The attached letter was sent to all Leaders, and those Rovers who are Leaders, by the Executive Manager of Scouts Victoria. It is self-explanatory and outlines the vaccination requirements placed on members of Scouts Victoria by the Government. Whilst Rovers who are Leaders have direct involvement with youth members, so too do Rovers who are not Leaders, through service with Groups and other bodies. Additionally, Rovers involved in face to face activities, including events such as Rover Dinner and normal Unit activities, will need to satisfy the requirements outlined in the Executive Manager’s letter. An email to this effect will be sent to all Rovers over the coming days.
Last week, our Chief Commissioner Rod Byrnes sent you an email stating his personal position on the role COVID-19 vaccination has in helping Scouting return to face-to-face activities. He also indicated that there might come a time when changes to Government directions made it a requirement of law for our Adult Leaders to be vaccinated.
On Friday, the Victorian Government announced new COVID-19 Mandatory Vaccination (Workers) Directions that require unvaccinated workers (including volunteers) do not work outside their homes. The new directions will come into effect from October 15, 2021. We’ve taken time to carefully review the directions and seek advice.
There are specific roles described in the directions that unequivocally match the job of being an Adult Leader in Scouting. It is a Government requirement for our volunteers to be vaccinated (or have a booking) in order to take part in face-to-face activities.
While they remain in force, these directions affect all volunteers engaged in Scouting, including Leaders, helpers, committee members, employees, fellowship, etc and applies state-wide. It does not apply to youth members unless they are involved as workers (such as youth helpers, or Rovers who are also Leaders).
Scouts Victoria is also required to collect and record the vaccination status of all volunteers. Where the vaccination status of a volunteer is unknown, we must assume they are unvaccinated (and hence cannot participate in Scouting outside of their homes). In the next few days, Scouts Victoria will be contacting all registered volunteers to request information on their COVID-19 vaccination status. We will use Operoo (previously Care Monkey) to collect this information, so that volunteers will have visibility of their personal vaccination data that Scouts Victoria is holding. We will also describe the process that will be required for Scouts Victoria to verify the vaccination status (including certification for excepted persons).
Your vaccination status, and the how it affects your involvement in Scouting, can be one of the following:
• Fully vaccinated - you can participate in face-to-face Scouting in line with COVID directions and Scouts Victoria guidance
• Partially vaccinated (one dose) - you can still participate in face-to-face Scouting if you have a booking for a 2nd dose by November 26, 2021.
• Unvaccinated - you can still participate in face-to-face Scouting after October 15 if you have a booking for a 1st dose by October 22, 2021.
• Excepted person - you can participate in face-to-face Scouting if you hold certification from a medical practitioner that you are unable to receive a vaccination due to a medical contraindication or an acute medical illness
For the vast majority of our volunteers the Government directions will not create hardship. We understand that for a few, the directions impose rules that prevent them from engaging with the face-to-face program. We hope this situation will be temporary. The Scouts Victoria COVID-19 Update website will always have the latest directions on Scouting during COVID and the Vaccination FAQs will have more information on the vaccination process as it becomes available.
Rod shared a powerful message last week. His view was that vaccination was aligned to doing our duty and keeping our Scout Promise. The feedback he received was overwhelmingly positive and reaffirmed his belief that Scouting attracts the best kind of people.
Scouts has a reputation for doing great things for our community and the amazing job we’ve done through the pandemic has been noted by the media and the Government. We’re doing our duty, together.