WMass Scouting Updates on COVID-19 and Events

The Western Massachusetts Council Service Centers, Trading Posts, and Camp facilities are closed to customers and the public until at least May 4, 2020 per an emergency order of the Governor.

Professional Staff are working from home and may be contacted through email or phone contacts found on our Contact Us Webpage.


 

Council & District Event Status

   Date  Event  Status

 Virtual Meetings: Contact chairperson for login information.

Contact information is available on each meeting's calendar event.

 04/08  GK Commissioners Meeting  Cancelled
 04/08  GK District Committee Meeting  TBD
 04/08  Maintanance Meeting  Cancelled
 04/17  Leave No Trace Trainers Course  Postponed
 04/25  WHOA  Cancelled
 04/25  IOLS Training  Cancelled
 04/26  OA Lodge Banquet  Postponed
 05/01  NE Area 2 APEX  Cancelled
 05/02  GK & MT Pinewood Derbies  Postponed
 05/02  AT Belt-A-Palooza  Postponed
 05/09  Council Pinewood Derby  Postponed
 05/15  OA Spring Ordeal  Postponed
 05/28   Eagle Scout Recognition Dinner  Postponed
 05/29  Webelos Woods  Cancelled
 Distinguished Citizen Award Dinner (DCAD)  Postponed
 Distinguished Citizen Award Reception (DCAR)   Postponed 


Meetings and Travel Decision Guidance

BSA Guidance Document

BSA Safety Moments: Communicable Desease Prevention


Friday, April 3, 2020

Dear Scouting Family,

We hope that you are staying safe and well. We continue to monitor developments regarding COVID-19, both locally and nationally within our organization, as well as through state and federal agencies.

The ban on all council, district, and unit in-person gatherings, as well as the closure of the Council Service Centers, Trading Posts, and Camp, has been extended through at least May 4 to protect our youth and adults and help stop the spread of the virus. Given the fluid nature of the situation, this will be extended, reduced, or lifted to be consistent with the current guidance from our local, state, and federal officials.

This means every in-person face-to-face Scouting interaction is prohibited, such as: program activities, unit meetings, roundtables, committee meetings, boards of review, Courts of Honor (including for Eagle Scouts), patrol and den meetings, service projects, and fundraisers. As a reminder, our guidance supersedes all other Scouting guidance, including the Boy Scouts of America National Office. Should any guidance from your chartered organization or your local community or health department be more restrictive, follow that guidance.

We understand that this is not the news any of us want to hear, but it is necessary and in the best interest of our families and communities. We all want to resume our planned Scouting activities, but only when is appropriate to do so. If we all do our part to stop the spread, we will all be better off.

The status of in-person Scouting events past May 4th is being evaluated on a rolling 30-days minimum basis by the professional staff and the chairperson of each event. The safety of all our members, volunteers, and employees is our top priority. Additional considerations include, but are not limited to local, state and federal agency guidance; BSA guidance; facility availability; purchasing and contractual timelines; pre-registration information; training, licensing, and permit requirements; and input from planning committees and other stakeholders.

Event postponement and cancellation decisions are being updated, as they are decided, on our website in two locations, listed below, and then later communicated via e-newsletter and social media.

  1. WMC Scouting Updates on COVID-19 and Events
  2. WMC Online Calendar

All prepaid fees for council events cancelled as a result of COVID-19 will be fully refunded within 30 calendar days of the cancellation. Refunds of fees collected by the council for cancelled district, national, and any other organization’s events will occur, according to their refund policies, within 30 calendar days of the council receiving notice of the cancellation and the event’s refund policies.

For impacted camp reservations, the contact person listed on the reservation will be contacted by council staff to either reschedule the reservation or arrange for a fee credit or refund.

NYLT and Summer Camp continue to be optimistically planned, though regularly evaluated, with the encouragement and support of BSA National Leadership. Our planning and evaluation rely greatly on pre-registration numbers, which we acknowledge has been difficult with recent logistical and financial challenges. Therefore,

  • Early Bird rate camp registrations and deposits will continue to be honored through May 31.
  • Full payment deadlines are extended to 14 calendar days prior to the start of your camp week.
  • Campership Financial Assistance applications will continue to be accepted and considered through May 1 while funds remain available (Note: in lieu of the required unit leader’s signature, unit leaders will be contacted directly for a phone or email approval by council staff).

We are excited and encouraged by how many of you are finding creative ways to continue Scouting remotely. We hope that you have seen both the WMC and BSA Scouting at Home webpages and are finding them helpful. If you have ideas or resources for us to consider, send them to wmascouting@scouting.org or share them on our Facebook page. If you have questions on our COVID-19 efforts, please email wmascouting@scouting.org.

Yours in Scouting,
 

Jeffrey W. Glaze | Council President
Sam Everett | Council Commissioner
Gary Savignano | Scout Executive

 

Sunday, March 14, 2020

We are reaching out to our Scouting units, leaders and committees. We find ourselves in unprecedented times as a society today dealing with COVID-19. This situation has towns, communities, states and our nation facing tough questions of what to do and how to handle this situation. Locally, many schools and businesses have already closed with more closing daily. What does that mean for our Scouting units in small towns and in our urban settings? What does that mean for Pack Pinewood Derbies and Pack or Troop meetings? All good questions!
 
As a council, we have decided to postpone all council related business by closing our Westfield and Pittsfield offices and both Trading Posts until April 1. Based on local school closings and the state of emergency imposed by our Governor, we feel that this is the most prudent and safest thing to do at this time. We will reassess at the end of the month and decide at that point as to when we will go back to normal operating hours.
 
We strongly recommend that all units postpone any Den, Troop, Pack, Crew and Ship meetings, committee meetings or any large unit outings, and follow the decision that the Western Massachusetts Council has made and reassess the situation at the end of the month.
 
The safety of our Scouting family is first and foremost in our minds with this decision and, given what we know, this is the safest path forward for all involved.
 
Does this mean Scouting has to stop during this time? NO! Scouts can continue to work through their Cub/Scout handbooks. Families can spend positive time together, and even take hikes as a family, play board games and do other Scouting activities. We will be posting on our Facebook different ideas of things families can do. We also want to hear what your families are doing during this time so please communicate your great ideas on our Facebook page. Our Executive Board will continue to meet virtually and we recommend that you utilize technology to continue Scouting locally.
 
Again, the safety of our Scouting family is our first priority, and we look forward to coming through this stronger than before.
 
Yours in Scouting,
 
Jeffrey W. Glaze | Council President
Sam Everett | Council Commissioner
Gary Savignano | Scout Executive

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Dear Scouting Family,

As always, your safety and the safety of all our members, volunteers, and employees is our top priority. We know there are questions and concerns about how COVID-19, commonly known as the coronavirus, could affect local Scouting programs in the Western Massachusetts 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, the information provided below 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

Currently, some council and district events and activities have been cancelled due to COVID-19.

Changes to this status will be communicated through our website and Constant Contact email newsletter, as well as through our social media channels. We encourage committee and roundtable meetings to be run electronically as webinars, and the chairs of these meetings should contact Greg Williams if they need help setting up conference calls and/or online meetings.

You may monitor our event updates here: https://www.wmascouting.org/COVID-19.

Decisions about Troop, Pack, Crew and Post unit meetings and activities will be made by the leadership of those units with input from the chartering organizations based on the unit’s individual circumstances and current CDC and local health department guidelines. Decisions about upcoming District and Council events will be made by the professional staff in consultation with the Council Key 3, Executive Committee, and chair-persons of the specific events.

BSA Polices to Prevent the Spread of Illness

The Boy Scouts of America continues to have policies and procedures in place that help protect participants from contracting an illness at large Scouting events. These include the Annual Health and Medical Record and the Pre-Event Medical Screening Checklist.

Everyday Preventive Measures

Even with those important policies in place, it is critical that we all take these everyday 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 yourself 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, concerns, or updates about a specific upcoming event or activity, please reach out to our local council program director:

Greg A. Williams: 413-594-9196 ext. 7004, greg.williams@scouting.org

We will do everything we can to answer your question using the information available to us.

Yours in Scouting,

Jeffrey W. Glaze | Council President

Sam Everett | Council Commissioner

Gary Savignano | Scout Executive

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Q&A Regarding COVID-19 Related Advancement Difficulties.pdf Download