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COVID fears stalling troop - suggestions?

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59 minutes ago, John-in-KC said:

Reduce the size of the pod. Go for patrol activities. Let the adults be within earshot but outside the activity area. 

I don't think it's just pod size, I think it is recognizing this is a highly contagious, airborne virus that is affected by atmospheric conditions. It's better to have 25 kids at an activity wearing masks and standing 12 feet apart in crosswinds and sunlight conditions than it is having 4 kids 6 feet apart without masks downwind of each other. We need to start thinking that way. 

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On 11/27/2020 at 9:35 AM, MattR said:

Do you know if any of the 20 got covid? We're talking about replacing meetings with patrols doing outdoor activities on weekends or after school if we can get the adults. Great excuse to do patrol activities.

I do not believe any got Covid from this event.  I was getting pressure from some adult leaders to move all online, but left it up to the PLC.  In a split vote, we have decided to proceed with an in person Troop meetings for December.  Outdoors with masks.  Patrols separate & everyone socially distant.  

If you could do it, outdoor patrol activities sounds like a great idea.

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Honestly right now, being a little overly-cautious is not a bad thing. Too many people are getting sick. We've got cases in my kids' school, other schools around town, a coworker has it, it's scary times.

And believe me, I get the frustration. I want nothing more than to be doing in-person meetings with my Webelos but it's just not a good time for that. Have to make due the best we can. And that's what I'd tell scouts if I were in a troop. Virtual meetings aren't great, but make due. Get some meetings on the calendar, do something. Take the camera outside and do some outdoor virtual patrol activities. Knock out some of the non-outdoors stuff, work on a citizenship badge together, etc.

And tell them to just remember that this is temporary, we will get through it. But we can't sit still just because virtual meetings are less than ideal. Challenge them to get creative. I understand the reluctance to do more of what some of them already do all day if their school is remote, but challenge them to harness all of this tech that they know better than us old guys/gals and find creative ways to work as a patrol.

Or challenge them to go old-school. Work on Signs, Signals and Codes, and they have to text each other using only morse. 😄

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  • 3 weeks later...

My sons' troop has gone through several phases over the course of the pandemic:

  • Before March, it was on the news but we weren't thinking about it, not too worried about the bankruptcy either.  We were preparing to merge in a troop chartered by a church that was closing, planning to spend a week at council Summer Camp during the summer, planning to work on the Cycling merit badge as soon as the weather got warm and finish it by the end of summer.
  • In the week when our state went into lockdown, things got crazy.  The COR posted to Facebook a terse statement that activities would be suspended indefinitely. Meanwhile the SM texted the adult-leader group-chat that in-person meetings would be suspended, but it wasn't clear that they had coordinated with each other or were in agreement.
  • After about 3 weeks of lockdown, the Council organized a couple of virtual meetings; a week later, the troop started virtual meetings again.  We switched back and forth between Zoom and WebEx.
  • In September, we started in-person meetings (mostly outside) and in-person day activities again, no camping. We did a 5-mile hike at a nearby walking-trail, a tour of a decommissioned U.S. Navy ship in another county, and a geocaching hunt at a nearby nature center.
  • Then in mid-November, in the midst of a second surge in COVID-19 statistics (even worse than spring for new cases per day, but thankfully a little better for deaths and hospitalizations), we halted in-person meetings again.

I think the key is to change the argument from "we can't meet, and here are all the reasons why we can't" to "we have a goal of meeting, and so we'll address each obstacle appropriately; and even if a meeting falls through, we maintain communication somehow".

Sure, some Zoom meetings can be lame or disorganized.  Try a different meeting technology. Prepare for the meetings better beforehand: have a clear agenda, have slides ready, distribute hands-on materials beforehand by mail or socially distanced dropoff, use interactive tools like Kahoot! 

For opening exercises, I put together a slide deck with a flag, the Scout Oath and Law, and the Outdoor Code.  

For a hike, distribute maps and an exact itinerary electronically beforehand. Use FRS radios to stay in touch (cell phones as backup), and spread out instead of walking in a tight group.

But if a large contingent of boys wants to be more active and only the SPL and ASPL are just full of excuses, perhaps it's time to encourage the boys to call for an SPL election. (If your troop has a tradition of fixed terms for SPL, maybe look into electing an "active SPL" while the SPL is AWOL.)

A scout should be Courteous by respecting the reasonable desires of others in his community that he wear a mask and generally practice social distancing. He should be Obedient by strictly following all applicable laws, regulations, and BSA, Council and CO policies. But he should be Thrifty by actually using the program resources that are available to him, and Brave by being willing to try new ways of meeting, even if that's inconvenient or uncomfortable.

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