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Novel Coronavirus — October 26, 2020 Update: Explore Scouts Canada’s actions as we continue to follow the direction of government and health agencies in maintaining public health. View recommendations and stay informed here.

COVID-19 FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

STAGE PROGRESSION

The Council Key 3, in consultation with Scouts Canada subject matter experts, will review the provincial and municipal guidance and recommend moving forwards or backwards in STAGE progression. It is expected that Councils will move at different speeds and anticipated that some Councils will move backwards as well as forwards as the COVID-19 pandemic evolves.

Depending on the Council, notification may take the form of a website, email or GSS cascade of information. The Scouts.ca website will be updated with a dedicated page showing which council is in which stage at any time with clear reference to the applicable standard.

In Stage 3 in-person meetings may be expanded to a 50-person maximum (including all participants: youth, Scouters, parents, helpers) and not constrained to 16-youth. For example, a large Beaver Colony of 28 youth could meet with their 8 Scouters and additional parents and helpers to a maximum of 50 persons total.

This is not a simple one brush paints all answer. Instead, much like the decision for progression of the Council, the Council Key 3, in consultation with Scouts Canada subject matter experts, will review the provincial and municipal guidance and recommend an appropriate response. In the case of a single area requiring a shift to a different stage it may be suitable for only a municipality or region having more stringent controls. For example, the Peel Region near Toronto was moved to STAGE 1 (virtual), while the rest of the Council stayed in STAGE 2, mirroring the municipal and provincial guidelines. In this instance, the Council Key 3 alerted the impacted Groups through email. The Scouts.ca website will be updated with a dedicated page showing which council is in which stage at any time with clear reference to the applicable standard.

No. The intent of the restriction imposed is to limit higher-risk populations mixing with areas at a lower risk. All groups and sections located in an area designated as STAGE 1 would not be permitted to conduct themselves as if they were in STAGE 2 by locating their activities in a different area.

CAMPING STAGE 3

Given the inherent nature of higher risk with younger youth, overnight camping for Colony (Beaver Scouts) and Pack (Cub Scouts) is not permitted in STAGE 3. Daytime activities are recommended for both Colony (Beaver Scout) and Pack (Cub Scout). When a Council progresses to STAGE 4 Beaver and Cub camping will be permitted within patrols of 8 youth or less.

The intent of all safety controls is to limit the spread of infection. Within STAGE 3, the province has signalled that the rate of transmission is low enough to permit increased interaction between small groups providing appropriate health controls are in place. In the instance of food provision, a small patrol sharing a stove and cooking equipment, hygienically cooking a shared dish and serving individual portions is permitted. No direct sharing of food or drink is permitted – for example sharing directly from a bag of potato chips. Note: Adults must remain separate from patrols of youth and will thus need to provide and cook their own meals.

CAMPING — STAGE 4

Adults are required to maintain 2m physical distancing from youth, and youth are only permitted to camp if they can maintain a physical separation from other patrols. Given this, accommodations designed for small patrols only are being used as an additional (engineering) risk management control to prevent inadvertent mixing.

FALL SCOUTING SIGN-UP

By indicating your intentions of returning or not to Scouting this fall, you are guaranteeing your spot and helping us support Scouters who will be able to better prepare their Group for great fall adventures and fun, while putting our new safety Standard into play.

There is no fee and you will continue to receive member benefits such as priority registration for the 2021 Scouting Year that starts in January.

If you have not already done so, please sign up here

Membership has been extended to ALL current members until December 31, 2020, including membership benefits. Regardless if you participate in Scouting this fall, you remain a current member of Scouts Canada and will have the opportunity to guarantee a spot with your group before registration opens to the public later this fall.

Scouts Canada is eager to embark on outdoor adventures this fall and believes we have done as much as possible to mitigate risks,  but we understand that not everyone may be ready. We are excited to welcome you back when you and your family feel comfortable.

If you have not already done so, please let us know your intentions here.

Yes. By indicating your intentions of not participating in Scouting this fall, you are helping us support Scouters who will be able to better prepare their Group for great fall adventures and fun, while putting our new safety Standard into play. We are asking ALL members to let us know their intentions.

If you have not already done so, please sign up here.

It’s never too late to sign up for Scouts and we look forward to welcoming you back when you are ready. While we strongly encourage members to indicate their participation—whether returning or leaving—we will not close the ‘sign up’ function during the fall period. You will be able to sign up through Join on Scouts.ca.  

However, we will be opening up FREE trial to new members on September 16 and so we cannot guarantee a spot with your Group in the fall, if you do not sign-up by September 15. 

That said, you will not lose your membership status and benefits. ALL current Scouts Canada memberships are extended until December 31, 2020. You will continue to have the opportunity to guarantee a spot in your Group for January, when registration opens for the 2021 Scouting Year. 

You will NOT lose your membership status and benefits if you do not participate in Scouting this fall. ALL current Scouts Canada memberships are extended until December 31, 2020. Regardless of whether you participate in Scouting this fall, you are considered a Scouts Canada MEMBER until DECEMBER 31, 2020.

Three weeks before registration opens to the public later this fall, Scouts Canada members will have the opportunity to guarantee a spot in their Group for the 2021 Scouting Year starting in January. Participants of the fall FREE TRIAL will have the opportunity to guarantee a spot in the group only 1 week before registration opens to the public and ONLY after members have had the opportunity to guarantee their spot.

Scouting is a great way to socialize, learn new skills and participate in SAFE and FUN outdoor adventures this fall. During these unprecedented times, our youth can benefit even more from Scouting.

In order to participate in Scouting, you need to sign-up so we collect contact information. When you sign up for a FREE TRIAL, you can participate in an unlimited number of meetings until December 31, 2020, AND you will have the opportunity to guarantee your spot with your Group should you choose to register as a member for our 2021 Scouting year starting in January. In our most popular groups spaces are often limited, it is advised that new parents sign-up early if they wish to stay in Scouting with that Group. Note: There is a 30-day refund period for registrations.

FREE TRIAL sign-up will be available September 16, after our current members have signed up for fall Scouting. FREE TRIAL sign-up will be available through our Join page on Scouts.ca.

We are happy to welcome you! Our free trial offer will be available September 16 when all current members have signed-up for fall Scouting. Free Trial spots are dependent on availability — impacted by returning youth and Scouters. Only with this information can we open free trial spots with confidence to prospective members.

Sign-up process with be available on Scouts.ca on September 16.

We want our members to come back to Scouts when they feel comfortable and ready. That’s why we’ve made our refund policy more flexible to these changing times. While refunds are only available within 30 days of registration under usual circumstances, we are extending this timeframe.

Members who register for Scouting before January 1st, can request a refund at any point until January 31st.

Yes. Our standard refund policy allows for a refund within 30 days of a youth’s registration. As refunds for registrations made in the fall can be refunded up until January 31st, we encourage families to take time considering decisions around membership before deciding to not participate in Scouting.

Our refund policy allows for refunds within 30 days of an individual’s registration date.

PROPERTIES

Scouts Canada is coordinating with our various properties to ensure they follow proper health and hygiene guidelines and are ready to accommodate Scouting activities this fall . We will be adding an "available for Scouting properties" section on the Scouting resource page as early as next week. From there you will get a list of available properties as well as a link to reserve your time for your activity. 

PROPERTIES — STAGE 4

All active Scouts Canada properties are listed on Scouts.ca (http://www.xkokwx.icu/about/camps/overview.html ). If a Scouts Canada property is active, and has been verified and approved that all of the criteria required to be active are met, then yes those active Scouts Canada properties could be used for indoor meetings.

PHYSICAL DISTANCING

In all our surveys, engagements, and feedback (for this Standard) the majority of parents want to see smaller sizes for their youth to participate. Consistent with guidance from Provincial Health and Education Ministries (“Scenario 2”), we have proposed a balanced risk-based approach that leverages practical considerations of working with youth and leverages our core program Patrol System. Guidance varies but in general schools and other youth organizations are proposing cohorts of 8 to 15 people total, including adult support.

Practically speaking, with a need to maintain the Two-Scouter rule and maximize the ratio of youth to adults (8:1) this is the most efficient use of Scouter resources while maximizing the Patrol System methodology that is core to Scouting. This will make it easier for Scouters to be able to adapt program, manage risk controls, and provide reassurance to parents that their youth can experience Scouting safely.

The Two-Scouter rule must always be in effect and maintained.

The 16-youth maximum and cohorting into 2 teams of 8 youth maximum is also applicable to Rovers when participating as youth participants for the purposes of Scouting.

Not necessarily, as long as the Two-Scouter Rule is maintained you can support a group of 16 youth with 2 Scouters. It is always advisable to have an extra Scouter available, and for younger youth, 1 or 2 parents on hand to support. Ensure the 2 Scouters are within the field of view and within earshot of one another when with youth.

Absolutely, the 16-youth total is the constraint for one activity and Scouter-in-Charge. Many Sections will use Patrols of 3 and 4 youth and may have up to 4 or 5 Patrols. The cohort model is designed to keep the youth separate from another cohort. In this instance, if using 4 Patrols of 4 youth – keep them separate for the duration of the activity.

Many of the activities we run for Scouting, as well as those we participate in outside, have restrictions on number of attendees. The Section, in conjunction with the Group Commissioner as appropriate, should discuss this during the planning phase and communicate openly to parents and youth the restrictions, limitations and the ‘why’. We will always prioritize youth safety and have risk controls in place to manage risk levels within acceptable tolerance levels. Consider alternatives to how you will maximize the enjoyment without compromising the 16-youth total. Ask the youth, they will often find a solution.

If the 2 Scouters-in-Charge and Group Commissioner determine that the 2 Sections / activities can be held independently and can maintain physical distancing, then yes. For the purposes of this Standard – the Beaver Section and Cub Section are separate activities and require separate approvals. It would be appropriate for the combined total person to be less than the 50-maximum. If this can’t be achieved, for example, lots of parents and helpers are required in each section, then it would be important to ensure separation. Scouters, parents and other resources must not be shared between the 2 activity groups.

This same logic can be applied to splitting a large Beaver Colony or Cub Pack into 2 separate activities. Providing they can operate separately with a different Scouter-in-Charge without shared resources they can occupy the same location (separated) at the same time.

To aid this process, Scouts Canada will be providing further guidance for how to manage drop-off and pick-up procedures as well as attendance / sign-in that maintains physical distancing. Groups will be strongly encouraged to modify these for their local situation and conditions. This is a great opportunity to enlist support from willing parent helpers.

PHYSICAL DISTANCING — STAGE 3

On the basis that councils will only progress to STAGE 3 when the provincial health performance is improving and risk controls are relaxing, the 1m physical distancing within patrols is consistent with provincial health and subject matter expert guidance.

Provincial or municipal guidance or regulation must always be followed if stricter than Scouts Canada guidance.

PHYSICAL DISTANCING — STAGE 4

When conducting indoor activities, masks are required for all participants. This includes when within patrols (lairs, lodges). When conducting outdoor activities, unless prescribed by local regulations, masks are not required. Masks are neither recommended nor required when sleeping — for example within tents or indoors. This should be taken into consideration with other risk controls when determining the activities planned. Parents should be informed early and engaged in the planning of overnight activities and risk management.

VULNERABLE POPULATIONS

This definition varies slightly by province, but in general they all follow the Federal Government definition. For the purposes of Scouts Canada, it includes anyone who is:

  • an older adult (highest risk are adults > 65 years of age)
  • at risk due to underlying medical conditions (e.g. heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases, cancer)
  • at risk due to a compromised immune system from a medical condition or treatment (e.g. chemotherapy)

CLEANING & HYGIENE

It is critical that cleaning has been conducted before the next activity begins. It is necessary to clean all surfaces, equipment before and after use to reduce the chance of cross-contamination and disease transmission. Combined with hand washing, this is the best prevention for transmission. If the Scouter-in-Charge can satisfy themselves that this has been completed to the required standards additional cleaning would not be required.

Yes, Scouts Canada will be providing further guidance but in general, the best practice is to refer to Provincial or Federal Health Authorities, an example of which is: http://www.bccdc.ca/Health-Info-Site/Documents/CleaningDisinfecting_PublicSettings.pdf.

Yes. As long as the Scouter-in-Charge has verified and agreed that the bathrooms to be used meet or exceed the requirements of expected cleanliness and that hygiene and physical distancing controls can be maintained. Washroom usage should be considered as a standard part of the planning phase for any Scouting activity. The two Scouter rule must always be maintained. 

SCREENING

In general, no. This may vary by exception in some provinces and school boards, but broadly, when, for example, schools ask a youth to be isolated and / or tested, the public health authority instruction is typically requiring the youth and all household members to isolate for a minimum of 24 hours or until a negative test result. This does vary by province and by school board.

It would be advisable for the parent to engage with the Scouter in Charge and share the letter that accompanied the youth with instructions. The onus is on the parent as the legal guardian as public health authority notices are, in most instances, legally enforceable to the parent.

The specific reference in the standard is: Section 7.d.iv. “All persons ordered, and family members (or social bubble) of persons ordered, to quarantine or self-isolate under a Public Health order of a Municipality, Province or an order made under the Federal Quarantine Act are prohibited from in-person Scouting activities.

If planning on using public spaces, this must be taken into account in preparation for the activity or meeting. Known confluences or ‘hot-spots’ where lots of other people will likely gather must be avoided. If there are areas in which other people are congregating, select a location which limits as much as practical potential transmission and enables as much as practical physical distancing. This should be discussed with the Group Commissioner in the planning and approval phase of the activity in advance and in anticipation of such.

Scouts Canada has modified a set of questions that are used in provincial guidance for Scouters to use and developed a standard screening checklist that will be made available. No temperature checks or physical checks are required. No paper copy or digital record of the participant self-assessment is required. A question is included in the attendance checklist to confirm this has been completed. Only a confirmation checkmark on the attendance record is required for the Scouter in Charge’s records.

We should assume the parent has no ill meaning and take them at their word carry on as normal, maintain good hand hygiene, cleaning and physical distancing.

If requested by designated officials from the public health unit, Scouters should provide the contact tracing details as requested – recorded on the attendance sheet. Scouters should not further inform parents / guardians, youth or Scouters unless instructed to do so.

PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT

As with all safety and risk controls, they work as a system, no one barrier or control is designed to be used alone. If we design program as much as practical, screen for symptoms, use good hygiene practices, we will reduce the risk to acceptable levels within risk tolerance. Support the youth with what they need, if you feel uncomfortable wear a mask, gloves or ask someone else to help.

It depends. If the activity being conducted and the conditions (weather, time, other people) have not significantly changed, then no, the Group Commissioner can approve that a single form can be used for multiple activities. If weather or light conditions are expected to be different, or the activity to be conducted is different it may be appropriate to update the risk and emergency response plans. A new location will likely have different risks and different controls.

FOOD PROVISION

Cooking in small “social-bubbles” of 2 or 3 youth is a great way for the youth to practice the Outdoor Adventure Trail & Camping Skills. The youth can also develop their meal-planning skills, practice cooking new menus and be self-contained: planning, purchasing, carrying, storing, cooking, cleaning, and eating their own meals. For emergency purposes, you may want to consider having individually packaged food items on hand. No buffet-style, shared cooking – a great way to experience Scouting at its best.

OVERNIGHT CAMPING

In the interests of public safety, supporting provincial government approaches to curb the increases in COVID-19 cases, and to provide consistency and clarity to our Scouters, parents and youth; we have made the decision to prohibit camping for the short-term across all Scouts Canada operations in Canada. At this time this does not have an expiration date. The STAGE 2 Standard has been revised to recognise these changes to ensure consistency across Scouts Canada.

We have taken this decision to balance both the safety and legal risks to our members, youth and parents as well our continued alignment with the intent of public health officials to slow the spread of COVID-19. 

Learn more about Scouts Canada’s short-term ban on camping here.

As a result of recent increases in COVID-19 case counts, both provincial/federal health authorities and civic leaders have called for all Canadians to remain vigilant in their daily efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19.  Scouts Canada is a committed role model for our youth, taking steps that actively demonstrate our support for these public efforts.

It was felt that in the interests of clarity, consistency and a single voice for Scouts Canada alignment, all camping activities will be postponed and prohibited for the current time across the organization. This is consistent with our guiding principles that we will start Scouting, together, when it is safe to do so; we will not be the first mover, but a fast follower.

Learn more about Scouts Canada’s short-term ban on camping here.

APPROVALS

At the time of writing (July 8th, 2020), no provinces are mandating that workplaces or charity organizations submit a form for approval. The majority are requiring that a documented plan is available at any time but not submitted. This is the same for Scouts Canada ‘the business’ which has additional legal requirements for its employees.

No.The Modified Adventure Application Form (Pandemic STAGE 2) is only required to be completed by the Scouter-in-Charge and approved by the Group Commissioner on behalf of the Group Committee. There are no requirements for the MAAF to be submitted to either a Council or Service Centre.

ACTIVITY MODIFICATION & GUIDANCE

Yes. Each Section would require their own designated Scouter in Charge and be physically distanced (into separate areas) for the purposes of the activity – even if they’re part of one large Section split for the purposes of 16-youth total limits. Plans should also take into account staggered drop off and pick up times (as an example) to maintain physical distancing. A 50-person maximum limit is advised for the 2 combined Sections.

Singing, shouting and any activity which increases the chance for disease transmission should be limited. Singing, while seemingly safe, has been shown to significantly increase the risk for transmission and should be avoided. Look for a fun alternative to keep the youth engaged and increase physical distancing.

REGISTRATION

With the uncertainty of the return to school and variances in provincial re-opening plans, we have taken a prudent yet balanced approach to not open formal registration at this time.

Instead, Scouts Canada will be extending current membership for all youth and Scouters until December 31, 2020 to support in-person, outdoor activities in the fall.

We have heard your concerns about health and safety and we are also mindful that many families may be dealing with unprecedented disruption. Our goal is to enable mental and physical development for youth across the country. Maintaining our current membership allows Scouts Canada to focus on implementing the new safety and health guidelines we will be distributing over the summer to enable in-person, outdoor meetings and to enhance our virtual Scouting model.

Registration will re-open in the fall for the start of a new Scouting Year in January, 2021.

When members register for a new Scouting Year starting in January 2021, they will be registering for a full, 12-month year. Scouts Canada will be using this opportunity to pilot a January to December membership cycle.

Scouts Canada anticipates that this new membership cycle will provide many benefits for our youth by facilitating Scouting throughout the year and promoting Group continuity throughout the fall. 

Scouts Canada has not increased its fee. Scouts Canada will be offering a 12-month membership for a unified flat fee of $230. We have kept the fee the same because we are mindful that many families may be dealing with unprecedented disruption. 

New this year — $15 from each paid registration will be returned to the Group.

During these uncertain times, when fundraising may be more challenging, Scouts Canada is supporting its Groups by directing $15 from each paid youth registration back to the Group. By doing so, Scouts Canada hopes to enable Groups to deliver even greater Scouting adventures for youth in the new Scouting year.

Yes. All 2019-2020 Scouts Canada memberships have been extended until December 31, 2020. Members will be notified of the opportunity to guarantee their spot with their Group three weeks before registration opens to the public.

We will also make it possible for new youth to join Scouts for a FREE Trial until December 31, 2020. Sign-up for the FREE Trial will begin after September 1, 2020 and will be available on the JOIN page of Scouts.ca.

We are mindful that many families may be dealing with unprecedented disruption, which is why we have removed some uncertainty by extending membership until December 31, 2020. During this pandemic, we have witnessed the benefits of Scouting through the resilience and community leadership of our youth and volunteers. We are optimistic that by developing strict standards and guidance for in-person, outdoor meetings and a structured online model, we are developing solutions that will ensure the sustainability of Scouting now and long into the future.

GENERAL

At a minimum, all parents should be informed via email 2 days in advance of the planned activity. Ideally, an RSVP would enable the parent to share they have understood and confirmed and had an opportunity to ask any questions they may have. Other Scouting groups may also have regular virtual meetings, Facebook or other channels to engage their parents.

Scouts Canada will be developing materials, including a standard template email / letter, to support Section Scouters engaging parents.

At this time indoor activities are prohibited. Violation of this rule would be considered a violation of the Policies and Procedures and accordingly a violation of the Code of Conduct. Plans should be made to address alternatives, including inclement weather, that do not require indoor meeting space usage.

Safety is our number-one priority. We will take a measured and prudent approach to return to “normal” Scouting activities. Scouts Canada will take advantage of the usual summer hiatus to plan for the return of in-person, outdoor activities in the fall.

All in-person meetings continue to be suspended for the remainder of the summer.

ALL Scouts Canada properties will remain closed throughout the summer.

Consistent with the suspension of in-person activities for the remainder of the summer and based on advice that camping remains a high-risk activity according to most provincial health guidelines, Scouts Canada will continue to prioritize the safety of our youth, employees, volunteers and parents and suspend all in-person camps and camping activities for the summer.

The majority of mass gathering restrictions are still in place. It is uncertain when they will begin to lift and for how long. Scouts Canada is taking a balanced risk approach, remaining prudent and cautious so we can learn from others and adapt as needed.

We will take this opportunity to focus on supporting the return to in-person, outdoor activities in the fall. As a result, we are developing standards and guidelines to support our Scouters to ensure in-person meetings will follow provincial health and safety requirements. In addition, we are developing a comprehensive and sustainable solution for virtual Section meetings to ensure our youth stay connected and active regardless of restrictions.

We will continue to monitor this situation and expect to take our lead from school boards for school permits and mass gathering restrictions this fall. Scouts Canada is looking forward to the return of large in-person gatherings. In the meantime, we will continue to be creative by offering opportunities for youth to remain active and engaged so they can continue developing well-rounded skills that help them prepare for future success.

Keeping youth active and outdoors has been the core of our program for over 100 years and that will not change. However, given current restrictions, we have had to adapt. The benefits of Scouting go beyond outdoor activities. Leadership skills, community engagement, social connectivity and resilience are also key benefits of Scouting and occur through virtual meetings if we are creative and flexible. These skills are crucial during these unprecedented times.

Although we are as eager as you are to get back outdoors, we are equally committed to provide our youth with a quality program that will enable them to develop into well-rounded individuals despite current restrictions.

Throughout the summer, Scouts Canada will be developing a comprehensive and robust program to support virtual Section meetings that keep youth active and engaged in Scouting.

We are currently evaluating different scenarios regarding Scout Popcorn and fundraising. We are encouraged by our online Scouts Seeds pilot campaign this spring. We will communicate our direction once we have more certainty. In the meantime, provincial social distancing guidelines should be followed with regards to fundraising activities.

Under STAGE 1 (our current active STAGE), bottle drives and other in-person fundraisers are not permitted.

Under STAGE 2 (which we will be moving to on September 1, 2020) bottle drives, Apple Day, Scouts Popcorn and other In-Person fundraisers, will be permitted — as long as the controls in place meet or exceed the requirements of the Standard. Specifically, cohorts (Patrols), cleaning, hygiene, physical distancing and with clear informed parental consent.

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