Virtual Scouting Guidelines

Updated April 22, 2020

In order to comply with federal, state, and local guidelines, a number of temporary modifications are being allowed within the traditional Scouting program. As with all Scouting activities, the Guide to Safe Scouting and youth protection policies must be followed.

These temporary council guidelines, in addition to BSA National guidelines, are in place to help navigate virtual Scouting while traditional programming is disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.  These guidelines will be reevaluated on July 1, 2020.

For the District

District Calendar

• Districts have the flexibility to add online events to the district calendar, with the approval of the district executive (DE) and field director.
• Any event involving multiple troops (unless two linked troops) or utilizing district/council resources (such as websites, social media, Doubleknot) is considered to be a district event.
• All district events, including “no fee” events, must have a budget approved by the DE.
• Online meetings and activities involving youth must not be recorded.

Event Registration

• Registration through a council approved platform (e.g.,  Doubleknot, website form) is required for all district events. This includes “no fee” events to help with tracking and archiving.
• Fees should be charged only to recoup approved expenses incurred.

Training

• Official BSA training (with a BSA course code) must use the current syllabus without modification.
• University of Scouting type classes are encouraged, using qualified instructors.  Check with appropriate council committee chairs to ensure any policy-related topics are up-to-date.

 

For the Unit

Modified Rank Requirements

• See COVID-19 FAQs

Merit Badges and STEM Nova

• Must use registered and qualified counselors 
• Virtual merit badge “blue card” is available through Scoutbook

Eagle Application Verification

• Submit documents by email

Boards of Review

• Follow guidelines in Guide to Advancement (sections 5.0.8.0, 8.0.1.6)
• Council approval is required to conduct an Eagle Board of Review by video conference 

Unit Program

• Must adhere to Youth Protection and internet safety guidelines.
• Continue to provide activities and communication  

 

For the Scout

• Complete age-appropriate Cyber Chip requirements
• Request and receive permission from the unit leader before beginning a merit badge
• Have another registered leader included when communicating with a merit badge counselor, STEM counselor, or other adult leader.
• Personally complete requirements for rank or merit badges.
• If a requirement says show,” “demonstrate,” or “discuss,” complete the requirement as written. This may take the form of digital methods.
• Participate in virtual meetings with your unit.
• Cub Scouts can continue to work on their current rank advancement through July 31, 2020.

Programming Ideas

The Scouting program should continue while in-person meetings are suspended. Here are suggestions to help keep your program going and growing.

  • Virtual meetings - den, pack, patrol, troop, crew, district (committee and roundtable)
  • Virtual campouts - patrol, troop, crew, Webelos den, pack
  • Virtual merit badge or STEM Nova classes. Here are some tips-
  • Schedule reasonable class sizes with low Scout-to-counselor ratios.  It is difficult to manage groups with multiple pages of participants.
  • Consider the age of participants when planning length of time for the class, possibly scheduling multiple classes of shorter duration.
  • Verify each Scout personally completes each requirement
  • Be upfront about which requirements can be completed and which prerequisites are expected.
  • Verify the Scouts have unit leader approval before starting.
  • Counselors cannot add or alter requirements (such as completion of a workbook).
  • All counselors should be qualified and registered in Scoutbook. 
  • Moderators need to be up and running at least 10 minutes in advance of the Scouts. Extra adults are needed to help take attendance, monitor participant progress, and monitor chat.
  • Default recommendations for Zoom: Use waiting room and passcodes to limit interruptions, set participants to mute upon entry, disable private chat.
  • Virtual Campfire Night (example) - would be effective on a district level.
  • 30-day challenges (example) - Create your own!
  • Virtual rallies for spring recruiting.
  • Safe service opportunities that can be done from home.

Resources

Contacts

For more information, contact your district advancement chair or district activities chair.