The Cascade Pacific Council Adopts New COVID Safety Measures to Ensure Safe Scouting while Getting Youth Outdoors, Gaining Leadership Skills and Serving the Community
After 11 months of developing new digital and family-centered programming to keep Scouts and families safe and active during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Cascade Pacific Councel announces today that we are adopting the recommendations of its COVID-Safety Task to re-start a more regular Scouting program for youth ages 12 and up in Northwest Oregon.
The new measures follow the State of Oregon’s “Youth Programs Guidelines” which now allows various youth groups meet in small numbers while wearing masks and practicing social distancing.
Please note that these recommendations only apply to Oregon. The task force is currently reviewing guidelines for younger-aged Cub Scouts and youth in Washington state.
Updates for Cub Scouts
The counties below have dropped risk categories from Extreme to High. This means Cub Scouts can meet together in groups of 8 total people outdoors, including cohort camping. (See page 7 of the COVID Meeting Guide.) This also opens up the carpool guidelines for cub scouts. Counties include:
- Hood River
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Research We Have Taken into Account
The COVID Task Force has taken many studies and research into account to allow tiered options to safely continue Scouting in person for Scouts BSA youth.
CDC: The Importance of Participation in Outdoor Activities
- “Staying physically active is one of the best ways to keep your mind and body healthy.”
- “If you want to spend time with people who don’t live with you, outdoors is the safer choice. You are less likely to be exposed to COVID-19 during outdoor activities, even without the use of masks, when you stay at least 6 feet apart from people who don’t live with you.”
Studies of Outdoor Transmission Show Low Transmission Rates
- Five peer-reviewed papers identified and systematically reviewed by the Task including:
- <10% of reported global SARS-CoV-2 infections have occurred outdoors
- Odds of indoor transmission was 18.7 times higher than outdoor transmission (95% CI 6.0, 57.9)
- “In general, factors such as duration and frequency of personal contact, lack of personal protective equipment and occasional indoor gathering during a largely outdoor experience were associated with outdoor reports of infection.”
No Transmission Found at CPC Scout Events
- Many units have been meeting in person since summer started
- Family and patrol camping occurred throughout summer and into fall
- There have been a handful of potential exposures at Scout events
- There have been no known outbreaks among the units in our council
About the COVID Task Force
The council’s COVID Task Force was created in March of 2020 to develop measures that would ensure safe Scouting during the global pandemic. It consists of veteran physicians, safety professionals, first responders, unit volunteers, community leaders and council board members.
“I am seeing very significant impacts on the mental, emotional, and physical health of even my youngest patients due to the COVID closure of schools and other activities,” said Dr. Kirsten Crowley, Providence Pediatrician, Scoutmaster, and Task Force Member. “I believe our kids need Scouting more than ever. The personal achievements, outdoor adventures, and connection with friends they gain through this program will be protective for them going forward. I am grateful we have found a safe way to allow Scouts to thrive and grow with their peers.”
The council has adopted recommendations that include health screening, monitoring, social distancing, wearing masks and other meeting-specific guidelines and protocols. A full guide can be downloaded below or at https://cpcbsa.org/covid
“We are honored to have such a passionate group of volunteer experts on our COVID Task Force,” said Todd McDonald, council Director of Program. “They have worked countless hours since the COVID crisis began to give us guidance and ensure a safe Scouting program during the pandemic.”
Scouting’s COVID Creativity
While the Scouting program is typically in-person and outdoors, the local council created virtual programming that has served thousands of youth across the USA since March of 2020. And though summer camp was cancelled, nearly 500 local families instead were able to enjoy family campouts on council properties on the Oregon Coast and in the Cascade Mountains. See https://cpcbsa.org/covidimpact for details.
Family & Small Group Adventures Opening Soon
The council also announced today that it will soon re-open some of its Oregon camps for family and cohort camping. Camps Meriwether and Clark on the Oregon Coast and Camp Baldwin near Mount Hood will be open to Scouting families starting March 1, 2021. Not only are these unique facilities offer incredible access to the outdoors, but have new showerhouses, restrooms and wash stations for a cleaner, safer camping experience. Families who are interested in gaining access to these programs can find and join a Scout unit in their neighborhood at http://beascout.org/