COVID-19 Updates
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COVID-19 Updates

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8/1 Update: Staff will again work from home for the month of August

Per the mayor's order, the Girl Scouts of Alaska office will again be closed and staff will work from home during the month of August. We will still be working and reachable during our regular hours of Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Stay safe!

Questions? email customercare@girlscoutsalaska.org or call (907) 248-2250.

Note: Our COVID-19 furlough on Fridays in July has ended. We are now resuming our regular M-F, 9-5 hours.

6/8 Update: COVID-19 Troop Meeting Guidelines, Membership Offers, and Virtual Camp

Cases of COVID-19 are increasing in Alaska. Troops should continue to take precautions to limit the spread of COVID-19. We continue to recommend that troops do not meet in person and instead meet virtually or participate in Girl Scouts at Home activities like Virtual Camp with their families. Troops who choose to meet in person must meet the following requirements in addition to normal Girl Scout Safety Standards:

  • The troop leader must view the ‘Troop Meetings During COVID-19” video on gsLearn.
  • Leaders must instruct participants at the beginning of the meeting on appropriate hygiene and social distancing procedures.
  • No overnight meetings or trips outside of your community are permitted.
  • Meetings may not have more 12 people, including children and adults.
  • All attendees, adults and children, must wear face masks that meet CDC guidelines.
  • Hand washing or hand sanitizer must be used immediately prior to the start of the meeting and must be available for use throughout.
  • Meetings must be in a place where appropriate physical distance can be maintained. No field trips to public places like zoos or playgrounds, where closer contact with others may happen.
  • Each child’s belongings must be kept separate (in their own car, bin, cubby or other area).
  • Ensure enough supplies are available for each girl, so that sharing of materials is not needed (art, equipment books, other). Sanitize all supplies after use according to CDC guidelines.
  • Any food consumed during the meeting must be brought by individual girls. Sharing of food is prohibited.
  • All participants, adults or children must complete a health screening that includes the following steps:
    • Ask parents to take girls’ temperatures before coming to the meeting. Any person with a fever or who has a family member with a fever should remain home for 72 hours after the fever is gone.
    • Ask parents to confirm that girls do not have fever, shortness of breath or a cough.
    • Make a visual inspection of the child for signs of illness, which could include flushed cheeks, rapid breathing or difficulty breathing, fatigue, or extreme fussiness.
  • Use enhanced social distancing procedures and remain at least 6 feet away from anyone not from your household. Any activities that require projection of voice or physical exertion must take place outdoors and with a minimum of a 10 foot distance from any other person.
  • Any frequently touched surfaces like door knobs, light switches, etc. must be disinfected before and after the meeting and every hour during the meeting.

Show Love and Sisterhood

While you still have the option of renewing your membership or becoming a new member by purchasing a $30 annual membership, our hope is that you’ll either:

  • Allow Girl Scouts of Alaska to make the purchase on your behalf this year if it alleviates any general anxiety, uncertainty or financial burden you may be feeling. (Select the financial aid box on the registration form) OR
  • Purchase your membership with fall product and cookie credits. (Fill out this form)

Show Love memberships count toward Fill Your Troop. Already renewed your membership?  Email at us at customercare@girlscoutsalaska.org and we’ll refund your fee and apply financial aid or cookie credits.

Girls also have the opportunity to spread the love by using fall product and cookie credits to purchase another person’s membership or virtual camp fee. Simply fill out this form and we’ll let the person know about your generous gift.

COVID-19 Fall Product and Cookie Credit Use

We know girls have worked hard to earn fall product credits and cookie credits this year. While we have made the hard decision that we won't be holding in-person camp this summer, girls will still be able to use their cookie and fall product credits.

We have several types of options for you to choose from. You’ll see more information in this survey.

Regardless of however else you use credits this year, all left over credits will automatically roll over for use to pay for any council-run program and next summer's camp programs (2021). Credits will expire on 9/30/2021. Again, you don't need to do anything for the rollover to happen. It's automatic.

Virtual Camp

We hope you’ll attend virtual Girl Scout camp this summer. You can see all our virtual camp programs and sign up here. We will automatically apply credits to all camp registrations just like we have with past in-person camps. We'll take care of it all for you!

Questions? Email customercare@girlscoutsalaska.org or call (907) 248-2250.

6/4 Update: Show Love Campaign

We've just announced some unique ways you can use your fall product and cookie credits to pay for membership, virtual camp, and other opportunities this year! See info and fill out the survey about the Show Love campaign and COVID-19 fall product and cookie credit use in the "2020 Membership Options" tab, here.

And, don't forget to Fill your Troop before June 30! Show Love memberships count toward Fill Your Troop. You can find more information about Fill Your Troop on the same page.

6/2 Update: Virtual Summer Camp Registration is open!

Virtual summer camp registration is now open! Register here.

As you know, we’ve made the hard decision not to hold in-person camp this summer due to COVID-19. However, we are still hosting virtual camps. Get ready to experience a whole new camp adventure while still participating in many of your cherished camp traditions! 

You can find all the details of these new camp sessions in the Virtual Camp Catalog. Camp sessions will open at different times throughout the summer, but once they are open, they will remain available through the end of August and can be completed at your own pace. Virtual camp is more than online programs - while virtual camp will include live and recorded programs to watch online, there will be plenty of opportunities to move beyond the computer, with hands-on activities, outdoor adventures, and opportunities to connect with others across the state (and possibly the country). Girls from all over the country can attend!

You can use 2019 Fall Product Program and 2020 Cookie Credits to pay for camp.  Girls can also use their credits to help another girl go to camp! Find out more in the Virtual Camp Catalog.

Wondering what Virtual Camp is all about? Join us for a free mini camp sampler camp program to get a taste of the magic of camp. Again, you can find all the details in the camp catalog.

Finally, we know these are extraordinary times. We hope you'll allow us to cover your camp cost if it alleviates any general anxiety, uncertainty or financial burden you may be feeling. This year only, we won’t require families to complete the campership form or provide any proof of why they need financial aid. Simply check the financial aid box on the registration form and we’ll add the campership to your camper’s account.  We’ve also suspended our policy that girls can only receive financial aid for one session a summer. You can receive assistance for as many sessions as you need help covering.

5/12 Update: Cookie Sellers, Drive-Thru Booth Sales are a Go!

This is what you have all been waiting for! We are ready to re-start our cookie sale! Here is a list of dates, guidelines for drive through booths and an FAQ page. Please be sure to read it all the way through for full details.

If you’d like to have your Troop’s in-person delivery option in Digital Cookie turned back on, turned off or if you’d like to disable the Troop’s links to conclude your sale, please email gsakproductsales@girlscoutsalaska.org

All Cupboards (except East Anchorage) are available for additional Cookies. Please contact Cupboard Managers AHEAD of time to confirm varieties and ensure safe measures. Future pickups from Council will need to be scheduled ahead of time as no staff will be available at the new location. 

4/30 Update: COVID-19, Summer Camp and Cookie Updates

Dear Girl Scouts of Alaska,

We have many updates for you today. We know it is a lot of information, but please be sure to read through this whole message to ensure you are up-to-date!

Girl Scouts of Alaska Program Reopening Plan – 4/30/2020
(This plan was made with Alaska Mandate 16 – Phase 1 of the “Reopen Alaska Responsibly” Plan and CDC guidance and will be amended as new guidance is received.)

Summer Camp
Many of you have reached out to us over the last month asking whether we will be running in-person camps this summer. Last week the State of Alaska released new mandates and the CDC released guidance for camp programs. After review, we are NOT holding in-person camps this summer. If you have already registered for camp, we will refund 100% of your payment.

We know camp is a cherished tradition for thousands of Girl Scouts each summer. It’s hard to think that after over 70 years of in-person camps we won’t be able to do them this summer. Our first priority is always girls’ safety, and this decision is made with that in mind. So what WILL we do?

Like many of you our hearts are broken, but we do have some fun ideas for things to do this summer. We will offer girls, families and troops new and innovative ways to participate in summer camp programming. We’re still working on developing exactly what this will look like, and we want your input! Watch for a short survey in the near future so you can help us design what camp will look like this summer. 

We also know that girls have worked hard to sell cookies and earn cookie credits for camp. Again, we are working out how those cookie credits can be used, but at a minimum we promise that we will carry over all credits (fall product and cookie) for use next summer (2021). The survey about summer camp program will also include questions about how you’d like to be able to use credits earned. 

A Note to Our Campers:
We will miss you so much at camp this summer! While you are away we’ll work on projects like building more tent platforms and growing grass in the playfield, so that camp is ready for you when we can welcome you back in person. 

In the meantime, we hope you’ll join our camp staff for fun virtual activities this summer. Some of your favorite camp staff will be helping with program this summer, including:

  • Camp Directors Polar Bear, Firefly, Napa, Story and Buttercup
  • Camp Cook Lemonade
  • Camp Counselors Critter, Lyric, Reindeer, Jump Off Joe, and so many more!

We hope we’ll “see” you at camp this summer!

Cookies

We are now able to make no-contact deliveries! We encourage all parents to check out the  “Do’s and Don’ts” of porch drop-offs page and follow all Council guidelines. If you have additional questions or concerns regarding deliveries, please contact  gsakproductsales@girlscoutsalaska.org. Booth sales or “drive-thru” booths are still suspended until further restrictions are lifted.

Although state restrictions are easing somewhat, we want to emphasize that troops should not set up physical booths at this time and that they should continue to market safely online. Although they can’t physically sell cookies, this is a great time for girls to practice their online marketing skills! Check out the  Digital Cookie and Virtual Cookie Booth resources from GSUSA, as well as our council-specific  Virtual Cookie Booth resources. The GSUSA resources include sample messaging and graphics to make your online sale stand out on social media.

Try making your Virtual Cookie Booth a fun event to be attended! Mother’s Day is coming up, and what mom wouldn’t want cookies to celebrate her day? Girls can create Mother’s Day-specific messaging to bring customers to their sale. For example, this Lemon-Ups social media messaging: “Lift her up this Mother’s Day! The bright and motivating messages are sure to make her smile.” We can’t wait to see what creative ideas you come up with!

Digital Cookie is still open, and no final date has been set. In-person delivery options were turned off back in mid-March due to COVID-19. If you’d like to turn on the in-person delivery option for your troop or an individual girl, please email  gsakproductsales@girlscoutsalaska.org or call Council at 907-248-2250.

As a reminder, no final dates for the sale have been determined, including Final ACH, Digital Cookie, rewards, etc. Council is still waiting on direction from state authorities regarding restarting our booth sales, and we will communicate to troops once dates are finalized.

Troop Meetings
We continue to recommend that troops do not meet in person and instead meet virtually or participate in Girl Scouts at Home activities with their families. Troops who choose to meet in person must meet the following requirements in addition to normal Girl Scout Safety Standards:

  • The troop leader must view the ‘Troop Meetings During COVID-19” video on gsLearn, coming soon.
  • Leaders must instruct participants at the beginning of the meeting on appropriate hygiene and social distancing procedures.
  • No overnight meetings or trips outside of your community are permitted.
  • Meetings may not have more 12 people, including children and adults.
  • All attendees, adults and children, must wear face masks that meet CDC guidelines.
  • Hand washing or hand sanitizer must be used immediately prior to the start of the meeting and must be available for use throughout.
  • Meetings must be in a place where appropriate physical distance can be maintained. No field trips to public places like zoos or playgrounds, where closer contact with others may happen.
  • Each child’s belongings must be kept separate (in their own car, bin, cubby or other area).
  • Ensure enough supplies are available for each girl, so that sharing of materials is not needed (art, equipment books, other). Sanitize all supplies after use according to CDC guidelines.
  • Any food consumed during the meeting must be brought by individual girls. Sharing of food is prohibited.
  • All participants, adults or children must complete a health screening that includes the following steps:
    • Ask parents to take girls’ temperatures before coming to the meeting. Any person with a fever or who has a family member with a fever should remain home for 72 hours after the fever is gone.
    • Ask parents to confirm that girls do not have fever, shortness of breath or a cough.
    • Make a visual inspection of the child for signs of illness, which could include flushed cheeks, rapid breathing or difficulty breathing, fatigue, or extreme fussiness.
  • Use enhanced social distancing procedures and remain at least 6 feet away from anyone not from your household. Any activities that require projection of voice or physical exertion must take place outdoors and with a minimum of a 10 foot distance from any other person.
  • Any frequently touched surfaces like door knobs, light switches, etc. must be disinfected before and after the meeting and every hour during the meeting.

Bridging
GSUSA has shifted National Bridging Week to August 1-8, 2020. For troops that would like to celebrate bridging this May, look for some virtual bridging tips to be announced the first week of May.

Finally...
We know this is a lot of information and a lot of change.If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us at  customercare@girlscoutsalaska.org or 907-248-2250. Troop leaders and volunteers, we are holding another check-in webinar on Thursday, May 7th at noon and 7 p.m.  Sign up here. You  will automatically get the Zoom link via e-mail upon registering.

Thank you all for your patience and understanding during this unprecedented time.

Yours in Girl Scouting,
Girl Scouts of Alaska Council

4/20 Update: COVID-19 Summer Camp Update

All our resident and day camp programs are gearing up for summer camps and will be following all CDC, State of Alaska and American Camp Association guidelines. No change fee will be assessed if your camper’s session/camp is changed due to COVID-19. We will make a decision about whether we can host in-person camps by mid-May.

If it is necessary to cancel any or all of our camp programs we will issue full refunds (including deposits).  We are in the process of developing ways that girls can use their cookie credits they worked so hard to earn during this year’s cookie program.  We will have more details on what cookie credit options look like soon.

If we aren’t able to hold traditional in person camps we will pivot to virtual camp options.  We promise that virtual camp will still include all the important traditions that girls look forward to each summer including camp songs, gratitude sharing, exploring the outdoors, and even paddle lessons!

As we continue to evaluate how camp can safely happen this summer, we encourage you to look at our camp options with your girls and dream about future fun at summer camp!

4/16 Update: Day of the Girl Scout Leadership Luncheon

Although we had to cancel our 2020 Girl Scout Leadership Luncheon due to COVID-19, we are excited to share with you what is happening with Girl Scouts of Alaska today, the day the luncheon would have taken place. Read the email letter from CEO Leslie Ridle.

3/31 Update: New/Current Ways to Buy or Donate Cookies!

At this time, there are three ways you can buy cookies from Girl Scouts in Alaska and help girls reach their goals:

1. Although girls currently cannot physically sell or deliver cookies, they are still able to take orders. You can contact gsakproductsales@girlscoutsalaska.org to be connected with a girl taking orders through her Digital Cookie account. Girls can deliver the cookies after the hunker-down orders are lifted, or you can choose the option of having them shipped to you now.
2. If you are an Alaska business or an individual who would like to buy out a troop’s cookie inventory, fill out our Donor Buyout form. You can keep the cookies for your employees or yourself or donate them to a local charity and be eligible for tax deduction. If you choose to keep the cookies, Council will deliver them to you when the hunker-down order is lifted. Donor Cookie Buyout can be used by individuals making purchases of 50 boxes or more. If less, use the Cookie Care option!
3. The national Cookie Care program: Eat. Share. Show Communities We Care. Buy your favorite cookies online today and have them shipped to your door—or donate cookies and we'll distribute them safely to provide comfort to first responders, volunteers, and local causes in need. 

3/27 Update: Girl Scout Leadership Luncheon Cancelled

Due to the Governor’s mandate to self-isolate at home to prevent the spread of COVID-19, we have canceled our Girl Scout Leadership Luncheon, originally set for April 16. We want to make sure everyone stays safe during this time, and although we will not be rescheduling the physical luncheon, we are excited to continue to share with you what is happening with Girl Scouts of Alaska via email and social media updates in the next several months.

3/20 Update: Girl Cookie Delivery Suspended

IMPORTANT CHANGE: Any physical selling or delivery of cookies is suspended at this time due to the COVID-19 threat. Girls can take orders through their Digital Cookie accounts, but cannot deliver them until Council removes the suspension. We put the safety of your girls first, and once we can go back to our normal business we will be ready to pick up where we left off.

3/19 Update: Social distancing-friendly Patches of the Month are up!

We've put out our April Patches of the Month early and made them social-distancing friendly to add more activity options for girls to do at home. They've been added to our Patch Program page.

STEM Patch of the Month: Pandemic Prepared
This program gives girls the opportunity to learn about soap science, reducing stress, what viruses are, and more. It also provides resources for adults to talk about COVID-19 with girls.

Patch of the Month: Sisterhood
This program allows girls to learn about and connect with other girls and women with on-your-own or virtual programs. Perfect for Women's History Month!

We've added these programs and more to our ever-changing Virtual Programs page. Check it out!

3/17 Update: Girl Scout activity suggestions that are social distancing-friendly

1. Host virtual troop meetings and events! This is a great way for girls to practice their technology skills. Video conferencing programs like Facebook Live, Go-To-Meeting, Zoom, Skype, and Facetime allow troop leaders and girls to still see and speak to each other as if they are in a regular meeting. More tips on how to hold virtual meetings coming soon!

2. We are working to add more virtual programs to the calendar, as well as a list of suggested activities you can do at home, so keep an eye on the virtual programs page, the events list, and social media for more details. In the meantime, volunteers can watch past virtual programs like Math Mania, Antarctica, and Molly of Denali on gsLearn. This is also a great time for troop leaders to catch up on training and other videos on gsLearn!

3. Complete the Cookie Entrepreneur Family Pin! Girls of all levels can earn the Cookie Entrepreneur Family Pin with support from their families this season. The requirement sheets can be completed at home.

4. Online cookie program learning: Girls can team up with family members to hone their digital marketing skills as they run their cookie business online. They’ll learn about ecommerce and how to think like entrepreneurs by applying GSUSA’s digital marketing tips for cookie entrepreneurs and families. 

5. Outdoor self-distancing programs in Alaska, like the Eagle River Nature Center Self-Led Junior Naturalist Map Challenge.

Virtual Programming

Looking for something educational for kids to do at home in this time of social distancing? We've created a Virtual Programs page, which includes our newest Molly of Denali program and Q&A! The page also has a list of public online programs, like Cincinnati Zoo Home Safaris, programs from the British Museum, Code Studio, and more. Keep checking back on this page--we have more in the works and will continue to add them as we go.

How to help Girl Scouts sell during their cookie booth sale suspension

1. Do you know a Girl Scout? She can still sell you cookies!

2. Buy cookies through a girl’s Digital Cookie link. Find out more about Digital Cookie here or contact gsakproductsales@girlscoutsalaska.org to be connected with a girl selling in your area.

3. If you are an Alaska business and would like to do something nice for your employees who are still working to keep the doors open, Girl Scouts can get some bulk orders together for you!  We had a great company purchase over 300 boxes for their team.

3/14 Update: Cookie Booth Sales Will Be Suspended Due To COVID-19

Dear Girl Scouts, Parents, Troop Leaders, and Volunteers,

As the news about the COVID-19 virus becomes more dire, we need to keep the safety of our Girl Scouts and their families as our top priority. The Governor has called for all schools to be closed until March 30, and government and many businesses are starting to close their doors and limit exposure. 

Starting Monday, March 16, we are putting a “pause” on Girl Scout Cookie booth sales. We are also asking all troops and Service Units to look at your calendar of events between now and March 30 and consider postponing or canceling events that will bring groups together. We are leaving this weekend’s booth sales up to the discretion of Leaders and Parents. We understand if you decide to cancel your booth—do what is best for you and your girls.

I know these actions will cause a lot of concern and generate a lot of questions.  We will try to answer the questions you may have here.

I have a ton of cookies left—what am I going to do with them?!

We are considering this as a “pause” on booth sales, not a full-out stop on cookie sales.  We know you have cookies and need to sell them. Once this health crisis has passed or waned, we will work with the entire council to schedule a limited sale that will help make up for the 3 lost weekends. We will work to get the word out with the press and with advertising to let people know the sale will be happening again. We will also work hard to help find booth locations.

We understand this will be a pain point for troops and families. We will do our best to alleviate the hassle. Please keep an eye out for an upcoming survey regarding your current Troop inventory and questions regarding the re-start of the sale.

Can I still sell cookies individually to friends and family?

Yes.  We always ask that you use your best judgement and put the safety of your girl first.  But, we are not prohibiting individual sales—just booth sales in crowded places. If you would like your troop or a specific girl’s Digital Cookie in-person delivery to be turned back on to help sell some of the troop’s inventory, please contact gsakproductsales@girlscoutsalaska.org. Please make sure that parents are okay with delivering cookies before turning the option back on. Cookie Cupboards will be closed for additional pick up starting on Wednesday, March 18.

What do I do with my planned booths?

We will contact Council sponsored locations to cancel and establish new booths. Troops who have secured the current times will have the same time of the week for that location in the future. Troops who have secured booths on their own should contact the establishment and let them know you will be in contact soon regarding rescheduling.

Will you still do a bank account sweep?  If so, when?

Yes.  We have outstanding payments to our cookie baker. We will do the first sweep as advertised on Friday, March 20th.  We know majority of Troops have had time to do delivery pre-sales and participate in enough booth sales in these first few weeks to accomplish the sweep. However, our finance staff will be working with troops to make sure money from sales to this point is deposited and ready to go. If you are needing an extension, make sure to fill out the ACH Extension form and return it to Council no later than March 18. The final ACH will be adjusted to coordinate with the re-start of the sale.  We will be working remotely and you can still contact us through this pause.

Can my troop still have meetings?

Whether or not to hold troop meetings is up to each troop. But, again, please keep in mind that meeting in groups is not recommended right now. Consider communicating with your girls via phone, email or video chat to keep in touch while we wait this out. 

Is there any activity we can do virtually?

We are working to add more virtual programs to the calendar, as well as a list of suggested activities you can do at home, so keep an eye on the events list  and social media for more details. In the meantime, you can watch past virtual programs like Math Mania and Antarctica (Molly of Denali coming soon!) on gsLearn. Links are also available on the Patch of the Month webpage.

Will the Girl Scouts of Alaska office be open?

Many GSAK staff members will be working from home starting Monday, March 16, but we will keep the GSAK Anchorage office open with a very limited staff until 5pm on Wednesday, March 18 for anyone who has business to do with us before we close our doors. Juneau troops—please check in with Alyson Cooper if you need something from the office before Wednesday, March 18.  You can reach Alyson here

All staff will be working remotely M-F from 9am-5pm, so we can still respond to questions and concerns.  You can still email customercare@girlscoutsalaska.org. We will be checking it daily. You can also call us at 248-2250, but an email might be the fastest way to get a response.  We will be checking voicemail and will return calls as quickly as possible.

What’s next?  How long will this last?

We don’t know. As you know, this has been moving very fast.  We are following along just like the rest of you. As we said, barring our staff actually becoming ill, we will all be working. So, our hope is that once we can go back to our normal business, we will be ready to pick up where we left off.

What about events after March 30?

We don’t know yet. We will make decisions as we know more about COVID-19’s path in Alaska.

Resources from the CDC:
CDC Guidance & Updates
CDC Coronavirus Prevention
CDC Coronavirus Travel Information

This sure is inconvenient!

Yes it is.  But—we’re Girl Scouts. We are always prepared to make the best of a situation. This is a great time to help your girls by keeping in touch with them electronically or by phone. It’s a great time for families to come together and spend some quality time having fun. We will get through it and carry on after the scare is over.

We will keep in touch via our website, our social media (this is a great time to follow us on Facebook and Instagram), and email.

This week, Girl Scouts of the USA celebrated their 108th birthday!  Since our founding by Juliette Gordon Low in 1912, Girl Scouts have lived by our motto—“Be Prepared.”  As Girl Scouts, we can support one another and the girls we serve to learn what it means to be personally prepared and ready to be of service to our communities during challenging times.

It is at times like these that girls, and the world, need more Girl Scouts—we are strong together! 

Thank you for all you do for Alaska’s girls.  If you want to send me an email directly, you can at lridle@girlscoutsalaska.org.  I’m glad to also talk to you on the phone—shoot me an email and we’ll set up a time since I won’t be physically in the office.

Stay safe,

Leslie Ridle, CEO