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

With safety in mind and based on guidance from national health officials, the Coastal Georgia Council, Boy Scouts of America (CGC-BSA) has suspended all in-person meetings, activities, events and gatherings through the end of April This applies to youth and adults out of an abundance of caution. This is in accordance with restrictions mandated by our state and local government declarations and the Executive Board of the Coastal Georgia Council.

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

The CGC-BSA is strongly advising that in-person activities be suspended through the end of April.  If fundraising activities (i.e. camp cards) can be facilitated using digital methods or with direct family  while still adhering to applicable rules, then those activities may continue. For plans beyond that date, the CGC- BSA will continue to monitor the guidance as the COVID-19 pandemic evolves and will further update guidance accordingly.

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

With safety in mind and based on guidance from national and local health officials, the Coastal Georgia Council has suspended all camping activity at the Unit, District and Council level through the end of April. This applies to youth and adults out of an abundance of caution. Please also follow any restrictions outlined by your state and local health department or other state and local authorities.

Q: Can my unit follow national BSA recommendations if council and district events are cancelled?    

No.  With safety in mind and based on guidance from state and local government officials, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) is strongly advising that in-person meetings, activities, events and gatherings suspended through the end of April. If your council has cancelled events based upon local restrictions, then units should follow that guidance. 

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

The CGC-BSA is constantly updating event cancellations or postponements through the weekly E-Blast, Web Site and calls to units from our executive staff.  Refund or cancellation policies will be clearly communicated and done so in a reasonable manner to benefit our scouting families.

At this time, summer National High Adventure events have not been cancelled (i.e. Philmont)  However, units should visit the National High Adventure Base web site they are attending for updates and contact them directly should you have questions.

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

We are evaluating all options while being mindful of those who have valid exams as well as those new members and adults who may have never completed a Part C exam, state and local authority requirements, and the special review required by high adventure programs. In the interim, we recommend that council health supervisors, camp staff, and volunteers begin a conversation on local availability of wellness exams and alternatives that could be put in place.

Q: My Wilderness First Aid Course has been canceled; 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.

Q: How can advancement be tracked remotely?

Scouting units should use Scoutbook to record and track advancement.

To track advancement remotely, parents should:

  • Connect with their child’s member profile via an invitation that the unit leader sends within Scoutbook. You may also connect to your youth via the Scouting app “Add a Parent connection.”
  • Once a connection is made, the parent should use the Scouting app, found in both the App Store and on Google Play, to stay connected with their unit.
  • The Scouting app provides parents the ability to report any advancement that was completed at home.

Learn more about how to start using Scoutbook and how to connect parents to their Scouts at Scoutbook.com.

Q: May parents sign off on Webelos and Arrow of Light requirements?

Yes. Through July 31, 2020, parents and other adults in the Cub Scout’s family, may sign off on Webelos and Arrow of Light requirements. We strongly encourage that parents use the Scouting App or ScoutBook to record the completion of their child’s requirements.

Q: If my den is behind in advancement due to COVID-19, can my Cub Scout continue to work on advancement through the summer?

Yes. Cub Scouts can continue to work on their current den’s advancement through July 31, 2020.  This is to provide any additional time a Cub Scout needs to complete their badge of rank; if they earn their badge of rank prior to July 31, 2020, they may advance to the next rank.

Q: May merit badge requirements or rank requirements be modified?

No. All requirements must be completed as written. If meetings or activities are canceled or limited, youth should continue to work on requirements as far as possible. By employing common sense and creative solutions, many requirements–even Scoutmaster conferences–can be fulfilled through video conferencing or telephone calls.

Q: Can merit badge counseling or Nova/Supernova counseling be done using digital technologies like Zoom or WebEx?

Yes, registered merit badge counselors or Nova counselors/Supernova mentors may work with youth using digital platforms, ensuring that all youth protection measures noted in the Guide to Safe Scouting and BSA’s social media guidelines are in place. In addition to youth protection, the advancement guidelines in Guide to Advancement (GTA) Section 7 are required.

Q: May time missed due to canceled unit meetings count toward active participation requirements?

Yes. If youth are registered and in good standing, a disruption from COVID-19 virus can be the “noteworthy circumstance” that prevents participation. This policy has been in place for many years and is explained in GTA Topic 4.2.3.1.

Q: May time missed due to canceled unit meetings count toward the position of responsibility requirements?

Yes. If youth are registered and unable to meet the expectations of their positions because of COVID-19 disruptions, then units may need to waive or rethink the expectations. Just as youth must not be held to unestablished expectations, they must not be held to expectations that are impossible to fulfill. See GTA Topic 4.2.3.4, “Positions of Responsibility,” with its six subtopics.

Q: Does the National Council grant extensions of time to complete rank requirements beyond the 18thbirthday for the Eagle or 21st birthday for Summit or Quartermaster?

Yes, but only for the Eagle Scout rank as described in GTA Topic 9.0.4.0 or for Venturing Summit or Sea Scout Quartermaster as described in GTA Topic 4.3.3.0. Unit leadership must become familiar with the five tests under 9.0.4.0. The tests were designed to accommodate such obstacles as those presented by COVID-19 disruptions.

Q: Will youth who are not yet Life Scouts be allowed to apply for an extension to earn the Eagle Scout rank?

Extensions are considered only for Scouts who are Life rank. If, once a Scout achieves Life rank, it turns out that COVID-19 disruptions along the way have left them with insufficient time to complete Eagle requirements, then this may be cited when the time comes to submit an extension request.

Q: May local councils grant extensions?

Normally, that is not allowed. However, due to the current situation—effective immediately and through September 30, 2020, council Scout executives may grant extensions or delegate authority to the Council Advancement Committee to grant extensions under the following limitations:

  1. It can be established that COVID-19 disruptions were the only circumstances that delayed work on Eagle Scout/Summit/Quartermaster advancement requirements, such as the service project or merit badges. If any other causes were involved, the extension request must go to the National Council following the process outlined in the GTA.
  2. Extensions shall only be granted to youth in Scouts BSA who have already achieved Life rank.
  3. When the council receives a COVID-19-related request for a time extension, the council reviews the request and approves it if appropriate. A written response stating the outcome of the extension request must go to the youth. If approved, the notification must be attached to the youth’s Eagle/Summit/Quartermaster rank application. For Eagle, the extension must not exceed 3 months from the youth’s 18th birthday; for Summit/Quartermaster, the extension must not exceed 3 months from the youth’s 21st
  4. Upon turning 18, the Scout must submit a completed adult application and successfully complete YPT; their participant code will now be UP for SBSA or VP for Venturing and Sea Scouting.
  5. Extension requests for more than 3 months beyond the youth’s 18th/21st birthday must be sent to the National Service Center following the process outlined in the GTA.

Note: A “month” in BSA advancement is defined as a day from one month to the next. For example, from March 5 to April 5.

The authority for councils to grant extensions is temporary, lasting only through Sept. 30, 2020.

Q: If youth have already received an extension, can they request additional time due to COVID-19?

Yes. Council Scout executives may grant extensions, or delegate authority to the Council Advancement Committee to grant extensions under the limitations listed above.

Q: What should be done while an extension request is being considered?

Youth should continue to work on advancement in so far as they are able—e.g., independently, or over the phone or videoconference—and at Scouting activities once they resume.

Q: Are extensions required when an Eagle/Summit/Quartermaster board of review must be delayed?

No. Councils may grant Eagle/Summit/Quartermaster boards of review up to six months after the youth’s 18th/21st birthday. See GTA Topic 8.0.3.1, “Eagle Scout Board of Review Beyond the 18th Birthday.”

See also, GTA Topic 8.0.1.6, “Boards of Review Through Videoconferencing.”

Q: Are electronic or digital signatures acceptable for rank advancement or for the Eagle/Summit/Quartermaster packets/applications?
Yes. Electronic or digital signatures will be accepted through September 30, 2020.

Q: How can a youth continue to work on advancement requirements if they don’t have internet or high-speed internet for videoconferencing?
Youth may take a picture of their completed activity/requirement and share the work with unit leaders. In keeping with Youth Protection Training policies, all communications from youth should be sent to at least two adults. Parents or guardians may send advancement work on behalf of their child.