May 20, 2020 UPDATE

BRMC has published a letter regarding a review of Virginia's Phase One.   Scouting activities of 10 or less people are now permitted. Social distancing and face masks are strongly encouraged.

From SM James Belcher: "I would like to come up with some alternatives to the online meetings now that we are being allowed to slowly open back up.  Hopefully we can start having small group meetings again in the very near future."

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As of this time, based on the policy implemented by the council as well as the best practices and restrictions implemented and suggested by various officials I am officially CANCELING ALL TROOP 145 ACTIVITIES THROUGH SUNDAY, APRIL 19, 2020 to include all meetings, camp-outs, activities, fundraisers, etc.  If things improve and we are able to resume prior to then, I will let you know as soon as possible.

-James Belcher

 

March 17, 2020 Blue Ridge Mountains Council Letter Concerning COVID-19 and BRMC Scouting Events & Activities

 

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Saturday, March 14, 2020

Troop 145,

In light of the current COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic affecting the Commonwealth of Virginia, the United States of America and the majority of the world I am writing you all this morning to discuss the plans for Troop 145 as we move forward and learn more about this virus.

As I am sure you are aware:

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared COVID-19 to be a pandemic.

President Trump has declared a National Emergency in relation to COVID-19.

Governor Northam has declared a State of Emergency in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Governor Northam has ordered all K-12 Schools in the Commonwealth of Virginia Closed from AT LEAST Monday, March 16 through Friday, March 27, 2020. The situation will then be re-evaluated and decisions concerning longer closures will be made by the Governor and individual localities.

The policy of Troop 145 has always been, "no school, no scouts".

The World Health Organization (WHO), Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Virginia Department of Health (VDH) are all advising everyone to take precautions such as social distancing; avoiding toughing their face, mouth, eyes and nose; and frequent hand washing and sanitizing to control and limit the spread of COVID-19

What you may not know:

The Bishop of the Virginia United Methodist Conference has ordered that all Sunday worship services at United Methodist Churches in Virginia be canceled for Sunday, March 15 and March 22 and strongly urged that all other church gatherings be postponed.  Our chartered organization, St. Paul United Methodist Church is part of the affected Virginia United Methodist Conference and has canceled worship services and other church activities as a result.

The guests of the "To Our House" program were denied entry into the church they were supposed to be traveling to next week due to concerns about COVID-19.  St. Paul UMC stepped up and graciously allowed those folks to remain on site at the St. Paul Activity building for at least one additional week.

As of the time of this e-mail there are no confirmed or presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in Southwest Virginia or the New River Valley...YET

As a result of all of the above information and the recommendations by the WHO, CDC and VDH to implement social distancing and avoiding crowds and gatherings of people, I have made the decision to cancel all scheduled meetings and activities for Troop 145 effective immediately through at least Sunday, March 29.  This includes our meetings scheduled for Monday, March 16 and March 23 as well as the camp out at Smith Mountain Lake and trip to the D-Day Memorial scheduled for the weekend of March 20 - 22.

I and our Troop Committee will be closely monitoring the situation as it progresses and changes over the coming weeks and decide how to best and most safely move forward from here.  I am hopeful and prayerful that the situation will stabilize and we will see a plateau and decline in COVID-19 cases in Virginia in the coming weeks and we can return to our scheduled meetings and activities (perhaps with some screening and extra precautions) beginning on March 30.  However, things may also get much worse in the coming weeks and we may have to make the decision for a further cancellation of Troop 145 meetings and activities at that time.  There will also hopefully be more guidance and recommendations available from the Blue Ridge Mountains Council and the Boy Scouts of America national organization available at that time as well.  We will keep you updated via e-mail, Facebook and the Troop 145 website ( http://www.cburgtroop145.com ) as soon as those decisions are made and we know how we are proceeding.  

This is not a decision I came to lightly, nor a decision that I wanted to have to make.  But, the health and safety of our scouts, adult volunteers and their families are my first and foremost concern and I simply could not justify a decision and the risk to not temporarily cancel our troop functions.

If you have more questions, concerns or would like good reliable up to date information about COVID-19 please visit the following websites:

Virginia Department of Health:  http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/surveillance-and-investigation/novel-coronavirus/

Centers for Disease Control: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html

World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

I will close with this, the vast majority of COVID-19 cases while inconvenient are mild, require little if any medical treatment and completely self recover within a few weeks. Those most susceptible to severe cases and complications are the very young, very old and with weakened or compromised immune systems.  I urge you all to follow the commonsense best practices that have been suggested: practice social distancing; avoid crowds; cover your coughs in the bend of your arm or your shoulder; wash your hands; avoid unnecessary contact with small children, the elderly or those who are already have compromised immune systems; clean and disinfect commonly touched and used surfaces with appropriate cleaning products (approved lists available on CDC and VDH websites); if you experience symptoms of COVID-19 implement a self quarantine, seek medical attention and testing if necessary.

Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.

Take care of yourselves, take care of each other and remember, A Scout Is... Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Brave and CLEAN.

Yours in Scouting,

James Belcher
Scoutmaster
Troop 145
jhbelcher@gmail.com
cell: (540)250-7791