July 3, 2020, by Victor Rivera
How Gov. Abbott’s Proclamation Affects Local Scouting
July 3, 2020
Dear Longhorn Council Scouting Family,
My hope is that all our Scouts and every member of their families continue to stay well during this challenging time.
Yesterday Gov. Greg Abbott issued a proclamation and Executive Order EO-GA-29 amending Executive Order GA-28, effective today, July 3, 2020 at 12:01pm, mandating face coverings for all individuals in public places with some exceptions. We have reviewed the Executive Order and associated amendments, and I wanted to give updated guidance relating to in-person unit meetings and camping.
First, masks are required to be worn in accordance with the procedures outlined in EO-GA-29. If you are meeting face-to-face, a mask must be worn unless one of the exemptions are met. It is essential that we as Scouts set a positive example and follow Gov. Abbott’s mandate for the health and safety of our youth, our volunteers, our Scouting families, and our communities at-large.
Second, the Executive Order reinforces the previous Executive Order with regards to unit meetings. A unit may meet in person, as long as the unit:
- Abides by the published “Protocols for Youth Clubs” and “Protocols for Youth Club Participants” [found here [https://www.dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/docs/opentx/june/YouthClubs.pdf and https://www.dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/docs/opentx/june/YouthClubParticipants.pdf]; and
- Verifies with the unit’s Charter Partner that meetings are allowed under the Charter Organization’s Current Policies and Procedures; and
- Utilizes the Pre-Event Medical Screening Checklist-COVID [LHC Pre-Event COVID Link]; and
- Utilizes the Restart Scouting Checklist [found here: https://filestore.scouting.org/filestore/HealthSafety/pdf/680-693.pdf]
As stated in the documents above, meetings held indoors should not exceed 50% capacity of the venue, AND individuals should avoid being in a group larger than 10 people. By utilizing the Patrol and Den methods, groups can be kept to a safe size and still allow Scouting to continue. If in-person meetings cannot be conducted with the guidelines above, or a decision is made by the unit, in consultation with the unit’s Charter Organization, that it is not in the unit’s best interest to meet in-person, we encourage virtual meetings and activities to keep Scouts engaged and advancing. Special care should be given to provide opportunities for those Scouts who decide they cannot physically participate with the Unit.
Third, our Merit Badge Academy, covered under EO-GA-28, paragraph 1f, was not impacted by the updated Proclamation and Executive Order. Face coverings for participants and staff, appropriate social distancing and enhanced cleaning protocols have been required and implemented from the beginning of that program.
Our professional staff and volunteers are working hard to provide programming opportunities for units later this Summer and Fall. While we do not know at this time what State and local regulations will allow us to do, we are committed to planning engaging programs whether in-person, virtual, or a combination of the two. Stay safe and Scout On!
James Johnson, Deputy Scout Executive
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