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COVID-19 Information

COVID-19

April 8 Update:
Summer Camp
We're actively preparing for a fun, safe summer and currently plan to operate camps as scheduled. We are monitoring recommendations from the CDC, NYS State Department of Health, local/federal governments and GSUSA. Ultimately, plans are subject to change based on all factors, but right now, our plan is to operate as normal. We're preparing to intensify management of health care and sanitization protocols above and beyond current processes, based upon recommendations from the County Department of Health and American Camp Association. Staff training and program development will delve further into these topics to enhance what we already practice, and COVID-19 specific measures will be introduced as recommended. Please visit our FAQs at gsnypenn.org/summercamp or email summercamp@gsnypenn.org for further questions and/or assistance.  

Cookie Program
With the uncertainty of when things will clear up, we’re postponing the LUSH and CEO Broadway Reward Experiences. Girls at the 750+ level who select LUSH as a reward will receive the earned gift card, the store experience date will be rescheduled at a later time. We will work with show availability once Broadway is back up and running to determine a new date and performance for girls at the 1350+ level who earn the CEO Broadway Experience. Note: events are subject to change, including substitutions. For troops with a 275+ PGA, we’re working with the three locations to ensure tickets will have an extended redemption time. We will also extend redemption dates on camp voucher rewards. We will share more with members directly when details are more final. (We are communicating regularly with cookie program volunteers via eBudde. View the most recent email here.) 

April 3 Update:
As we continue to navigate this “new normal,” I will be holding a series of LIVE meetings on ZOOM every Friday at 5 p.m. starting today through May 15.
 
Council staff and I will be there to help answer any questions you may have, and just to connect “face-to-face” and say hello during this challenging time. 
 
To join the meeting, visit girlscouts.zoom.us. If you don’t already have a ZOOM account, you’ll need to create one and will then be prompted to download and install the app. You can join us from a computer or smartphone. A basic ZOOM account is free. 
 
Meeting ID: 873 595 887
Password: thinmints
 
Meetings will be held at 5 p.m. on the following Fridays:
April 3
April 10
April 17
April 24
May 1
May 8
May 15

We hope you will join us. We’re all in this together!

Yours in Girl Scouting,
Julie Dale, CEO and the Staff of Girl Scouts of NYPENN Pathways

March 31 Update:
Service Center, Camp & Store Closures, In-Person Events Cancelled/Postponed Through April 30

We have further extended this date based on local/state/federal guidance. We will again re-evaluate as we get closer to April 30 based on current mandates related to pandemic response. Be well! 

March 26 Update:
We recognize that this is a crazy time for everyone and appreciate that each girl, volunteer, family, troop and Service Unit has a different set of circumstances. We are all in this together!

If you can, please join me at 12 noon today, March 26, on our new GSNYPENN Live group on Facebook for a “Townhall Q&A.” I’ll be there to chat and answer any questions you might have. (See below for more information about this new platform.)

Service Center, Camp & Store Closures, In-Person Events Cancelled/Postponed Through April 15
We have extended our original April 1 date to April 15. We will re-evaluate this date as we get closer based on current federal, state and local mandates.

Cookie Program Closeout
With all of this in mind, we are working through how to close out the 2020 cookie program and providing you with ways to get cookies off your dining room table and into the hands of those who could really use them right now. We are also giving you the option to stop participation in the program and just learned that GSUSA is also working on a national endeavor as well.

  • Parents & Caregivers: (Girl Delivery/Girl Orders): Only half of all eligible GSNYPENN girls have set up a Digital Cookie site. If you haven't done so yet, here's a chance to use your time inside and at home to practice new online skills. If you encounter any problems setting up your DOC, please message our Customer Care team using the Let's Chat feature on our website and they will help you. Use your girl's personal link and share her story with friends, family and neighbors through the end of May. It's easy! There is also now discounted shipping on 8 or more boxes.

  • Troop Leaders: If you need cookies to deliver (when restrictions are lifted), leaders can use "Cookie Exchange" in eBudde to find troops that have available cookies. Once you find a troop that has what you need, reach out to them to make the connection and reach out to your SU Cookie Coordinator (SUCC) to facilitate the troop to troop transfer in eBudde. You can also reach out to our cupboards and arrange to pick up more cookies if the cupboard still has inventory available. (To be clear: this is for when mandates are lifted, and it is deemed safe to do so.)

  • Troop Inventory: If your troop is interested in having companies pay for your inventory, and you don't mind them reaching out to you, make sure to fill out this form. We are promoting it on our website and will use it to help customers/businesses find cookies locally.

  • Donations: If you know people who wish to help, but you don't have cookies available, please send them to our donation page . We’ll use these funds to donate any cookies that can't be sold directly through troops.

  • Public Support: Many people do not know a Girl Scout and can’t leave their homes. GSUSA is working with all councils to create the One Movement Cookie Campaign where people from across the country can type in their ZIP Codes and purchase from a local council. Cookies will be shipped directly to homes. Proceeds from this site will be used to help as many troops as possible close out their inventory. There will be national advertising support behind this campaign. We’ll share the link as soon as it’s ready!  

  • End Participation: If any circumstance prevents you from participating in the cookie program further, please contact us at productsales@gsnypenn.org

Extended Dates for Cookie Program & Payments
If you have problems with these dates, please reach out to us at productsales@gsnypenn.org and we'll work with you. We want you to be in a position where your troop has resources when we return to some normalcy but understand that it may be challenging for some to collect funds when you are required to shelter in place. You may consider using peer-to-peer money-sharing apps to have parents/caregivers pay for individual girl’s orders as they are able. 

Revised Cookie Program Dates:

  • April 27: 50% of current outstanding balance due
  • May 4: 50% of current outstanding balance due (if you’ve continued to participate)
  • May 31: Digital Cookie closes (including Girl Delivery), program officially ends
  • June 3: Last day for troops to update girl reward selection in eBudde (by 11:59 p.m.), reference page 31 in your Cookie Manual for Volunteers
  • June 5: Last day for SU to finalize/update program in eBudde (reference your SUCC Guide)
  • June 5: Parent collections due
  • June 8: Final ACH payment withdrawal for any remaining balance due to GSNYPENN
  • Mid-July (estimated): Rewards will ship to SUCC, any rewards earned will have an extended use date so that they can be redeemed and enjoyed when it is safe to do so

Virtual Programs 
Yesterday, we launched virtual at-home programming via our council Facebook page. We’ve created a new group there called GSNYPENN Live. Please join our staff for some great sessions! You can find a schedule and events right on the page. Feel free to share this group with your friends, family and neighbors. You don’t have to be a Girl Scout to participate. (Videos will be archived here to watch at a later date, too.) 

Final Report Deadline Extended to December 31, 2020 for All Highest
Awards

Recognizing that many schools, youth activities and community gatherings have been suspended, and that we are navigating a period of rapid change, Girl Scouts is offering a three-month extension from September 30 to December 31, 2020, to provide flexibility for Juniors, Cadettes, Seniors and Ambassadors earning Girl Scouting’s Highest Awards. This is particularly relevant for 5th grade Juniors, 8th grade Cadettes and 12th grade Ambassadors who will bridge to the next program age level officially on September 30 and typically would no longer be eligible to earn the Bronze, Silver or Gold Award respectively.

During this time of uncertainty, please know that Girl Scouts remains here for you and your girl. We will take on this challenge together and lead, as we always do. 

If you have any additional questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at 1.855.213.8555 or  info@gsnypenn.org

Yours in Girl Scouting,
Julie Dale, CEO & the Staff of Girl Scouts of NYPENN Pathways

March 21 Update:
We continue to monitor the rapidly changing developments and recommendations put out by the CDC, NY and PA state governments and counties across our council footprint in response to COVID-19. PLEASE make yourself familiar with your state and local mandates.

NO ONE should be continuing to hold ANY in-person events at the council, troop or SU level per social distancing requirements being asked of everyone across our nation during this pandemic.

We are working on next steps for the cookie program, virtual programming and council operations post-April 1. At this time, we don't yet know what that will look like because the situation continues to evolve daily. We plan to post at minimum weekly updates here and across our social media and email messaging systems to keep you informed.

Please be sure to bookmark our dedicated webpage; like and follow us on social media and turn on notifications; and ensure contact information in your member profile is up to date so we can reach you via email, voicemail (coming from 315.698.9400), or text message (coming from 31279) when new information becomes available. 

We appreciate your understanding and continued patience as we all face this unprecedented national crisis together. Be well! 

A message from GSNYPENN CEO Julie Dale:

Hello, amazing Girl Scouts! It is so inspiring to hear about all the great virtual activities our girls are leading right now. I want to share that we are in this together! Our team is working hard right now to find creative ways to sell cookies, provide online programming and host virtual Girl Scouts. We will not let you down! Thank you for all you do to support G.I.R.L.s!

Very sincerely,
Julie

March 15 Update:
All GSNYPENN staff will be working remotely through April 1. You can still reach us via email and phone during business hours. All council service centers and stores are closed until April 1.

Council will be using a number of platforms to keep our members informed during this period. In addition to email, website and social media, we will be using the phone number 315.698.9400 to distribute voicemail messages and 31279 to send any text messages. Please be sure to note and save these numbers as recognized, trusted contacts.

PLEASE cease and desist ALL booth sales for the sake of our communities. We know we have leaders who feel that they are healthy and safe and have secured permission from stores and parents. We appreciate that everyone would like to take advantage of the good weather. We understand your enthusiasm and desire to sell your remaining inventory, but we must ask you to finish up whatever you are doing today, pack up and go home, even if you feel fine and wish to continue. It's the right thing to do.

We also ask members to stop calling and messaging us with violations. We do not have the bandwidth to police booths nor the ability to impose sanctions on troops who are just trying to sell their cookies. We want everyone to be safe, but please act like a Girl Scout. Refresh yourself with the Promise & Law, be responsible for yourself and those you lead. We got this, don't report other troops.

We will have plenty of opportunity to move inventory in the coming weeks, and will extend payments to reflect the reality of the situation. Thank you for remaining calm and for complying with this request.

March 14 Update:
We have learned that several school districts in our council territory have closed through mid-April. We will provide updates to our guidance for members and troops, including participation in the cookie program, as soon as we are able to make appropriate adjustments to our schedule. Thank you for your continued understanding and patience as we work through this unprecedented situation. 

March 13 Update: 
Thank you for working with us as we do our best to help slow down the transmission of the virus in our communities. Given the current local impact of COVID-19, we are making the following changes, recommendations, and updates for the remainder of the 2020 cookie program:

1.    Cookie Booth Sales: Effective immediately, we are suspending all booth sales. 

2.    Events: GSNYPENN is postponing all council events and programs until April 1, at which time we shall share an updated calendar with options for participation. Please comply with all local regulations and postpone or reschedule any planned troop events in accordance with CDC recommendations.

We strongly recommend volunteers suspend any and all local Service Unit/troop activities—including troop meetings, camporees and any other events or gatherings through April 1 and then reevaluate based on local conditions. 

Please note that all Girl Scout event insurance remains in effect as before. However, keep in mind that this is liability insurance and will cover injuries resulting from an accident. Girl Scout insurance does not cover healthcare or illness.

3.    Extension of Cookie Program: We will extend cookie season in order to allow girls, troops, and families to finish the program in a way that they feel comfortable. At this point, the 2020 program is extended through Friday, May 1.

4.    Digital Cookie (DOC): At the request of fellow volunteers, we have extended girl delivery through the DOC to Friday, May 1. Girls/families may consider contacting their customers and dropping off cookies at doorsteps at an agreed upon time.

We are also implementing a discount for customers who wish to have their cookies shipped to them. The change must be made by GSUSA. When it is ready to go, we will notify you. This change gives an extra incentive for customers to purchase from girls from the safety of their homes and does not require an in-person sale or delivery.

No shipping discount for 7 or fewer boxes

8-9 boxes, get $5.00 off shipping

10-11 boxes, get $7.00 off shipping

Buy or donate any 12 boxes, get up to $10.00 off shipping

5.    Remove Cookie Booths in eBudde: We are working with Little Brownie Baker to remove all scheduled cookie booth locations in eBudde.

6.    Cookie Cupboards Closed: Council cupboards will be closed until April 1. We will consolidate inventory from local cupboards starting next week.

7.    Important 2020 Cookie Program Closeout Dates: We have changed the dates of the program and will proceed as scheduled:

March 16: 50% of all girl order payments from Initial Order are due

April 13:  50% of current outstanding balance is due

April 20: If you’ve continued to participate, 50% of current outstanding balance is due

April 28: Last day for troops to update girl reward selection in eBudde (by 11:59 p.m.), reference page 31 in your Cookie Manual for Volunteers

April 30: Parent collections due

May 1: Digital Cookie closes, girl delivery ends, program officially ends  

May 4: Final ACH payment withdrawal for any remaining balance due to GSNYPENN

Early June: Rewards will ship 

8.    Cookie Program Reward Experiences: This year, we offered two new reward experiences to girls. In an effort to reduce contamination, Broadway has suspended shows through April 12. Many businesses who serve customers in the skin care area have suspended live experiences where customers touch their faces. We intend to deliver the Lush and Broadway experience as promised and will keep you informed when we can confirm details.

We will continue to take all possible and appropriate measures to ensure girls continue to have a safe, fun, one-of-a-kind experience with their sister Girl Scouts. Thank you for your cooperation and understanding as we all do our part to limit community transmission of coronavirus in New York and Pennsylvania.

Have a question? Contact us at 1.855.213.8555 or info@gsnypenn.org.

FAQ's

Q: If a troop is concerned about sales decreases in their communities, can cookies be returned?

A: The option to end sales is to address the health-related concerns of troops and families and is not intended as a safeguard against decreased sales. GSNYPENN continues to review public health recommendations and will provide any new updates, should they come to light. Troops can hold on to some inventory for friends and family sales. However, the packages kept with the troop will remain the financial responsibility of the troop/family and cannot be returned at a later date. 

Q: Will delivery of cookies to our Sweet Support partner, Meals on Wheels, continue as planned?

A: At this time, we do not have dates scheduled for the delivery of the donated cookies. We intend to deliver on our promise and will work with troops selected to meet with local MOW representatives in May.