020 based on a variance granted by the State of California and has rescinded its June 4 order. This order still has many requirements that must be followed for any activity outside the home. Santa Clara County currently has not received a variance and is still operating under an order that became effective on June 5.

To summarize: any unit gathering of any type must follow all BSA policies and adhere to all local, county, state, and federal laws. This includes laws of a locality, county, or state the unit activity is planned to occur in. Units must establish written plans and policies for each activity that show compliance and should communicate these plans and policies to all families that plan to participate. Additionally, the unit’s chartering organization must approve all activities conducted by the unit.

Updated Guidance to Units

June 3, 2020

The Pacific Skyline Council understands that many units have questions regarding when and how they can begin holding in-person meetings, activities, and outings once again. With the situation and government guidance changing quickly, it is unfortunately not feasible for the council to provide a comprehensive list of activities that units can or cannot do.

Considerations for Planning Unit Activities

BSA Units are operated by chartering organizations. These organizations are responsible for the leadership and management of the unit. Ultimately, a unit should only conduct in-person meetings or activities only after consulting with their chartering organization and determining that the meeting or activity they wish to conduct is both safe and legal. It is imperative that all units understand that, in order for an activity to be conducted under the auspices of the Boy Scouts of America, the activity must comply with all BSA policies, including, but not limited to, following all local, state, and federal laws. Conducting an activity outside of these parameters may potentially place the unit, chartering organization, and responsible adults, outside the policies of the BSA and therefore more exposed to personal liability.

The most prudent course of action for all units and chartering organizations to do, is to monitor and follow the public health orders of their local municipalities and counties, as well as the public health orders of the state of California. Additionally, in the event the unit, in consultation with their chartering organization, determine it is lawful to proceed with an activity, ensure you are following all guidelines for conducting the activity safely. This includes guidelines from your county health department and the BSA. If an activity requires travel outside of one’s home county, units and chartering organizations should consult the public health orders of the county they are traveling to.

We have provided links to relevant pages of the counties the Pacific Skyline Council operates in, the state of California, the BSA, and the CDC below.
Status and Recommendation

The San Mateo County Health Officer issued a revised Shelter in Place order on May 28, 2020 and the Santa Clara County Health Officer has issued revisions to their May 22 order that go into effect on June 5.


Both counties’ revisions expand the businesses and activities permitted, however, neither counties’ revisions provide significant leeway to allow for typical Scout unit activities.

Neither of these orders have specific end dates. Rather, they are in effect until they are “rescinded, superseded, or amended in writing by the Health Officer.”

As all units of the Pacific Skyline Council are located within either San Mateo or Santa Clara Counties, units are hereby advised that they should not plan or participate in any in-person Scouting meetings or activities until such time that the county they are located in amends the Shelter in Place order in a way that allows for individuals from separate households to gather in one place.

Additionally, given the unknown timeframe and fluid nature of the situation, units are advised to not make firm plans for any previously unscheduled in-person meetings and activities. Those units that have previously scheduled in-person meetings or activities (other than regularly scheduled unit meetings) approaching in the calendar are advised to communicate with the operator of the host site of the activity as soon as possible and inquire about a timeline for when decisions will be made regarding their ability to host. Inquiries about the refund of any deposits paid or the ability to reschedule to a later date should also be made. The activities should be cancelled if the public health orders in the home county are not amended by the date of the activity.

Guidance to Units

May 22, 2020

The Pacific Skyline Council understands that many units have questions regarding when and how they can begin holding in-person meetings, activities, and outings once again. With the situation and government guidance changing quickly, it is unfortunately not feasible for the council to provide a comprehensive list of activities that units can or cannot do.

Considerations for Planning Unit Activities

BSA Units are operated by chartering organizations. These organizations are responsible for the leadership and management of the unit. Ultimately, a unit should only conduct in-person meetings or activities only after consulting with their chartering organization and determining that the meeting or activity they wish to conduct is both safe and legal. It is imperative that all units understand that, in order for an activity to be conducted under the auspices of the Boy Scouts of America, the activity must comply with all BSA policies, including, but not limited to, following all local, state, and federal laws. Conducting an activity outside of these parameters may potentially place the unit, chartering organization, and responsible adults, outside the policies of the BSA and therefore more exposed to personal liability.

The most prudent course of action for all units and chartering organizations to do, is to monitor and follow the public health orders of their local municipalities and counties, as well as the public health orders of the state of California. Additionally, in the event the unit, in consultation with their chartering organization, determine it is lawful to proceed with an activity, ensure you are following all guidelines for conducting the activity safely. This includes guidelines from your county health department and the BSA. If an activity requires travel outside of one’s home county, units and chartering organizations should consult the public health orders of the county they are traveling to.

We have provided links to relevant pages of the counties the Pacific Skyline Council operates in, the state of California, the BSA, and the CDC below.

Current Status

The San Mateo County Health Officer issued a revised Shelter in Place order on May 15, 2020 that states,

All public and private gatherings of any number of people occurring outside a single household or living unit are prohibited, except for the limited purposes expressly permitted in this Order and the Vehicle-Based Gathering Order issued May 11, 2020 Health Officer Order No. c19-9 (the “Vehicle-Based Gathering Order”). Nothing in this Order prohibits members of a single household or living unit from engaging in Essential Travel, Essential Activities, Outdoor Activities, or Additional Activities together.

Additionally, the Santa Clara County Health Officer issued a revised Shelter in Place order on May 22, 2020 that states,

All public and private gatherings of any number of people occurring outside a single household or living unit are prohibited, except for the limited purposes expressly permitted in this Order. Nothing in this Order prohibits members of a single household or living unit from engaging in Essential Travel, Essential Activities, Outdoor Activities, or Additional Activities together.

Neither of these orders have specific end dates. Rather, they are in effect until they are “rescinded, superseded, or amended in writing by the Health Officer.”

As all units of the Pacific Skyline Council are located within either San Mateo or Santa Clara Counties, units are hereby advised that they should not plan or participate in any in-person Scouting meetings or activities until such time that the county they are located in amends the Shelter in Place order in a way that allows for individuals from separate households to gather in one place.

Additionally, given the unknown timeframe and fluid nature of the situation, units are advised to not make firm plans for any previously unscheduled in-person meetings and activities. Those units that have previously scheduled in-person meetings or activities (other than regularly-scheduled unit meetings) approaching in the calendar are advised to communicate with the operator of the host site of the activity as soon as possible and inquire about a timeline for when decisions will be made regarding their ability to host. Inquiries about the refund of any deposits paid or the ability to reschedule to a later date should also be made. The activities should be cancelled if the public health orders in the home county are not amended by the date of the activity.

Update on Pacific Skyline Council Camping Programs

May 20, 2020

As always, the safety of all our members, volunteers, and employees is the Pacific Skyline Council’s top priority. As such, we have taken a careful and informed approach in evaluating the operation of our camping programs this year. Since the spread of this pandemic, we have been continually monitoring the situation, and consulting with health experts, government officials, and other camp professionals.

 
Camp Oljato, June Cub Scout Day Camps

It is with a heavy heart that we announce, after a thorough review, the Pacific Skyline Council has decided to suspend operations at Camp Oljato for 2020. Additionally, the council has decided to

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cancel our June Cub Scout Day Camp programs scheduled to be held in Pacifica and Cupertino. We know camp is an important part of every Scout’s summer, and these decisions were not made lightly.

In an effort to provide outdoor programs for our Scouts, we are making plans now for Scouts BSA Day Camp programs, to be held in July and/or August on the San Francisco Peninsula. We aim to release details of these programs in early June.

July Day Camps

Additionally, we are still currently planning to operate our two scheduled weeks of Day Camp in July. These are scheduled to be held in Palo Alto and San Mateo. We will continue monitoring the situation and working with our local health officials as we finalize plans for these weeks. These weeks of Day Camp are:

  • STEM Day Camp – July 12-17 at the Palo Alto Scout Service Center
  • Camp Ta-Ki-Ma Day Camp – July 20-24 at Coyote Point Recreation Area, San Mateo
Virtual Programming Continues
Finally, we will be continuing our efforts in virtual programming. Be sure to keep an eye on our virtual events page.
 
Program Cancellation Communication

Registrants for cancelled programs are being contacted directly regarding fees paid to the council.

Our council and staff are saddened that we are not able to serve Scouts at Camp Oljato or in two of our regular weeks of Day Camp. This is an extraordinarily challenging time; unlike anything we have experienced. Our hope is we all emerge from this challenging moment stronger than before.

Most importantly, we look forward to providing the full range of Scouting programs, including outdoor adventures, as soon as we can and as the situation allows.

We hope all our Scouting families stay healthy and positive in our current environment and join us in preparing for excellent future outdoor programs.

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Masks Required in Public

April 27, 2020

“Bay Area residents must now wear face coverings in public.” “Any time you’re indoors or within close proximity of others within an essential business, you will be required to wear a mask.” Please note face coverings will not replace the 6 feet of separation that experts have recommended for social distancing. Read full article.

Council Offices & Shops Closure

March 18, 2020

In the interest of the safety and health of our volunteers, employees and community, and in response to the shelter-in-place order of Bay Area counties, we have closed our Council Service Centers (Foster City & Palo Alto) and both Scout Shops effective immediately and will re-open upon recommendations of CDC and local health departments. We do not have any known cases of COVID-19 within our staff,

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but think it is prudent to exercise social distancing as much as possible to reduce the spread of this virus. Our staff is committed to supporting your commitment to Scouting and will be working remotely. We are actively working on virtual support systems which we will announce as they become available.

We appreciate your understanding during this time and encourage you to reach out to any of our staff for remote assistance.

We will continue to post updates about services and recommendations for Scouting activities to our website and send communications to News You Can Use subscribers.

The council is recommending to all units that any meetings or activities be postponed or done via conference call or web/video conference. There are several providers that offer these services for free or relatively low costs online.

We encourage you to continue living the Scout Oath and Law, working on Scouting requirements at home, connecting with Scouting families, friends and neighbors via telecommunications, and offering to help other people at all times while maintaining your own health and safety and that of our community.

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A Message from the Council President to All Scouts

March 18, 2020

Dealing with the Coronavirus is a big challenge for our country, our state, our community and our families. With schools and so many other places temporarily closed down, you might feel confused, upset or even scared. But although we will have to stop most Scouting activities for a while, we never stop being Scouts. I hope this message will help you think about some things that you can do to help yourself and others around you.

Be Prepared–this is our motto, the idea that guides everything we do. During this time of public emergency, you can do your part to help make sure that you and your family have the

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supplies that you need in case someone gets sick and has to stay at home.

A Scout is Helpful–with schools and churches closing and lots of our parents working at home, it might be fun at first but it’s also hard to stay in one place and not participate in group activities that we’re used to. Make sure that you clean up after yourself. Play some games with family members. Offer to do extra chores. Your family will be grateful, and you’ll feel better that you’re helping out.

A Scout is Kind–when things around us change all of a sudden, it’s hard for some people to adjust. You may like the extra time you have to play or hang out by yourself, but others may feel sad or angry. Try to understand their feelings and let them know you care. That will help everyone know they’re not alone, but part of a family that loves them.

A Scout is Obedient–during an emergency we all need to pay attention to what government officials tell us about how to stay safe. And because our families are dealing with a lot of change, it’s more important than ever that we support our parents by doing what they ask us.

A Scout is Cheerful–when things are not normal, it’s natural that people will feel stress. It helps everyone when you show how, no matter what, you’re happy to be with your family. Find ways to laugh. Playing games reminds all of us how much fun we can have together.

A Scout is Brave–remember that we Scouts can always face danger even when we’re afraid. By doing everything you can to understand what’s going on and also doing what you can to help, it will be a lot easier for you to deal with all the changes going on around you.

A Scout is Clean–keeping this virus from spreading means that we all have to be especially careful, washing our hands, avoiding close contact when outside the house,taking off our shoes in the house, getting exercise and keeping ourselves healthy.

Do a Good Turn Daily–this is our slogan, a reminder that Scouts live a life of service to others. Look for ways you might help.But whatever you do, be sure to be safe.

Yours in Scouting,

Jim Pooley
Pacific Skyline Council President

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Guidance and Recommendations Regarding COVID-19 or Novel Coronavirus for Scouting Events and Activities

March 18, 2020

With the introduction of COVID-19 or Novel Coronavirus in municipalities served by the Pacific Skyline Council, many unit leaders and families may have questions regarding unit meetings, outings, and activities. We understand that the fluidity of this situation is causing uncertainty amongst units and volunteers in relation to its impact on Scouting programs.

The council’s Risk Management Committee and council leadership are monitoring the situation in real time and

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are reacting to new information as it becomes available. We are following the guidance and recommendations of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and will continue to communicate updated recommendations as new information becomes available.

The council is recommending to all units that any meetings or activities that can be postponed or done via conference call or web/video conference BE postponed or done via conference call or web/video conference. There are several providers that offer these services for free or relatively low costs online.

If it is not possible to postpone or conduct a meeting/activity via conference call or web/video conference, we recommend that units strictly follow CDC, CDPH, county, and local municipality guidelines and NOT ALLOW THE PARTICIPATION of anyone who is feeling ill, presenting symptoms (fever, cough, congestion, headache, fatigue, or respiratory distress), OR those who have recently travelled to a level-3 country or had known exposure to COVID-19, to participate. Additionally, if units proceed with any meetings or activities, we recommend enforcing social distancing practices of having individuals maintain a minimum of 6-feet of separation from each other, and proper hygiene practices.

The council has also made the decision to hold all Council and district level meetings via conference call or web/video conference and to postpone all other council and district activities through the end of March. See below for a list of activities and their status. As the situation continues to evolve, we expect there may be further postponements.

For the time being our offices and the Palo Alto Scout Shop remain open with their normal hours. Additionally, the Foster City Scout Shop, run by the national council, is currently remaining open with normal hours. We ask that if you have business at our offices or either shop you follow social distancing practices and proper hygiene while visiting. If you are feeling ill, presenting symptoms (listed above), OR have recently traveled to a level-3 country or had known exposure to COVID-19, please stay home and call our office or email us to conduct your business.

The Pacific Skyline Council is committed to providing a safe environment for all Scouts and volunteers and will continue to update you as information becomes available.

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PLEASE NOTE: Summer programs such as Camp Oljato, Cub-On, and Day Camps are on schedule.

Guidance and Recommendations Regarding COVID-19 or Novel Coronavirus for Scouting Events and Activities

Updated: 3/10/2020
 

With the introduction of COVID-19 or Novel Coronavirus in municipalities served by the Pacific Skyline Council, many unit leaders and families may have questions regarding unit meetings, outings, and activities. We understand that the fluidity of this situation is causing uncertainty amongst units and volunteers in relation to its impact on Scouting programs.

The council’s Risk Management Committee and council leadership are monitoring the situation in real time and are reacting to new information as it becomes available.  We are following the guidance and recommendations of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and will continue to communicate updated recommendations as new information becomes available.

Currently, the council is not recommending units to cease unit meetings and activities or council basic leader training events but recommend following the preventative guidance of the California Department of Public Health and your local municipality.

According to the CDPH the health risk from COVID-19 to the general public currently remains low. However, this is a quickly-evolving situation. We do recommend that unit leaders, volunteers, and families take precautions and modify events to help prevent transmission. The best prevention against COVID-19 remains taking regular health precautions such as covering your mouth with a tissue or your elbow if you sneeze or cough, washing your hands with soap and water, and staying home if you are sick.

According to the guidance from the department (pdf), mass gatherings and large community events bring people from multiple communities into close contact with each other and have the potential to increase COVID-19 transmission and one method to slow the spread of respiratory virus infections, including COVID-19, is by increasing social distancing (reduce close contact).

Additional Recommendations for Community Events from the CDPH in Communities with Evidence of Community Transmission:

To better protect people attending and working at the event and the local community from COVID-19 infection; and to reduce community transmission and introductions of COVID-19 into new communities, the CDPH recommends the following additional recommendations for community events in communities with evidence of community transmission:

  • Instruct any participants or event staff to not attend if they have any respiratory symptoms (cough or runny nose) or fever regardless of the presumed cause.
  • Remind participants and staff to not attend if they have travelled within the past 14 days to an area identified by the CDC as having a Level 3 Travel Health Notice due to COVID-19.
  • Recommend that participants and staff at higher risk of severe illness not attend.
  • Ensure that event venues are well ventilated and are adequately equipped with facilities for hand washing and supplies including hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol, tissues, and trash baskets.
  • Increase the frequency of cleaning commonly used areas with detergent and water followed by a disinfectant that is EPA-approved for emerging viral pathogens.
  • Encourage participants to minimize close contact (e.g., recommend no hand shaking or hugging).
  • Maintain a registration list of participants and staff; this will significantly assist local public health in contact tracing in the event a COVID-19 case should later be identified as having attended the event.
  • Promote messages that discourage people who are sick from attending events. Create refund policies that permit participants the flexibility to stay home when they are sick, need to care for sick household members, or are at high risk for complications from COVID-19.
  • Isolate staff or participants in a designated space who become ill with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 at the event and provide a clean disposable procedure facemask to wear for those who may become ill. It is not necessary to distribute masks to healthy participants.
  • Establish procedures to help sick participants or staff leave the event as soon as possible without use of public transportation, shared rides, or taxis.
  • Provide alternative options for attending the event via phone, video, or web applications.
How Can People Protect Themselves:
  • Washing hands with soap and water.
  • Avoiding touching eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
  • Staying away from work, school or other people if you become sick with respiratory symptoms like fever and cough.
  • Following guidance from public health officials.
What to Do if You Think You’re Sick:

If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and may have had contact with a person with COVID-19 or recently traveled to countries with apparent community spread, call your health care provider or local public health department first before seeking medical care so that appropriate precautions can be taken.

Handwashing in kitchen sink, fruit in background