COVID-19 UPDATES

Letter Sent to Parents and Leaders on March 20, 2020:

 

Dear Parents and Leaders, 

First off, thank you once again for your patience and grace as we sort through this very fluid situation. As always, the health and safety of our Girl Scouts remains our top priority. As such, we have been closely monitoring the recommendations of Singapore's Ministry of Education (MOE) and the guidance from USAGSO and are regret to inform you that we need to suspend in-person troop meetings and field trips with immediate effect until further notice. 

REGULAR TROOP MEETINGS
After reviewing the government guidelines and conferring with other scouting organization in Singapore, we have decided to move all troop meetings to the online platform, Zoom. This includes one-school and multiple-school troops, as well. We have carefully reviewed the guidelines of the Ministry of Education and we feel that we need to encourage physical distancing by cancelling all in person troop meetings for the time being.

 

We believe it is important in a time of crisis that our first responsibility is to the welfare and health of our Girl Scouts and their families. We will monitor the situation closely and will let you know when we are able to resume regular troop meetings. 

 

ZOOM AND VIRTUAL MEETINGS!
While we aren't able to have meetings in person, we are able to offer Zoom software to our troop leaders to conduct virtual meetings, allowing troops to continue meeting and working on badges. Note that Zoom is good for meetings but it's also a great way for girls and leaders to meet outside the regularly scheduled time. 

HOMEWORK
Your troop leaders might provide homework so girls can continue to earn their badges and keep active in the troop if at all possible. Please work with your child and encourage them to participate in the homework assignments. Earning badges can be a lot of fun.

 

LARGE EVENTS
Unfortunately, we are still unable to hold our large community events for the remainder of the program year. We are heartbroken to have to cancel these events. We are exploring virtual options where feasible, and will keep you posted if these become a possibility. 

 

Thank you for your understanding as we take these steps to protect the health and safety of our girls, adult volunteers, and families in Singapore.  We would especially like to thank our troop leaders for their continued dedication and support. We couldn't do this without them.

Warm Regards,
Jennifer Yarbrough
Overseas Committee Chair - USA Girl Scouts Overseas - Singapore
Building girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a
better place.
m. +65 8186 0562

e. chair@singaporeusagirlscouts.org
w. singaporeusagirlscouts.org
https://www.facebook.com/singaporeusagirlscouts/

 

Previous Newsletters/Announcements:

The FAQs below will be updated as the situation evolves.
 

FAQs on USAGSO Singapore's Response to COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019)

Monitoring COVID-19

Why is USAGSO Singapore Girl Scouts taking measures to suspend large group activities now?


February 6, 2020: According to the Ministry of Health, before February 4, 2020, all of the confirmed cases in Singapore were imported ones. On Tuesday, Feb 4th, Singapore confirmed its first locally transmitted cases of the novel coronavirus, with local residents with no travel history to China testing positive for the virus.




What are the guidelines as stated by the Ministry of Health (MOH) and Ministry of Education (MOE)?


February 6, 2020: Click here to check out the FAQS for COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) in Singapore as stated by the Ministry of Health. Click here to check out the FAQS for COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) in Singapore as stated by the Ministry of Education.




What guidance does USAGSO offer regarding areas affected by COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019)?


February 6, 2020: Click here to read USA Girl Scouts Overseas guidance for areas affected by COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019).




What can you do to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019)?


April 20, 2020: Watch this video created by Troop 55 on How to Stay Safe When Outside During the COVID-19 Circuit Breaker. February 8, 2020: Read this interesting NY Times article: How to avoid the Coronavirus? Wash Your Hands. February 6, 2020:

  • Practice good hygiene. Wash your hands frequently with soap and cover your mouth if you need to sneeze or cough.
  • Please have your child stay at home if they are feeling unwell.
  • Please check your child’s temperature before sending them to a GS event and see a doctor if your child has a fever > 37.5C.
  • Self-impose a 14 day quarantine if you have had a recent trip to mainland China, or interacted with friends/relatives who have recently visited mainland China.





Troop Meetings

Will troop meetings still be held?


April 9, 2020: Singapore has enacted COVID-19 (Temporary Measures Act 2020) which prohibits social interactions with those other than your family members living in the same residence, for any social purpose. As a result, all Girl Scout meetings must take place virtually. For more information on the Act, click here. March 20, 2020: After reviewing the government guidelines and conferring with other scouting organization in Singapore, we have decided to move all troop meetings to the online platform, Zoom. This includes one-school and multiple-school troops, as well. We have carefully reviewed the guidelines of the Ministry of Education and we feel that we need to encourage physical distancing by cancelling all in person troop meetings for the time being. We believe it is important in a time of crisis that our first responsibility is to the welfare and health of our Girl Scouts and their families. We will monitor the situation closely and will let you know when we are able to resume regular troop meetings. February 13, 2020: After reviewing the government guidelines and conferring with other scouting organizations in Singapore, we have decided to continue to hold troop meetings. This includes not only one-school troops, but multiple school troops, as well. We have carefully reviewed the guidelines of the Singapore Scouting Association, and in accordance with their guidelines, we feel we are able to resume troop meetings. February 8, 2020: Per MOE guidelines dated Feb 7, 2020, all girl scout activities will be suspended for one week. Girl Scouts will monitor the MOE guidelines and reassess the situation next week. If you already have a meeting or field trip planned, please reschedule it for March or a later date. "In view of MOH's announcement that they have stepped up their risk assessment from DORSCON Yellow to Orange, MOE will further enhance current provisions to protect our students and staff. We will suspend all external school activities and inter-school activities until the end of the March school holidays. These will include the National School Games as well as other activities such as Learning Journeys. These additional measures are intended to help schools minimise exposure of students to the public and avoid mixing of students across schools." February 6, 2020: Per MOE guidelines dated Feb 4, 2020, troop meetings that are smaller groups may still be held, but all field trips must receive chair approval. “MOE will be implementing the following measures in primary and secondary schools, Special Education (SPED) schools, Junior Colleges and Millennia Institute:

  • Large group and communal activities such as assemblies, camps and mass celebrations will be suspended
  • Recess times in schools will be staggered
  • CCAs and after-school programmes may continue, in smaller groups.”




Do we need to submit travel declarations to our troop leaders?


February 6, 2020: Yes, travel declarations must be submitted, which will be sent via CareMonkey.




What types of troop activities will be allowed?


February 13, 2020: Guidelines for troop meetings:

  1. All girls will need to have their travel declarations form completed in CareMonkey before attending troop meetings.
  2. If your child is unwell, please do not send her to a troop meeting.
  3. Please take your daughter’s temperature before sending her to a meeting. If she is coming directly from school, we assume the school has taken her temperature during the day.
  4. Troop leaders will also be conducting temperature checks prior to starting the meetings, and unfortunately, if your child has a fever of 37.5 or higher, she will not be allowed to attend. We appreciate your understanding. This is in accordance with school guidelines.
  5. Hands will need to be washed prior to the meeting and, if possible, during meetings.
  6. We ask that snacks are not shared during the meeting. If girls are bringing their own snacks, continue to ensure they are nut free.
  7. We are strongly recommending outdoor activities or the use of well-ventilated rooms.
February 8, 2020: Per MOE guidelines dated Feb 7, 2020, all girl scout activities will be suspended for one week. Girl Scouts will monitor the MOE guidelines and reassess the situation next week. If you already have a meeting or field trip planned, please reschedule it for March or a later date. February 6, 2020: Please avoid planning field trips to crowded, indoor areas that may have more than 40 people. While the coronavirus is a concern, all field trips and outings need approval from the chair. Please contact chair@singaporeusagirlscouts.org if you are planning any meetings, outings or activities outside your normal meeting place.




What about troop meetings at schools that have canceled after school activities?


February 8, 2020: Per MOE guidelines dated Feb 7, 2020, all girl scout activities will be suspended for one week. Girl Scouts will monitor the MOE guidelines and reassess the situation next week. If you already have a meeting or field trip planned, please reschedule it for March or a later date. February 6, 2020: If your troop meets at a school that has canceled all after-school activities, you should follow the school guidance and stop holding troop meetings until the school has resumed activities. If your troop parents wish to hold meetings at a private residence, you may do so.




Our troop is almost done with our journey, is there any way that the girls could still meet?


February 10, 2020: Definitely, troops and troop leaders can do a couple of things to help the girls finish their journeys or meet together in a virtual space. For younger troops, the leaders could send guides to the parents to do with the girls, e.g. little activities or exercises for the girls to discuss, write, play a game, etc. For the older girls, the troop could do a virtual meeting via Zoom, where the girls can share ideas and communicate in a virtual space, at a time that is convenient for the troop.




What is Zoom and how can we use the technology to meet as a troop?


February 10, 2020: Zoom is a type of video communications that allows audio and video conferencing across mobile devices and computers. For a quick tutorial on how to use Zoom, please click here. For troop leaders, they need to first create a free account. Then, the leaders can host a meeting and then share a link or meeting id with the group, that will allow the girls to join. For the girls, they will need to go to Zoom and click on Join a Meeting, where they can enter the Meeting ID or Personal Link Name, shared by their troop leaders. All meetings are recorded, and for girls that missed the meeting, a link or password can be shared for access.




I am interested in using Zoom to communicate with my troop. Will Girl Scouts be able to provide training on how to use Zoom?


February 13, 2020: Yes! Our trainer is available for Zoom training sessions. Please sign up here for Zoom trainings taking place on 13 and 14 February. Please contact our trainer at training@singaporeusagirlscouts.org if you have any questions.




What are some things we can do with our Girl Scout at home?


May 18, 2020 Looking for ideas that are offline for your Girl Scout while at home? To check out what Troop 40 is doing to keep busy at home, click here. March 28, 2020 Looking for ideas for your Girl Scout to stay connected with others? Click here to explore ideas from Girl Scouts at Home. March 20, 2020 First off, any badge can be earned on at home. So open up your big book and get creative! There are lots of cute and fun badges that are pretty easy to earn that will help keep your girls busy - and keep you from going batty at home. Pinterest has great ideas about how to earn these badges.

Our sisters in Kentucky have developed some good guidelines for earning badges on your own. Check them out here.

Besides the regular badges, you can also work on some virtual badges. Here's a good website for you to check out, Virtually Badges.

Girls are also able to take a coding class offered by Girl Scouts.


If you have questions, reach out to your troop leader.





Council-Wide Activities

Does my child have to attend girl scouts meetings or council wide events?


February 13, 2020: After reviewing the government guidelines and conferring with other scouting organizations in Singapore, we have decided to continue to hold troop meetings. This includes not only one-school troops, but multiple school troops, as well. We have carefully reviewed the guidelines of the Singapore Scouting Association, and in accordance with their guidelines, we feel we are able to resume troop meetings. We believe it is important in a time of crisis for things to be as normal as possible for children and Girl Scouts is a stable haven for our many girls. However, we acknowledge that some troop leaders and parents may not feel comfortable with meetings in person. For this reason, we are offering our troop leaders the ability to utilize Zoom software to conduct virtual meetings, either for their whole troop, or to include those girls whose parents are not comfortable sending them to troop meetings. Training on Zoom is available to leaders and some have already completed it. February 8, 2020: Per MOE guidelines dated Feb 7, 2020, all girl scout activities will be suspended for one week. Girl Scouts will monitor the MOE guidelines and reassess the situation next week. If you already have a meeting or field trip planned, please reschedule it for March or a later date. February 6, 2020: As much as we want all girls to participate, we understand that some families will not feel comfortable having their child participate in meetings or events.




Will we still hold Mini Jamboree 2020, Day Camp, and Overnight Camp?


February 6, 2020: In accordance with MOE guidelines, we will be canceling / postponing all large events until further notice, including the Mini Jamboree, Day Camp and Overnight Camp. Other scheduled, large, community events will be reviewed in the coming weeks as more information about the virus is available.




Will Mini-Jamboree be rescheduled? If we cannot attend the rescheduled dates, will we receive a refund?


February 6, 2020: Mini-Jamboree has been rescheduled for 3-4 October 2020. Partial refunds will be given for the amount of the registration less expenses that could not be recouped. Refunds will be made the second week of March.




Since Day Camp has been canceled, will girls who have registered and paid receive a refund?


February 6, 2020: As we have already purchased t-shirts and patches, a refund of $60 ($10 less than the $70 registration fee) will be given to each camper who registered for Day Camp 2020. A simple activity will be distributed through Troop Leaders so that Girl Scouts who had registered for Day Camp have an opportunity to earn the Day Camp patch and t-shirt. Please contact your troop leader for more details. If you paid via PayPal, you will receive your refund via PayPal. PayPal refunds will be processed by Tuesday 11 February. If you paid via bank transfer, check or cash, the treasurer will be in touch with you to arrange payment. If you have not received a refund or been contacted by the treasurer by 14 February, please contact the treasurer at treasurer@singaporeusagirlscouts.org




Will troops have to conduct their own activities to earn the World Thinking Day badge if camps do not proceed at a later date?


February 6, 2020: World Thinking Day activities were planned to happen at both day camp and overnight camp. Since Day Camp has been canceled, troops may conduct their own activities to earn the World Thinking Day badge. Troops can also choose to wait until Fall 2020 when Singapore Girl Scouts is planning to have the World Thinking Day activities available at another event. Requirements and activity ideas for World Thinking Day can be found here: World Thinking Day 2020 - Activity Pack If your troop completes the World Thinking Day activities, please contact Sabrina orders@singaporeusagirlscouts.org to request the World Thinking Day Patches.




My daughter signed up for Overnight Camp, but cannot make the rescheduled date in April 2020. Will she receive a refund?


February 6, 2020: Camp has been rescheduled for April 17-19. If your daughter(s) cannot attend camp in April, a full refund will be given. Please fill out this form to request this refund. Registration is tentatively planned to open again from March 16 to March 27 for new registrations. If we are unable to hold the camp in April, full refunds will be given to everyone that did not get a refund in February.




Will we still hold Daisy Journey-in-a-Day?


February 11, 2020: A note from the Daisy Journey-in-a-Day organiser: Due to the recent Ministry of Education restrictions on group gatherings and intramurals, Troop 81 will unfortunately need to reschedule the Daisy Journey in a Day. Our top priority is the safety and health of our community. It is important that we do everything possible to help stop the spread of the novel coronavirus. The event will be rescheduled at a later date and the Troop is currently searching for new venues and dates. We will be looking at creative solutions to put on an event for the Daisy Girl Scouts to earn their 3 Cheers for Animals journey. This may require a change in venue or reducing the number of attendees and running multiple sessions. Because of the uncertainty around the replacement event, refunds will be given to the families who registered for the original session. When a replacement event is announced, Daisy families will be invited to register. Thank you in advance for your patience and support. February 10, 2020: Unfortunately, Daisy Journey-in-a-Day has been canceled until further notice. Please contact your troop leader for more information. February 6, 2020: Yes, the Daisy Journey-in-a Day will be held, the girls will be separated into smaller groups. Please contact your troop leader for more information.




Will the Cadette, Senior and Ambassador Trip go on as planned?


February 6, 2020: If circumstances change, registration will open for the Cadette, Senior and Ambassador trip.




If council wide events are canceled, will participants who have already paid receive a refund?


February 6, 2020: This is an evolving situation and it will depend on each event.




Will Closing Ceremony still be held in May?


May 14, 2020 USAGSO Singapore hosted a Virtual Closing to celebrate a wonderful year together. Look for the video coming soon in the Parent Folder. March 20, 2020 Unfortunately, we are still unable to hold our large community events for the remainder of the program year. We are heartbroken to have to cancel these events. We are exploring virtual options where feasible, and will keep you posted if these become a possibility. Thank you for your understanding as we take these steps to protect the health and safety of our girls, adult volunteers, and families in Singapore. We would especially like to thank our troop leaders for their continued dedication and support. We couldn't do this without them.





Sharing News Responsibly

How will USAGSO update the community?


February 6, 2020: USAGSO Girl Scouts will continue to share updates through its Newsletters, WhatsApp chat groups, and the website. We encourage you to use these resources for accurate and updated information.




How can we share information responsibly on our Girl Scout chat groups?


February 8, 2020: Thank you to all our troop leaders for sharing information regarding updates on the novel coronavirus, we appreciate your help. But, as there is a lot of false news in the digital world, we would request that instead of posting new information about the novel coronavirus onto the chat sites, please send verified information to the chair at chair@singaporeusagirlscouts.org. In this way, the chair and the executive committee can do its best to confirm the new information before it makes decisions affecting the Girl Scout community. Also, please note that we are ALL volunteers and we have jobs and other activities that we are involved in. Please give us time to read the official updates from the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education so we can make informed decisions.




What is POFMA?


February 8, 2020: POFMA is an acronym for Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act of 2019. POFMA seeks to prevent the electronic communication of falsehoods (i.e. false statements of fact or misleading information), as well as to safeguard against the use of online platforms for the communication of such falsehoods. This includes information that would be: “prejudicial to public health, public safety, public tranquility or public finances.”




My friend/colleague has sent me a screenshot with breaking news on the novel coronavirus. Should I forward the message to all my chat groups?


February 8, 2020: To avoid misinformation spreading in our community, please avoid speculating, spreading ‘unfounded rumour’ on the coronavirus. Click here to read the article from Channel News Asia about spreading false news. Please only forward or share information that has been released by a government agency, e.g. the Ministry of Health or Ministry of Education.
For more information, read the article What happens if I post or share ‘fake’ news?





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