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Latest Covid-19 facts from BSA national as of 05/14/2020


UPDATED 5/14/20 - The most recent updates are indicated by a diamond in front of the question.

In-Person Unit Activities

Q: Should we hold in-person Scouting meetings, outings, or activities?

With safety in mind and based on guidance from national health officials, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) is strongly advising that in-person meetings, activities, events and gatherings be conducted only within the guidelines outlined by your state and local health department and other local officials, as well as under the direction of your local BSA council and chartered organization. This applies to youth and adults.

Q: If meeting locations are open, can units meet or do other in-person activities?

Councils make the determination, working closely with their council health supervisor and local health department, about when units can conduct in-person meetings and activities again. If the unit’s local council is allowing in-person activities but has restrictions in place (e.g., no more than 10, social distancing of 6 ft. etc.), the unit must meet and abide by those restrictions – even if the unit is traveling out of council/state.

Q: What do we do about Scouts’ fundraising activities?

Fundraising activities may be held if those activities are conducted within guidelines outlined by your state and local health department and other local officials and under the direction of your local BSA council and chartered organization. This applies to youth and adults. If fundraising activities can be facilitated using digital methods while still adhering to applicable rules, then those activities may continue.

Q: What is BSA’s policy on social distancing in a tenting environment when camping?

Camping should only take place in accordance with guidelines outlined by your state and local health department and other local officials, as well as under the direction of your local BSA council and chartered organization. There is no formal national policy on social distancing in tents, just as there is no prohibition on tenting alone if logistics can accommodate that request. As always, all BSA youth protection policies must be followed.

Q: What are the youth protection guidelines if I am using a commercial video conferencing platform that allows for breakout rooms?

All breakout rooms for youth must have at least one registered adult and either another registered adult or a parent/legal guardian of a participating Scout.

Q: What are the refund policies if I have already paid for an event that has been cancelled?

Event organizers typically set refund or cancellation policies. Please reach out directly to those organizers. In the case of attendance at a national high adventure base, contact them directly about your crew.

Camping this Summer

Q: W hat if I cannot get a new Part C, pre-placement exam because my healthcare provider is not taking well care exams now?

As of 5/11/2020, BSA Accredited Council Camps and High Adventure Bases have been supplied a way to accept an extension of validity of the pre-participation exam (Part C) of the AHMR. We expect camps and bases will publish their policies individually, so please direct your specific situation to the camp you plan to attend this summer. This option may not be available for all councils as it may conflict with states’ camping statutes or requirements. This option does not apply to any unit activity or programmatic requirements such as for SCUBA.
Information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. If you are in this group, please ensure you have approval from your health care provider prior to attending camp.

We also encourage anyone whose medical condition or history has changed significantly since their last physical exam to get approval from their health care provider prior to attending camp.

Q: If my summer camp is cancelled, can my unit get together with other units and have our own camp?

No. Chartering organizations play an important role in the program and activities for their chartered units. Chartering organizations promote well-planned unit program for the units they charter and encourage their units to have active outdoor unit programs. Chartering organization are not authorized to plan, promote, and deliver programs for units outside of their charter.

It is the role of the council to plan summer camps and the role of councils or districts to plan camporees and other outings during the year that give youth an opportunity to test their knowledge and skills in competitive events with other troops and/or patrols.

When units with different chartered organizations do activities together, this becomes a district or council event and requires council approval. In fact, some states require such activities to be licensed.

Should your troop, crew or ship decide to do a long-term summer camping program for their own unit (Cub Scouts units are prohibited from this activity) please note that the Scouter Code of Conduct and relevant program safety and training requirements are still in place, e.g., Safe Swim Defense, Hazardous Weather, Wilderness First Aid, etc.

Q: My Wilderness First Aid Course has been cancelled; can I still go on my trek?

Current Wilderness First Aid (WFA) certification will continue to be required for all backcountry adventures. As a reminder, a current CPR/AED certification is a pre-requisite for a WFA course.

We are working with our partners at the American Red Cross and the Emergency Care and Safety Institute to look for solutions in response to the current situation.

Note: Online-only WFA courses do not meet the WFA requirement. As we review the issue, we suggest you begin working with your council’s WFA trainers to develop a plan for classes during the month of May or early June.

Original email May 21, 2020
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December 15, 2020
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