ALA Volunteer Girls State is committed to hosting a safe, healthy, and fun program that minimizes the chance of being disrupted by COVID-19. Achieving this goal requires goodwill and cooperation among delegates, their parents and guardians, and ALA VGS counselors and staff.
In developing these guidelines, we have taken into account the recommendations and requirements of the Centers for Disease Control, the Tennessee Department of Health, and our host campus, Lipscomb University. Additionally, we have considered guidance from entities such as the American Camp Association and our peer organizations. Finally, we also have been mindful of applicable state regulatory frameworks, the constraints of our program, and the spectrum of individual preferences represented across our state.
In the event that the public health landscape and related guidance significantly changes between now and the last day of ALA VGS, these protocols may change accordingly.
COVID-19 Protocols Before and During Check-In for ALA VGS
Our goal is to minimize the chance that an active COVID-19 infection significantly impacts the 2022 ALA VGS program, or the health of our delegates, counselors, staff, and community.
- We are grateful that as of this writing (May 13, 2022), the CDC reports that all 95 counties in Tennessee remain at a “low” level of COVID-19 risk. Accordingly, we are not asking that delegates or counselors/staff take any additional precautions or testing prior to checking in at ALA VGS.
- As part of the check-in procedure upon arrival at ALA VGS on the Lipscomb University campus, all delegates, counselors, and staff will take a rapid antigen test at no cost to themselves.
- A negative COVID-19 test will allow a delegate, counselor, or staff member to proceed through check-in, move their belongings into their assigned dorm room, and start the ALA VGS program.
- In the event of a positive COVID-19 test, the delegate, counselor, or staff member will be offered a KN95 mask and a second rapid antigen test (again, at no cost to themselves) in a separate area. If either test or the mask is refused, or if the second test comes back positive, the delegate, counselor, or staff member will not be able to continue through the check-in procedure. At that point, the delegate, counselor, or staff member will be responsible for making arrangements to return home.
COVID-19 Protocols During the Week of ALA VGS
To help meet our goal of minimizing the chance that an active COVID-19 infection significantly impacts ALA VGS 2022, the following protocols will be in place once the ALA VGS program has started.
- Since COVID-19 is spread through respiratory droplets, we ask that everyone cover their mouths and noses while sneezing and coughing.
- All delegates, counselors, and staff members will be encouraged to cleanse hands frequently throughout the day.
- Masks are optional for all delegates, counselors, and staff members, regardless of vaccination status. Everyone is encouraged to bring and wear masks if they choose. In keeping with ALA VGS values, everyone’s choice about masking will be respected.
- All delegates, counselors, and staff must agree to self-monitor throughout the week for COVID-19 symptoms. These symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath and/or difficulty breathing
- Unusual fatigue or weakness
- Muscle or body aches
- Recent onset of loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Nausea or vomiting
- Skin rash
- Congestion and/or runny nose
- If a delegate experiences any symptom that cannot be attributed to another known condition, those symptoms should be reported to a counselor, who will then inform a lead counselor or an executive counselor. If a counselor or staff member experiences any symptom that cannot be attributed to another known condition, those symptoms should be reported to either the Chairwoman or one of the Co-Directors.
- Any delegate, counselor, or staff who experiences any combination of symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 (as determined by ALA VGS medical staff) will be given a KN95 mask to wear and be taken to an isolation room for further evaluation.
- Further evaluation may include questions about vaccination status, prior COVID-19 infection(s), other medical conditions, taking of temperature, and administering a rapid antigen test (at no cost). A parent or guardian will be notified in the event that a delegate is symptomatic and requires further evaluation.
- If a rapid antigen test returns positive, a second test will be offered (at no cost). If either test or the mask is refused, or if both tests come back positive, the delegate will be isolated in a separate room and monitored by ALA VGS staff until a parent, guardian, or other authorized individual arrives to collect their belongings and take them home. If a counselor or staff member tests positive twice, they will isolate in a separate room until they arrange to return home.
- In the event of a confirmed COVID-19 case, all delegates and counselors in the affected ALA VGS city – or other small cohort if appropriate – will be administered a rapid antigen test (at no cost) and further evaluated according to the judgment of an ALA VGS medical staff member, essentially following the steps outlined above.
Again, in the event that the public health landscape and related guidance significantly changes between now and the last day of ALA VGS, these protocols may change accordingly.
After two years of offering ALA VGS in a virtual environment, we are thrilled to be returning to an in-person session for 2022. Our hope and expectation is that if we all use good judgment, common sense, and work together, we will have a safe and wonderful week together. We are looking forward to seeing you soon!