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Order of the Arrow’s Response to COVID-19


As always, your safety and the safety of all our members, volunteers, and employees is our top priority. We know there are questions and concerns about how COVID-19, commonly known as the coronavirus, could affect upcoming Order of the Arrow events. Please know that we are monitoring developments regarding COVID-19 both nationally and locally with the BSA Health and Safety Department and through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The following information regarding events and prevention measures is based on the latest available guidance. As this is an evolving situation, this information is subject to change. We will continue to update you on relevant developments, and we appreciate your understanding of any necessary adjustments in the interest of health and safety.

Recent Updates

December 21, 2021: Update to Temporary Covid Policy Modifications

On October 21, the Steering Committee of the National OA Committee approved the following change to the Temporary Covid Policy Modifications:

  1. Virtual camping will no longer count towards OA eligibility and the previous camping requirement, which includes a long-term camp of five (5) consecutive nights, is reinstituted:
    "Have experienced 15 nights of Scout camping while registered with a troop, crew, or ship within the two years immediately prior to the election. The 15 nights must include one, but no more than one, long-term camp consisting of at least five consecutive nights of overnight camping, approved and under the auspices and standards of the Boy Scouts of America. Only five nights of the long-term camp may be credited toward the 15-night camping requirement; the balance of the camping (10 nights) must be overnight, weekend, or other short-term camps of, at most, three nights each. Ship nights may be counted as camping for Sea Scouts."

The above change is effective January 1, 2022.  Any virtual camping nights completed before January 1, 2022 may be counted towards OA eligibility.

The options for virtual unit elections, virtual Ordeals, and virtual Brotherhood are retained. Additionally, candidates that were elected after February 1, 2019 will continue to have 24 months from the date of election to complete their ordeal. This remains in effect until otherwise notified that we will go back to 12 months.

Status of Lodge, Section, and Region Events

We encourage all lodges to work with and follow guidance from your local BSA council and county/state health departments to address any concerns about upcoming events in your area.

Region and Section leadership will provide updates to changes in event status based on guidance from the relevant health authorities in the event area.

Regions are assessing all options including rescheduling NLS and DYLC to later dates. Sections are doing the same regarding conclaves.

BSA Policies to Prevent the Spread of Illness

The Boy Scouts of America continues to have policies and procedures in place that help protect participants from contracting an illness at a large Scouting event. These include the Annual Health and Medical Record and the Pre-Event Medical Screening Checklist.

Everyday Preventive Measures

Even with those important policies in place, it is critical that we all take these everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases:

  • Stay home when you feel sick.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, and wash your hands before and after doing so.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve/elbow, not your hands.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Do not share personal items such as cups, water bottles, eating utensils, etc.
  • Avoid shaking hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

If you have a fever, cough, or other symptoms associated with COVID-19, or if you believe you may have been exposed to COVID-19, you should isolate and not attend any Scouting events. People who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider immediately.