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A Message from the NS Council Key 3

February 04, 2021

Dear fellow Scouters,
 
As we continue to work through the ever-changing challenges associated with CV-19, we understand that this has been a difficult and confusing time for many of you. We also recognize that this confusion and uncertainty has impacted your youth and your ability to hold quality programming.
 
At this time, we would like to take this opportunity to provide you all with a bit more information related to the challenges we have faced as a CK3, the process we take when announcements are made and the rough timelines for this process. We hope that by providing you a bit more insight into this process, it will help to provide clarity on how we end up with the updates that we release.
 
First, we want to preface this by stating we are extremely proud of the job that the NS Government and Public Health has done to manage this pandemic. The data speaks for itself and we are lucky to be in a province in which case counts have remained very low for much of the last year. Although, we have been disappointed with some of the restrictions put in place (because we know they impact our youth and programming) we also will continue to promote adherence to these restrictions as they are in place to support the health of our communities and province as a whole.
 
Some of the challenges we have faced as a CK3 is due in part to the irregular cadence of press conferences and restriction changes that we have seen to date. Unfortunately, with no regularity to the changes in restrictions, it is difficult to preplan our organization’s response. Additionally, we, just like all other individuals (including other government departments), only find out what the restriction changes are at the time they are announced as part of a press conference.
 
Following these announcements, we attempt to reach out to Public Health to gain clarity on how those changes may impact our organization. Depending on when the announcement is made it can sometimes be 2-3 days before we hear back from Public Health. ​Although typically, it is within a few hours. Once we are able to have a discussion with a Public Health representative, we try to get clarity on the restriction’s impact to Scouting. In the past, we have had different Public Health reps, provide us conflicting information, and so in these situations, we ask for escalation to the next level. This inherently results in a bit longer of a delay.
 
After we have been provided clarity from the appropriate Public Health representative, we then assess what Return to Scouting Stage the restrictions would place us in. Given that the various Stages do not always match exactly with our provincial restrictions, we also then must provide modifications to the Stage Standard.
 
Finally, after all of this information is gathered, vetted and confirmed, we then present our recommended changes to the appropriate Scouts Canada individuals for final approval. Following this, we communicate those changes to our Scouters via email, post changes on our Facebook account, website and the national heat map is updated.
 
As you can see, this entire process ​takes time from when the initial press conference is held until the communication goes out to Scouters. We want to ensure you all that during this time, we as a CK3 are diligently working in the background to ensure whatever information we send out aligns with Public Health. We do not want to be in a situation in which we are operating in contradiction to Public Health and the Health Protection Act Order.
 
As we have mentioned in a previous communication to membership, we have also submitted a proposal to Public Health to have Scouting viewed as a separate entity – similar to how other sectors/businesses have submitted operations plans for their reopening. Unfortunately, this approach was not approved at this time by Public Health. 
 
Unfortunately, due to the irregular cadence of press conferences, there have been situations in which, following a press conference, we have gone through the entire process described above then made the resulting announcement to our Scouters only to have another press conference just 1-2 days later that then results in further changes. We 100% understand the confusion and frustration this causes you all, as we know you are doing your very best to adapt your programming to meet these changes and it is very challenging to have to keep tweaking your plans.
 
Again, we are sharing this information with you all, not to cast the NS Government or Public Health in a bad light in anyway shape or form. This pandemic is a fluid situation that can change almost daily, and these individuals are doing what they have to in order to keep us all safe. However, we felt we owed you a bit of clarity on our process and hopefully this has added some clarity to how we end up at the decisions we send out.
 
Additionally, to better support our members it was recommended that moving forward we have a space on our Nova Scotia Council website that will contain the COVID-19 Council updates and the current modifications to our Scouts Canada standards. This is now live and can be found here:https://www.scouts.ca/councils/eastern/nova-scotia/about-nova-scotia-council/nova-scotia-covid-19-update.html .
 
Thank you all so much for your understanding and your consistent ability and willingness to adapt to these ever-changing restrictions. We remain hopeful that as the province continues to slowly open up more and more, Scouting will soon be able to safely engage in more programming, participate in camping activities and get back to what we all love about the movement.
 
Yours in Scouting, 
Amy Kehoe - Council Youth Commissioner 
Zach Fitzsimmons - Council Commissioner 
Justin Dubreuil - Interim Council Relationship Manager