In communication with the Council Risk Management Committee and unit leaders around the council we believe it is important to publish an update our protocols regarding the Covid-19 pandemic. To date, there have been no outbreaks of Covid-19 attributed to any Scouting activity in the Voyageurs Area Council and we want to maintain that level of vigilance.
The Governors of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan continue to monitor the situation and, at present, have maintained executive privilege to impose restrictions on the public to maintain order and seek for the best good of the citizens and states. As vaccines, therapeutics, and other treatments become more widely available and used we expect these restrictions to lessen.
Since the VAC is headquartered in the state of Minnesota, we are under all legal obligations to that state. This is important in determining our continued course of action, rules and regulations. The leadership of the Council is concerned about maintaining strict organization and in not trying to regulate through three sets of rules or circumstances. The rules and regulations we have in place are intended for every unit in the VAC regardless of whether they are in Minnesota, Wisconsin, or Michigan.
As a reminder of where we stand:
In our communication with the Department of Health the following document was referenced: https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/schools/socialdistance.pdf . The document is dated 12/16/2020. Page 3 of the document states: “Within the program, create consistent groupings of the same staff, volunteers, and participants. The maximum number of participants is 15 people per group or room for indoor and outdoor activities.” This is the operational guideline we would like all Scouting units in the Voyageurs Area Council to follow.
Additionally, it is important to recognize that all of the standard protections remain in place.
- Wear a mask or face covering at all times when indoors at a Scout gathering or meeting of any kind.
- Each individual must commit to distancing guidelines of at least 6 feet.
- Rooms that are used for Scout gathering must be large enough to accommodate distancing rules of at least 6 feet for each person and avoid close contact.
- Contact tracing questions which have been in place for several months are to be asked as each person checks into the meeting or activity. (Persons that have any any questionable contact with anyone testing positive for the virus or that is currently ill should opt out of the meeting or activity, and upon review of the questions will be asked to leave the meeting.)
- Temperature checks done each time the group gathers.
- Materials for disinfecting items and for washing/disinfecting hands must be available and used as applicable.
Rules for travel, camping, and use of Council properties and buildings remain as currently issued.
As an addition to these rules and regulations, we want to allow for special opportunities for promoting Scouting and it aims and methods if they can be done within governmental guidelines and can be done safely. If any given unit has a plan to hold such and activity, and the activity falls outside of the current rules and regulations of the Council, and the unit believes that guidelines and rules specific to where their unit is chartered are significantly different and would allow for the activity – the following must happen at least two weeks in advance of the activity.
- A written plan for the entire activity must be submitted to the Council Risk Management Committee, through the Scout Executive, including where the event will be held, how many people are expected to attend, what safety protocols will be followed, and how the site will be cleaned following the event.
- A written, one-time, exemption must be obtained from the Council before the event can take place. An email for the primary person responsible would be the simplest way to complete this process.
We want to express our thanks to all our units, Scouts, and families for the proper care you all have exercised in keeping everyone safe and healthy. We continue pray and hope for significant changes that will allow all of us to put the strictest regulations behind us and return to the great outdoors where we might meet one another and have some great Scouting adventures.
Michael Jenkins, Scout Executive
Stacey Dennee, Council Risk Management Chair