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Unit, District & Council Operational Guidance

Updated 12/1/2021

As the Delta variant continues to be a challenge, we are changing some guidance points for units and activities. These changes will be rescinded as soon as practical for the safety of our members.

All local and state governments, both where the unit is chartered and where the meeting or activity is to take place, must clearly permit the activity in terms of gathering size, location, and ability to maintain proper social distancing. All of those and the Federal CDC guidelines must be followed for all phases of the meeting or activity (such as feeding, housing/tents, activities, etc.).

For face-to-face meetings & activities

  • Outdoor activities remain safer than gathering indoors.
  • Masks must be worn by everyone while indoors, regardless of age or vaccination status, except when eating, sleeping, or drinking.
  • Events including meals are not as safe as events without meals
  • Units may choose to camp overnight in indoor facilities when all the following conditions have been met (This policy also applies to allowing more than one person to share a tent):
    • All guidelines issued by the CDC and local governmental agencies are followed
    • The chartered partner of the unit agrees to this activity prior to it taking place
    • Parents have been made aware of both the face to face and overnight sleeping aspects of this activity
    • Participants are always masked when indoors, except when actively eating, drinking, or sleeping
    • All youth protection policies are followed

Consult the BSA’s Restart Scouting Checklist and Pre-Event Medical Screening Checklist for additional guidance on safe operations. Leadership is also encouraged to consult local or state health-related websites for further information.

COVID-19 Pre-Event Medical Screening Checklist
Restart Scouting Checklist

Approval for Face-to-Face Activities

  • Chartered organizations must approve in-person activities and/or meetings prior to restoring them.
  • Parents should be surveyed, and a majority of the parents in the Scouting unit must approve restoring in-person activities.


For Cub Scouts, a small group of adults should do the cooking in a safe, socially distant manner.

Patrol cooking is a key part of the Scouts BSA program.  It fosters team building, cooperation, and supports the development of the patrol as a cohesive unit.  The continued presence of COVID-19 in our communities and the need for social distancing can create challenges for patrol cooking.  However, careful preparation, starting with pre-outing meal planning, can help reduce these challenges.  When preparing for a return to patrol cooking, units should:

  • Educate Scouts on the importance of proper use of masks that cover the nose and mouth, the importance of social distancing, and washing their hands before starting meal preparation.
  • Whenever possible, have an adult observe one or more patrols to correct them when social distancing fails or masks slip down, including throughout the clean-up process.
  • Reassess cooking gear available to the patrol, including patrol boxes.  Additional work surfaces such as folding tables can provide multiple distanced work surfaces, reducing crowding in the cooking area or around the patrol box.
  • Consider menus that allow for the use of multiple cooking methods (camp stove, box oven, dutch oven, backpacking stove, reflector oven, etc.)  This allows spacing of individuals who are working with the different elements of a meal.  Your PLC may be able to support this by issuing a “menu challenge” that requires a meal plan to include elements prepared in two or more different ways. The goal is to have one person cooking on a stove at a time.
  • Consider allowing longer times for meal preparation and clean-up activities to reduce crowding when scouts are in a hurry.
  • Encourage Scouts and adults to bring individual camp chairs to aid in eating in a socially distanced manner.
  • Proper cleaning, rinsing, and sanitization of all dishes, utensils, and cooking wear is critical. For instructions on properly applying the three-pot method, please review this article by Brian on Scouting.


  • The safest transportation method is that only household members are in a vehicle. This may not always be practical. When necessary, people outside of a household may travel in a vehicle together. Unless the vehicle is a large van (4 rows of seats), there should not be more than four people in a vehicle, and they are to sit as far apart as possible. Masks are to be worn at all times. If possible, carpool with people who interact together in other venues such as sports teams or schools.