Dear New Birth of Freedom Council Scouting Family,
As always, your safety and the safety of all our members, volunteers, and employees are our top priority. We know there are questions and concerns about how COVID-19, commonly known as the coronavirus, that will affect local Scouting programs in the New Birth of Freedom Council. Please know that we are monitoring developments regarding COVID-19 both locally and through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The following information regarding events and prevention measures is based on the latest available guidance. As this is an evolving situation, this information is subject to change. We will continue to update you on relevant developments, and we appreciate your understanding of any necessary adjustments in the interest of health and safety.
Status of Council Events
We have carefully reviewed the current public health guidance, including Governor Tom Wolf’s request that that people refrain from non-essential travel and refrain from going to recreational activities in public places at this critical time. With this in mind, all in-person Council and District events, activities, and meetings between Friday, March 13 through Tuesday, March 31, will be postponed or canceled. This decision reflects an abundance of caution and concern for the health of our Scouts, Scouters, and families and to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
Additionally, the New Birth of Freedom Council strongly suggests that individual Scout units follow this policy. The final decision on continued unit activities is the responsibility of the unit committee in consultation with their chartered organization and, in some cases, their meeting facilities, until the CDC or local authorities provide new guidance.
All district and council committee meetings will continue using conference call or web meeting services to maintain Scouting’s work during this timeframe.
Availability of Council Facilities
Through March 31, all council camps are closed. Currently, all summer camp programs will continue as planned.
At this time, both the Mechanicsburg and York Service Centers are open for business. Council committee meetings will not take place in person. If you wish to visit a member of our staff, please consider calling or emailing instead.
Both the Mechanicsburg and York Scout Shops remain open for business.
Whenever possible, we will work to reschedule events for a later date. If you are registered for an event that is postponed, your registration will automatically be transferred to the new date. If you are unable to attend the rescheduled event, you may request a refund.
For camp reservations (such as cabin rentals) that are canceled, full credit for a future camp reservation or a full refund will be provided upon request.
BSA Policies to Prevent the Spread of Illness
The Boy Scouts of America continue to have policies and procedures in place that help protect participants from contracting an illness at significant Scouting events. These include the Annual Health and Medical Record and the Pre-Event Medical Screening Checklist.
Everyday Preventive Measures
Even with those essential policies in place, we all must take these daily preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases:
- Stay home when you feel sick.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, and wash your hands before and after doing so.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve/elbow, not your hands.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Do not share personal items such as cups, water bottles, eating utensils, etc.
- Avoid shaking hands.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
If you have a fever, cough, or other symptoms associated with COVID-19, or if you believe you may have been exposed to COVID-19, you should isolate and not attend any Scouting events. People who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider immediately.
Should you have any questions or concerns about a specific upcoming event or activity, please reach out to your district executive or the Council’s Camping Department. We will do everything we can to answer your question using the information available to us. This message and future updates will be available at https://newbirthoffreedom.org/covid-19.
Yours in Scouting,
Ronald M. Gardner, Jr.