Dear Scouts and Scouters,
In response to requests for updates and more information regarding the loosening of restrictions relative to the Coronavirus Pandemic:
I have spoken with a “specialist” at the Minnesota Department of Health hotline. After nearly an hour of searching the database the specialist was unable to give me any specific guidance on new rules or regulations from the Governor’s office pertaining to youth serving organizations. I did discover that there has been an update to the Youth Guide I have referenced in previous protocol letters from the Counci Risk Management Committee. The update was as of May 27, 2021 and a link is here for your convenience. https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/youthguide.pdf
Please be reminded that, though we serve several counties in Wisconsin and Michigan, we have continued to follow the guidelines set forth by the Governor of Minnesota as baseline for policies the Council has set.
Given that the Governor has not addressed youth serving organizations in his two most recent addresses, we are referencing our (the Council’s) updated plan letter dated May 5, 2021 for part of the policy and the update Youth Guide for the rest. The basics of good hygene and keeping everyone safe remain in practice.
So far as we can determine, the rules regarding unit meetings have not changed. I will go so far as to say this refers specifically to den, pack, troop, crew, and post regular meetings. The latest available guidance from the Governor of Minnesota was an allowance for up to 25 people per room (physical distancing of at least 3 feet) and up to 50 people per pod or “cohort” outside. Units must follow any additional or more restrictive guidelines that stem from their Charter Organization or meeting location.
The recent removal of face covering restrictions only apple to those who have been fully vaccinated. Since vaccines are only available to those that are 12 years of age and older, we STRONGLY RECCOMEND that ALL Scouts wear a face covering indoors. (While some Scouts may be fully vaccinated the majority are not. We are concerned about creating a class system within the youth.) For outdoor gatherings, face coverings are optional, yet we still recommend using a face covering when you are not able to be socially distanced.
All Other Situations
The Youth Guide is geared strongly toward camping situations, yet it does an adequate job of maintaining guidance on most situations. I recommend that you make copies of the May 27 update available to leaders and parents.
The May 5, 2021 Council Covid-19 Plan addresses transportation and camping and overnight programs. Please continue to follow those guidelines with the following exceptions:
Adults who are fully vaccinated may now enter buildings on VAC property without a facecovering if so desired. Again, though there will begin to be more and more Scouts with full vaccination, for the time being we request that ALL SCOUTS wear a face covering when entering and participating in activities or overnight sleeping arrangements in a building on VAC property. Face coverings can be removed when sleeping.
Please continue to monitor the Council website at www.vac-bsa.org for continuing updates. With the accelerated pace of changes in restrictions, we will be sending out Covid-specific messaging at least weekly – even if there are no substantive changes. This is in the interest of making sure Scouts, families, and volunteers know where we stand on a contiuous basis. If there are meaningful changes we will do our best to get that information out to the membership immediately.