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COVID Compliance Frequently Asked Questions

In preparing the below Frequently Asked Questions, we have reviewed Victorian State Government guidelines and consulted with experts both internally and externally. The safety of our Youth and Adult Members and the wider community is at the forefront of all decisions.

We encourage all Girl Guide members to conduct their Girl Guide activities in the spirit of the Guide Promise and Law to serve our community and be respectful and considerate, while also being optimistic and courageous.

If your question isn’t answered here please email it to the Joyce Price Centre (JPC) team via covidsafe@guidesvic.org.au. If your question is urgent, please call the 24/7 COVID Hotline on 1800 675 398.

Helpful resources:

The below FAQs were published on 19 January 2022 and are subject to change at any time.

Looking for the COVID-19 Safety Plan? Check out the COVID-Safe Resources

 

Questions about Current Restrictions for Girl Guiding across Victoria

 

Questions about Unit Meetings for Unit Leaders

Can my Unit hold regular indoor Unit Meetings?

Yes, indoor in-person Girl Guide activities may take place in a Girl Guide Hall or community venue. No COVID-specific capacity or density limits apply. A COVID Check-In Marshal must ensure that everyone checks in using a QR code (or provides written contact details). All participants aged 8-years-old and up must wear a mask.

The COVID-19 Safety Plan must be implemented for all activities.

Can my Unit participate in outdoor activities, like hiking?

Yes, outdoor in-person Girl Guide activities may take place. No COVID-specific capacity or density limits apply. A COVID Check-In Marshal must ensure that everyone checks in using a QR code (or provides written contact details). All participants aged 8-years-old and up are recommended to wear a mask when unable to physically distance.

The COVID-19 Safety Plan must be implemented for all activities.

What's a COVID Check-In Marshal, and does my Unit need one?

From the Victorian Government website: “A COVID Check-in Marshal is an employee who is responsible for ensuring that each person who enters a venue uses the Service Victoria QR code to check in on arrival (or an alternative record keeping method, where relevant). A COVID Check-in Marshal can only request that people entering show them confirmation of a successful check-in and cannot compel anyone to do so.”

For Girl Guides, this means a designated Volunteer who checks that every attendee checks in using the QR code, or provides written contact details (name and phone number).

COVID Check-In Marshals are required for all Girl Guide activities.

Do we have to wear masks at Girl Guides?

Masks are required for all individuals aged 8-years-old and up in all indoor settings, including Girl Guide activities. They are recommended for outdoor activities when physical distancing is not possible.

 

Do we have to use electronic record keeping? How do we set it up?

Yes. Electronic record keeping using the Victorian Government QR Code Service is required for all Girl Guide activities.

To do this, go online here. Register as your Unit Name. You do not need to enter the Girl Guides Victoria ABN – just skip this step.

My Unit isn't comfortable with, or isn't able to, hold in-person Girl Guide meetings right now. What should we do?

There is no one-rule-fits-all in returning to in-person Girl Guiding. Some members or Units may choose not to hold in-person Girl Guiding for now. Consider continuing to run Virtual Unit Meetings.

Remember to communicate with your Girl Guide Unit – including girls, parents, and all Volunteers – to discuss your plan for Girl Guide activities.

A Girl Guide in my Unit need to isolate. How can I support her?

If a Girl Guide is unable to attend your regular in-person Unit Meeting, you may also wish to email through activities for her to complete at home.

A handy resource for empowering families to decide when to attend Girl Guides is: Can I go to Girl Guides if…?

Can parents and other special guests come to an award ceremony?

Yes. All attendees over the age of 18 must be fully vaccinated UNLESS the ceremony takes places in an outdoor community space with a playground (e.g. a local park).

Can parents/guardians enter the Hall to drop-off and pick-up their Girl Guide?

The recommendation is for drop-off and pick-up to occur outside of the Girl Guide Hall or indoor meeting venue – that is, that parents/guardians do not enter the Hall.

If a parent/guardian does need to enter the Hall for pick-up and drop-off (for example, due to poor weather or other safety concerns):

  • Only one parent/guardian enters the Hall.
  • Only fully vaccinated parents/guardians enter the Hall.
  • They must sign in using electronic record keeping.
  • Sharing pens and devices for ‘signing’ girls in and out of each Girl Guide meeting is not recommended.

One of my Girl Guides requires an adult carer. How does this work?

If an adult carer is required to assist an individual Girl Guide in your Unit (e.g. due to disability), the carer needs to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

My Girl Guide meeting was attended by someone who has now tested positive for coronavirus. What should I do?

If an attendee at your Girl Guide meeting (including parents completing drop-off or pick-up) has recently tested positive for coronavirus, or is classified as a household/primary close contact, follow the advice here.

Remember that the coronavirus hotline is available for advice 24/7: 1800 675 398

One of my Girl Guides tested positive for coronavirus but has now recovered. What does she/her family need to do before returning to in-person Girl Guides?

Individuals who test positive to coronavirus are able to leave isolate after seven days AND they are no longer experiencing symptoms.

A handy resource for empowering families to decide when to attend Girl Guides is: Can I go to Girl Guides if…?

Can we have food at a Girl Guide activity, such as a cooking night?

Individuals can bring their own food for their own consumption.

Food can also be provided, including food prepared by Girl Guides, with the following recommendations:

  • One person (or a small team) serves the food.
  • Cooks and serves wear masks and wash hands regularly.
  • Hands are washed before and after eating/serving.
  • Utensils and crockery are thoroughly cleaned.
  • Girl Guides must be provided with their own serving and not share food.

Can my Unit sing together?

Yes, you can. Singing indoors and outdoors is permitted with the following recommendations:

  • maintaining a 2m distance between people, and
  • everyone wears a mask.
  • If singing indoors, doors and windows are open to allow for suitable ventilation.

What will change for Girl Guides when restrictions ease?

Each time there is a confirmed change in restrictions from the Victorian State Government, the JPC team will communicate directly with Leaders and Managers how these changes affect Girl Guide activities.

 

Questions about Camps & other activities for Unit Leaders

Can my Unit go on an excursion?

Yes, providing the Girl Guides Victoria COVID Safe Principles are followed and the rules of the venue you are attending are also followed.

Remember that adventurous activities, including swimming, need the appropriate approval.

Can my Unit hold overnight events like sleepovers and camps?

Yes, activities at a Girl Guide overnight event can take place with the below recommendations. Further advice on how to camp in a COVID-Safe manner will be published shortly.

  • The preference is still for food service to be conducted by a designated catering team wearing masks. If using a self-service buffet, use tongs for each food and wash hands before and after serving.
  • Dish washing should be supervised to ensure correct washing procedure (e.g. using hot soapy water). Leaving dishes to dry is more sanitary than using a tea towel.
  • Windows and doors in indoor areas should remain open where possible.
  • Outdoor activities should be encouraged where possible.
  • Masks must be worn indoors except overnight while sleeping.

The COVID-19 Safety Plan must be implemented for all activities, and appropriate approval (including an OUT.01 application) must be sought for all camping and adventurous activities.

Can Girl Guides share a room or a tent at camp?

Yes, Girl Guides or Leaders from different households may share a room or a tent at camp. It is recommended that you sleep ‘top to tail’, so that heads aren’t as close together. Masks do not need to be worn overnight while sleeping.

Can my Unit go on an inter-state trip?

Due to constantly changing border restriction, interstate camps and trips will currently be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the Executive Committee.

Please work through the regular approval process, including submitting an online OUT.01 application and Risk Assessment online no later than 6 weeks prior to the event start date. Be prepared to have multiple review points along the way. Final approval may only be given days before the trip, and will be informed by the most up-to-date COVID rules regarding inter-state travel.

Information about inter-state travel for Victorians can be found online here.

Can my Unit go to a café or a restaurant together?

Yes, Girl Guide Units, including youth members, may meet at a hospitality venue. They must follow venue guidelines, including using the QR code to check in, and the Girl Guides Victoria COVID-Safe Principles.

Can my Unit travel together to an activity in a minibus?

Yes. Please note that Girl Guides Australia adult:child ratios must be met and facemasks must be worn by members aged 8 years old and up.

Can my Unit travel together to an activity using public transport?

Yes, providing the Girl Guides Victoria COVID-Safe Principles are followed and everyone aged 8 years old and up wears a mask.

 

Questions for  Trefoil Guilds & Olave Peer Groups

Can my Trefoil Guild, Olave Peer Group, or adult Volunteer Team return to normal meetings?

Yes, indoor and outdoor in-person Girl Guide activities may take place. No COVID-specific capacity or density limits apply. A COVID Check-In Marshal must ensure that everyone checks in using a QR code (or provides written contact details). Everyone must wear a masks when indoors, or when unable to socially distance.

The COVID-19 Safety Plan must be implemented for all activities.

Can my Trefoil Guild or Olave Peer Group meet at a café or a restaurant?

Yes, Girl Guide groups may meet at a hospitality venue. They must follow venue guidelines, including using the QR code to check in, and the Girl Guides Victoria COVID-Safe Principles.

 

Questions about Halls & Fundraising

Is my Guide Hall/Scout Hall/Community Centre etc. a 'private venue'?

No, your Guide Hall is not classified as a private venue. Private venues refer to homes, and includes front and back gardens.

Can we hire our Guide Hall out to an external group, such as a dance group?

Yes. Girl Guide Halls can be opened for hire for external groups.

  • Commercial hirers must have a COVIDSafe Plan that is specific to their industry.
  • Private hall hires must use the hall QR Code and provide a list of all attendees and contact details.
  • There must be a nominated COVID Check-in Marshal in attendance for the Hall hire.

Lessor restrictions (e.g. council leased property) may also be in place, you should confirm with your lessor whether there are additional restrictions to accept hall hires at your leased property.

Questions about Hall hire? Contact the JPC by emailing guides@guidesvic.org.au.

Do external hirers need their own QR code, or can they use ours?

As QR codes are tied to venues, not groups, your hirers should use the QR code attached to your Guide Hall.

Can we host a fundraising activity such as a Bunnings Sausage Sizzle?

Yes, as long as your activities are compliant with the Victorian Government guidelines. The Girl Guides Victoria COVID-19 Safety plan must be implemented alongside any COVID-Safe requirements of the host organisation (e.g. Bunnings).

 

Questions for Girl Guides & families

Do we have to wear masks at Girl Guides?

Everyone aged 8 years old and up must wear a mask while indoors. Masks are recommended outdoors when physical distancing is not possible.

I'm not feeling well, but my Girl Guide is fine. Can she attend Girl Guides tonight?

Please use this resource to help decide when to attend in-person Girl Guide activities.

What will change for Girl Guides when restrictions ease?

Each time there is a confirmed change in restrictions from the Victorian State Government, the JPC team will communicate directly with Leaders and Managers how these changes affect Girl Guide activities. Your Unit Leader should be able to give you more information.

 

Questions about vaccinations

It is not the policy of Girl Guides Victoria to mandate that Leaders or youth members are vaccinated. However, Public Health directions prohibit unvaccinated Leaders and parent helpers from participating in some aspects of in-person Girl Guiding.

For the purposes of the below advice regarding vaccinations, ‘fully vaccinated’ refers to a person who has received at least two doses of a COVID-10 vaccination.

The below advice will be reviewed and revised as advice from the Victorian State Government is released, and is subject to change at any time. More information about which venues across Victoria require vaccination against COVID-19 is online here.

 

General questions

Are vaccinations now mandated for Girl Guides Victoria members?

On Friday 8 October 2021 the Victorian Government announced new COVID-19 Mandatory Vaccination (Workers) Directions that require unvaccinated workers (including volunteers) do not work outside of their homes. It is a Government requirement for our Volunteers to be vaccinated in order to participate in in-person Girl Guiding activities. These new directions came into effect on Friday 15 October 2021.

Currently, participants aged 18 years+ (e.g. special guests including parents) must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to attend Girl Guide activities at community venues such as Girl Guide Halls. This includes overnight events a campsites.

Are any Girl Guide activities exempt from the vaccine mandate?

Regardless of location, all Volunteers must be vaccinated against COVID-19 to participate in in-person Girl Guiding activities.

For participants (e.g. special guests including parents), the following exemptions apply:

  • If the activity is a day event that takes place at an outdoor community facility (e.g. a park) with a playground, skate park, OR outdoor exercise equipment; participants’ vaccination status does not need to be checked.
  • If the activity is a day event that takes place at a a sporting facility (e.g. a basketball court), participants’ vaccination status does not need to be checked.

How do I inform Girl Guides Victoria of my vaccination status?

Volunteers received a link in the first week of October to declare their vaccination status on their GGV profile.

Email covidsafe@guidesvic.org.au with any questions regarding this process.

Do Girl Guides aged 12-15 need to be vaccinated to attend in-person Girl Guide activities?

No, not at this stage. 

Do Girl Guides aged 16-17 need to be vaccinated to attend in-person Girl Guide activities?

No, not at this stage.

Can Girl Guide Units still have mixed ages?

Yes, there is no need to change the age ranges of our current Girl Guide Units.

How do I apply for a medical exemption from a COVID-19 vaccine?

From 6pm on Friday 29 October 2021, all medical exemptions from COVID-19 vaccines will need to use the Australian Immunisation Register’s medical exemption form. Only eligible health professionals can fill in a referral form and submit it on your behalf. This exemption can then be linked to your Service Victoria app so that when you check in to a venue, it will show that you have a ‘valid certificate’.

Are religious exemptions to receiving the COVID-19 vaccination available?

No, not that this stage. This is subject to evolving DHHS advice. 

 

Questions for Adult Members

What is the timeline for me to get vaccinated?

From Friday 15 October 2021, in order to participate in in-person Girl Guiding activities, all GGV Volunteers must:

  • be fully vaccinated; OR
  • have a medical exemption evidenced by an authorised medical practitioner.

How will I know if the Volunteers in my Unit/District/Region are vaccinated?

District/Region Managers can view whether the Volunteers in their local area are able to attend in-person Girl Guide activities on their District/Region Reports. 

How can I support the Girl Guides in my Unit to receive their vaccination?

Encourage your Girl Guide families to review the information available from the Victorian Government, including resources available in languages other than English.

The Education Department has also put out a resource directed at students aged 12-17, and the Australian Government has a number of factsheets including:

I'm a Girl Guide Volunteer who isn't vaccinated yet. What happens?

All adult Volunteers have until 15 October 2021 to:

  • be fully vaccinated; OR
  • have a medical exemption evidenced by an authorised medical practitioner.

If you are unable to meet the above requirements, you will not be able to participate in in-person Girl Guide activities until you are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, or Government advice regarding vaccination mandates changes.

I'm an adult volunteer who is only partially vaccinated. Can I attend Girl Guides while I wait for my second dose?

No, you must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to attend in-person Girl Guiding activities.

We do not have enough vaccinated Girl Guide Volunteers to meet ratios. What do we do?

Girl Guide activities cannot run unless ratios can be met by vaccinated adults, including at least one qualified Girl Guide Leader.

Please meet virtually if possible, or reach out to your District Manager for assistance.

What happens if someone comes to my Girl Guide activities, but is not fully vaccinated yet?

Any participant aged 18+ who attends an in-person Girl Guide activity before they are fully vaccinated will be asked to go home by the Unit Leader in Charge, unless they can provide evidence of a medical exemption.

There are unvaccinated adults in my Girl Guide's household. Can their Girl Guide still attend in-person Unit meetings?

Yes, however any unvaccinated adults in the Girl Guide’s family will not be able to attend Unit Meetings as a Parent Helper and/or attend events at the Guide Hall such as Promise Ceremonies.

I'm a Unit Leader. Can I accept physical proof for vaccinations?

Yes. You can accept physical proof such as a vaccination card, or a copy of a person’s vaccination record. Many smart-phone users will have their vaccination certificate linked to their Service Victoria app. Please encourage families to update their GGV profile online, or contact membership@guidesvic.org.au for assistance.

 

Questions for Girl Guides & families

There are unvaccinated adults in my Girl Guide's household. Can my Girl Guide still attend in-person Unit meetings?

Yes, however any unvaccinated adults in the Girl Guide’s family will not be able to attend Unit Meetings as a Parent Helper and/or attend events at the Guide Hall such as Promise Ceremonies.

 

Questions about Girl Guides Online

What virtual events are happening at a State Level?

Girl Guides have lots of opportunities to continue to grow, learn and discover! Friday Night Guides will continue throughout 2022.

The Girl Guides in my Unit are tired of Zoom and finding it hard to come up with what they want to do. How can we keep going with Girl-Led under these circumstances?

While we pride ourselves on our Girl Led philosophy and practices, now might be the time for a more structured and/or shorter program that is easier for leaders to deliver and might also be easier and more enjoyable for our girls to participate in. You could plan some favourite activities that your Girl Guides can jump into and lead on the night, like making up a dance to a campfire song. You could choose the topic but your Girl Guides then take the topic and lead the night. Take the best of both and make it work for where your Unit is right now!

For those Units that are working well please continue what you are doing for as long as it works. And for those who are finding this challenging and just plain hard, please feel that you can try new things if you need to. At this time, the most important thing is to enjoy Girl Guides even if that means it looks quite different than it used to.

Is the paid Zoom subscription worth it or should we stick with the free version?

It depends on what your Unit needs. A paid subscription has additional functions and you get additional time. If you only need 40 minutes, you might want to stick with the free version.

 

Girl Guides Victoria COVID-Safe Principles (updated!)

Download the COVID Principles Poster

These principles are applicable to all in-person Girl Guide activities, when and where these are permitted to occur.

Read the Principles
  1. If you have been in direct contact with COVID-19, please stay home.
  2. Stay home if you are unwell.
  3. Everyone must check in via the QR code.
  4. Wash or sanitise hands on arrival, after coughing, sneezing, bathrooms visits & before eating.
  5. Face masks must be worn according to Government regulations.
  6. Follow hygiene & physical distancing signage.
  7. Cough/sneeze into your elbow or a tissue & dispose of tissues immediately.
  8. Tell your Leader straight away if you feel unwell at a meeting.
  9. Please BYO water bottle (no sharing of drinks).
  10. Follow rules & directions for common areas & bathrooms.
  11. Ensure COVID-19 cleaning is completed after each activity.
  12. Returning to in-person Guiding is a choice. Consider the risk to you, your family & your community.

Do I need to conduct a Risk Management when planning outdoor activities?

All adventure based activities require a Risk Management document to be conducted and submitted to Girl Guides Victoria. A list of these activities is on Guidelines for Girl Guides. Non-adventure based activities do not require a Risk Management document, however as with all Girl Guide activities you should ask yourself three questions:

  1. What are we doing?
  2. What could go wrong?
  3. How can we make it safe?

A few things to consider when conducting your Girl Guide meetings outdoors are:

  • How to maintain a safe 1.5 m apart from each other,
  • Identifying ‘boundaries’ for outside spaces,
  • How to stay safe when going to the bathroom (e.g. Do Girl Guides go in pairs? Does a Leader need to accompany the pairs?), and/or
  • Stranger danger in public spaces.

Are there resources to help keep my Unit's Girl Guide activities COVID-safe?

Yes, the COVID-19 Safety Plan checklist and accompanying resources are designed to help you prepare your Hall/venue, Leaders, Volunteers, Girl Guides, and parents for returning to in-person Girl Guide activities while we live with COVID-19 as part of our daily lives. This will mean increased hygiene and cleaning processes, and means helping Leaders, families, and Girl Guides practice physical distancing while participating in Girl Guide activities.

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