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Council COVID Update -- Dec 12, 2020

Voyageur Council COVID Update
December 12, 2020
 
One Scouting Stage Change this Week
Western Quebec at Stage 1, Ottawa and Eastern Ontario at Stage 3, and all other Ontario Regions in Voyageur at Stage 4
 
Dear Scouters,
 
The next Scouting year is nearly upon us, and many of our Groups are back to offering incredible outdoor adventures for the youth in their Sections. We've seen many stories of awesome activities, including outdoor fire-lighting, scavenger hunts, cooking challenges, virtual gaming, and so much more. As the CK3, we'd like to once again extend our thanks to all those who have made program possible throughout the difficult months of 2020, and who continue to provide new adventures to our youth.
 
  • Are you looking for some new ideas for your Section's activities? Why not check out the the Scouts Canada Activity Finder, which provides a way to search, categorize, and look-up activity ideas! It contains hundreds of ideas that you can do with your Sections, providing assisted program for you throughout our winter months! There were also a lot of great ideas discussed during Know-vember 2020 at Virtual ScoutCon, and though ScoutCon is over, recordings of all of the sessions presented will be available soon through the David Huestis Learning Centre!
 
  • We're also looking at starting a new virtual Scouting Group! Look below for more information and who to contact to be part of the team.
 
  • Are you ready for 2021? With registration open and many looking forward to 2021, we'd ask that all of our Scouters and Groups to speak to their parents and youth and encourage them to register their youth for 2021, if they haven't already. We will continue to offer adventurous, engaging program in 2021 and we want to make sure that everyone who wants to take part can do so! Ensuring our youth are registered before the start of the Scouting year will help your Section and Group plan your activities and needs in advance, and encouraging registration now can help get kids energized and excited to return to Scouting in 2021.
 
  • We understand that the pandemic has impacted the financial realities of some of our families, and the No One Left Behind (NOLB) fund is there to help make sure they can continue to participate in our program. The application process is straightforward, and it can be found at: https://www.scouts.ca/programs/no-one-left-behind.html
 
  • Be sure to register before January 1, 2021 to secure your spot! Youth need our program today more than ever, and if they wait until the new year to register, there may not be any available spots for them to take part in our activities and adventures! Whether your Section is running in-person or virtual Scouting, it's important to get youth registered now to plan for 2021 and to ensure they remain Active in MyScouts.
 
We will be providing one further weekly update after this one (scheduled for December 18/19, 2020), which will be the last Council COVID update for 2020. We will be back with updates in 2021, but please note that all staff and Council volunteers will be unavailable from December 18 until January 4 for the winter break. We encourage our volunteers and youth to also take this time as an opportunity for a break and to recharge for the 2021 Scouting year.
 
During this period, if you need to determine if your Group's stage has changed, you can visit this website: https://covid-19.ontario.ca/zones-and-restrictions. After inputting the name of your town/city, you will be provided with the Ontario COVID zone colour for your region. These colour zones are tied to specific Scouts Canada stages:
 
  • Grey = Scouts Canada Stage 1
  • Red = Scouts Canada Stage 2
  • Orange = Scouts Canada Stage 3
  • Yellow/Green = Scouts Canada Stage 4
 
As a reminder of which Stage each Public Health Unit is currently aligned with, please see the details provided below. Please note that as of Monday, December 14, the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) will move to Stage 3, in alignment with Ontario's orange zoning. Though the Leeds, Grenville, and Lanark District Health Unit will also be changing zones to yellow at the same time, this change does not impact the region's Scouts Canada staging.
 
Please note that while we are working to bring the staging presented in ScoutsTracker up to date with the current health regulations, this information in ScoutsTracker may not be fully accurate. We would advise all Scouters and Groups to ensure they are aware which Public Health Unit they fall under, and then consult the list below (in this email, on our Council FB page, or on our Council website) to which Scouting stage their Group should operate under.
 
Groups under the following public health units may participate in Stage 3 Scouting:
 
 
Please note that the Province of Ontario now requires Safety Plans to be posted/accessible. For more information, please see the FAQ below.
 
Groups under the following public health units may participate in Stage 4 Scouting:
 
 
Please note that the Province of Ontario now requires Safety Plans to be posted/accessible. For more information, please see the FAQ below.
 
Groups that do not fall under the Health Units listed above remain restricted to Stage 1 Scouting at this time. This includes all Groups under:
 
 
Please note that for all Scouts Canada Groups in Ontario, camping remains prohibited regardless of Stage.
 
 
Additional information about guidelines and standards for Stage 3 and Stage 4 are available below, as well as an FAQ about these stage changes. Please review all standards that apply to your Group and reach out to your Group Commissioner or Relationship Manager with any questions you have.
 
This message, as with our previous emails, will be made available on our Council COVID page and on our Facebook Group.
 
Thank you once again for all that you've done, all that you continue to do, and for all that you contribute to Scouting.
 
Yours in Scouting,
 
Voyageur Council Key 3
Paige Gladwin (Council Youth Commissioner), paige.gladwin@scouts.ca
Nicolas DesRoches (Council Commissioner), nicolas.desroches@scouts.ca
Kira Berger (Council Relationship Manager), kira.berger@scouts.ca
 
Virtual Scouting Group
 
If you love Virtual Scouting, we want to hear from you! We are looking to start Voyageur Council's first ever Virtual (only) Scout Group. The group would be 100% online for the foreseeable future. We are seeking Scouters who would be willing to join Colony and Pack to start, expanding to other sections in the future. If you would like to get more information, or if you'd like express interest in becoming part of the Group, please contact Relationship Manager Cassandra Campbell at cassandra.campbell@scouts.ca
 
Stage 3 Information
 
 
  • Size of gatherings: 50 persons total (Outdoors only)
  • Patrols: 8 youth maximum
  • Sharing of equipment: permitted within Patrols only
  • Camping: Currently prohibited for all Sections.
 
Remember, local public health unit and municipal regulations must be followed at all times.
 
Stage 4 Information
 
 
  • Size of gatherings: 50 persons total (Outdoors & Indoors)
  • Patrols: 8 youth maximum
  • Sharing of equipment: permitted within Patrols only
  • Camping: Currently prohibited for all Sections.
 
Remember, local public health unit and municipal regulations must be followed at all times.
 
Stage Change FAQ
Updated November 20, 2020
 
How do we meet the new Safety Plan requirements?
 
The new requirements implemented by the Government of Ontario mandate that all of our Groups and Sections need to have a digital or printed copy of their Safety Plan available at all times during their activities. This means that All sections/groups and activity leaders must prepare and have accessible a section and activity specific Emergency Response Plan (ERP) including an activity specific Risk Management Plan. In addition, it is mandatory to complete the Modified Adventure Activity Form (“MAAF”), Attendance (Tracing) Sheet and confirm completion of the self-assessments conducted by the youth, parents and all activity participants. To assist with this requirement, a new Operational Plan PDF (which contains all these documents) is available by clicking here. As a reminder, an ERP and MAAF is required per activity location whereas the Tracing sheets and self-assessments are required per activity.
 
 
Why are we changing stages now?
 
We are changing stages in accordance with new legislation in Ontario as well as evolving recommendations from public health units. Multiple recent reports have shown that having access to outdoor and engaging activities is crucial to youth mental health right now, and the modified legislation provides us an opportunity to continue offering our program to youth in a safe manner. A thorough review of our Stage 3 and Stage 4 standards has shown that our policies meet or exceed those implemented by the province, with the addition of accessible Safety Plans (see above). We will continue to monitor local and regional public health authorities, as they may implement additional restrictions, but the current provincial guidelines allow for the stage changes outlined above. However, current public health classifications show that the Ottawa Region is safe for Stage 3 activities, all other Ontario Regions within Voyageur are safe for Stage 4 activities, and Western Quebec Regions remain at Stage 1.
 
For greater clarity around stage progression within Scouting, please check out our Stage Progression chart.

 
Does my Group have to change stages?
 
No, your Group does not have to change stages. The updated guidance as to which Groups can change stages at this time, based on new provincial legislation, is intended to offer Groups the greatest clarity and flexibility while still following our safety principles. For example, if your Group can move to Stage 4 but does not have access to any indoor spaces that can be used at this time (or that can accommodate as many youth as required while maintaining social distancing), you may choose to stay in Stage 3. We encourage you to discuss such choices with your Group's Relationship Manager and all other Scouters in your Group to ensure that everyone is on the same page.
 
 
If we are in Stage 4, are we allowed to have indoor meetings?
 
Yes, your Group is allowed to have indoor meetings under Stage 4 standards. However, safety standards must still be observed in an indoor space and many meeting space providers may not allow indoor activities at this time. For clarity, while you may have up to 50 persons at a Scouting activity in Stage 4, if the indoor space cannot safely handle 50 individuals maintain 2m social distancing, then you may need to change your plans to ensure that social distancing can be maintained within the space's limitations.
 
 
Do we still need to maintain social distancing?
 
Yes, all in-person Scouting activities require social distancing. This requirement may be different than those outlined by your public health unit, but remember that the more restrictive standard always applies. This means that, for Stage 3 and 4, youth within patrols should exercise 1m social distancing and all volunteers should maintain 2m social distancing from all members. For clarity, members of different patrols should maintain 2m social distancing at all times.
 
 
Are any changes needed to our standards to meet the new Ontario legislation?
 
No, our current standards (regarding Stage 3 and 4) meet or exceed all Ontario regulations, though copies of Safety Plans will now need to be accessible at all activities.
 
 
How can we keep track of which stage we should be in?
 
The Governments of Ontario and Quebec have recently released detailed frameworks and web pages which track the specific COVID Stage of each public health unit in the provinces. These frameworks generally map onto our standards in that Ontario Groups under all Green and Yellow public health units can participate in Stage 4 Scouting whereas all Ontario Groups under Orange public health units can participate in Stage 3 Scouting. To access the Ontario framework and map, please visit https://www.ontario.ca/page/covid-19-response-framework-keeping-ontario-safe-and-open. To access the Quebec framework and map, please visit https://www.quebec.ca/en/health/health-issues/a-z/2019-coronavirus/progressive-regional-alert-and-intervention-system/map-of-covid-19-alert-levels-by-region/.
 
 
Aren't we limited in numbers due to the current limits on "social gatherings"?
 
No, Scouts Canada activities are not considered social gatherings under the revised legislation. The new legislation has provided clarity on how our events are classified, and under the new policies, our activities are considered "Organized Public Events or Gatherings". Additionally, some of our activities fall under the "Sports and Recreational Fitness" guidelines, and our recommendation to change stages is based on these policies specifically. For more information about what requirements are in place for "active" activities (such as hiking, scavenger hunts, etc.), please visit https://www.ontario.ca/page/guidance-facilities-sports-and-recreational-fitness-activities-during-covid-19.
 
 
**UPDATED**: Does this mean we can travel between Regions in different Stages?
 
Groups in Stage 1 are limited to virtual activities and cannot travel between regions. Travelling between regions is allowed in limited circumstances for Stage 2 & 3 Groups, to visit facilities in regions that are in a higher stage (such as a Stage 2 Group visiting a Scout Camp in a Stage 3 region). For additional clarity around this point, please see the last question under the Stage Progession section of Scouts Canada's COVID-19 FAQ.
 
 
Does this mean we can go camping?
 
No, camping remains prohibited for all members of Scouts Canada in Ontario at this time. When this policy is changed by the Government of Ontario, we will provide a clear update at that time.
 
 
Where can I access the new/revised legislation?
 
If you would like to review the recent legislative changes, the official order for Stage 3 can be found at https://www.ontario.ca/laws/regulation/200364Additionally, information on gathering sizes can be viewed at https://files.ontario.ca/moh-covid-19-response-framework-keeping-ontario-safe-and-open-en-2020-11-10.pdf.
 
 
I have additional questions or concerns, who can I reach out to?
 
If you are a Section Scouter, please reach out to your Group Commissioner to discuss any questions you may have. For Group Commissioners, please reach out to your Relationship Manager or Group Support Scouter so that they can work with you to find any answers that may be needed. Any Scouter in Voyageur Council is also welcome to reach out to the Council Key 3 at any time.
 
Some Voyageur Council Properties Open for Day Use!
 
Apple Hill Scout Reserve and Otter Lake (ON) Scout Camp are open for day use!
 
For more information about Apple Hill Scout Reserve, please visit https://applehillscoutreserve.ca/. To book AHSR, please check out https://scouts.doubleknot.com/facilitysearch/4416
 
Otter Lake Scout Camp (ON), located in Sydenham, ON, is now open for day use bookings! Find out more about the camp at http://voy.scouts.ca/ca/otter-lake-camp-ontario and please visit https://scouts.doubleknot.com/facilitysearch/4421 to book your visit!
 
Other Helpful Links

  • Registration is now open for 2021 Scouting! To ensure that every youth reserves their spot for the upcoming Scouting year, we encourage them to register early so that they continue to benefit from our incredible program! As we recognize that this year has been unpredictable for many, this year's registration brings a couple of key stability measures: the general registration fee has stayed the same as last year and 2021 registration refunds will be offered up to January 31, 2021 (even if a youth registers right now). Have a potential new youth who is unsure about what we have to offer? They can still take advantage of the free trial period until Dec 31, 2020. For more information, visit https://www.scouts.ca/join/its-time-to-get-back-to-scouts.html.
 
  • Missed out on the Raising Resilient Children webinar with Dr. Hanely-Defoe but still want to see what it was all about? You can watch a recording of the webinar through the David Huestis Learning Centre!
 
 
  • Wondering about Scouts Canada's goals and plans for all the Scouting properties across the country? After listening to and engaging with members throughout the organization, A New Vision for Scout's Canada's Camps has just been released and details all the survey results and feedback received from members across the country (including many from Voyageur).
 
 
  • Check out the training modules available through the David Huestis Learning Centre including Welcome Back to Scouting 2020 for great tips, tricks, and resources for virtual and outdoor Scouting.

 

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