COVID-19 FAQ

In-Person Unit Activities

Q: Should we hold in-person Scouting meetings, outings, or activities?

With safety in mind and based on guidance from national health officials, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) is strongly advising that in-person meetings, activities, events and gatherings be conducted only within the guidelines outlined by your state and local health department and other local officials, as well as under the direction of your local BSA council and chartered organization. This applies to youth and adults.

Q: If meeting locations are open, can units meet or do other in-person activities?

Councils make the determination, working closely with their council health supervisor and local health department, about when units can conduct in-person meetings and activities again. If the unit’s local council is allowing in-person activities but has restrictions in place (e.g., no more than 10, social distancing of 6 ft. etc.), the unit must meet and abide by those restrictions – even if the unit is traveling out of council/state.

Q: What do we do about Scouts’ fundraising activities? 

Fundraising activities may be held if those activities are conducted within guidelines outlined by your state and local health department and other local officials and under the direction of your local BSA council and chartered organization. This applies to youth and adults. If fundraising activities can be facilitated using digital methods while still adhering to applicable rules, then those activities may continue.

Q: What is BSA’s policy on social distancing in a tenting environment when camping?

Camping should only take place in accordance with guidelines outlined by your state and local health department and other local officials, as well as under the direction of your local BSA council and chartered organization. There is no formal national policy on social distancing in tents, just as there is no prohibition on tenting alone if logistics can accommodate that request. As always, all BSA youth protection policies must be followed.

Q: What are the youth protection guidelines if I am using a commercial video conferencing platform that allows for breakout rooms?

All breakout rooms for youth must have at least one registered adult and either another registered adult or a parent/legal guardian of a participating Scout.

Q: What are the refund policies if I have already paid for an event that has been cancelled?

Event organizers typically set refund or cancellation policies.  Please reach out directly to those organizers.  In the case of attendance at a national high adventure base, contact them directly about your crew

Camping this Summer

Q: What if I cannot get a new Part C, pre-placement exam because my healthcare provider is not taking well care exams now? 

As of 5/11/2020, BSA Accredited Council Camps and High Adventure Bases have been supplied a way to accept an extension of validity of the pre-participation exam (Part C) of the AHMR. We expect camps and bases will publish their policies individually, so please direct your specific situation to the camp you plan to attend this summer. This option may not be available for all councils as it may conflict with states’ camping statutes or requirements. This option does not apply to any unit activity or programmatic requirements such as for SCUBA.
Information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. If you are in this group, please ensure you have approval from your health care provider prior to attending camp.

We also encourage anyone whose medical condition or history has changed significantly since their last physical exam to get approval from their health care provider prior to attending camp.

Q: If my summer camp is cancelled, can my unit get together with other units and have our own camp?

No. Chartering organizations play an important role in the program and activities for their chartered units. Chartering organizations promote well-planned unit program for the units they charter and encourage their units to have active outdoor unit programs. Chartering organization are not authorized to plan, promote, and deliver programs for units outside of their charter.

It is the role of the council to plan summer camps and the role of councils or districts to plan camporees and other outings during the year that give youth an opportunity to test their knowledge and skills in competitive events with other troops and/or patrols.

When units with different chartered organizations do activities together, this becomes a district or council event and requires council approval. In fact, some states require such activities to be licensed.

Should your troop, crew or ship decide to do a long-term summer camping program for their own unit (Cub Scouts units are prohibited from this activity) please note that the Scouter Code of Conduct and relevant program safety and training requirements are still in place, e.g., Safe Swim Defense, Hazardous Weather, Wilderness First Aid, etc.

Q: My Wilderness First Aid Course has been cancelled; can I still go on my trek? 

Current Wilderness First Aid (WFA) certification will continue to be required for backcountry adventures including trek programs and high adventure base participation. As a reminder, a current CPR/AED certification is a prerequisite for a WFA course.   

For the summer of 2020, please review options for NCAP accredited local council camps and National High Adventure Bases via a blended offering by ECSI:  https://www.ecsinstitute.org/scouting-wfa 

Note: Online-only WFA courses do not meet the WFA requirement.  

Digital Safety and Online Scouting Activities

SUMMARY

As Scouting moves to virtual and online platforms, we offer the following reminders to help keep kids safe. The below guidance applies to all online Scouting activities and meetings.

Note: Some states may have legal requirements that differ from, and even go beyond, what is provided here. It is your responsibility to check and abide by your state laws and consult your local council when reviewing and applying the following guidance, which is not comprehensive.

GENERAL INFORMATION

  • Follow all youth protection policies.
    • All youth protection policies still apply in an online environment. Ensure you always have two-deep leadership for online activities and meetings. Our ban on one-on-one contact between an adult leader and youth applies to all interactions ­– whether in person, online, through a web conference, over the phone, via text, or in any other form.
    • All aspects of the Scouting program are open to observation by parents, and the BSA suggests parents take part in online activities and meetings.
  • Use business-oriented conference platforms instead of platforms with other primary purposes (such as gaming).
    • Examples of business-oriented conference platforms: Zoom, Skype, GoToMeeting.
    • Examples of platforms that are not recommended: Discord, Roblox, and Twitch.   
    • Please review the terms of service, safety and privacy features, and data collection policies of any platform you use, and review the BSA Digital Privacy and Social Media Guidelines linked below.
  • Do not record online activities/meetings
    • Call recording is subject to various legal requirements under U.S. law and the laws of individual states, some of which require all parties to a call consent to recording. Considering those potential regulatory risks, the BSA does not authorize the recording of online meetings/activities.
  • Safeguard personal information.
    • If you collect a person’s personal information online—for example, through web forms used to register people for online meetings—then you should post a notice or disclosure at the point of collection describing how you will use the information. The notice should be conspicuous and written in plain English.
    • Meeting organizers must keep such information private and not share a youth’s personal information with anyone except that youth’s parent or guardian or the unit leader responsible for tracking advancements. For example, a merit badge counselor should not publicly post or otherwise show a roster with personal information of Scouts the counselor has worked with.
  • Collecting personal information from youth under 13 is not recommended.
    • Do not collect personal information directly from youth under 13 years of age due to the parental notice and consent requirements under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”).  You should collect any data needed from the parent or legal guardian only.

Detailed youth protection information is available here. To ensure you are following safety standards for all Scouting activities, please reference the Guide to Safe Scouting.

The BSA’s Social Media Guidelines serve as a complement to our youth protection policies

Click here for info on how to maintain YPT.

Click here for the full article on Scouting Virtually.

Click here for the full article on Digital Safety.

 

Click here for a list of ideas on how you can continue Scouting at home.