Rank Advancement and the Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Questions and Answers
The following questions regarding advancement have arisen as we deal with closures, cancellations, or other issues caused by the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Although there are difficulties and constraints, advancement can continue. Youth, parents, and leaders should work together to implement creative, common sense ways to facilitate advancement while adhering to the Guide to Safe Scouting and following the rules of Youth Protection training. Please follow this link to the Guide to Advancement (GTA), which remains the primary source for information related to Scouts BSA advancement. It is referenced throughout the answers provided here. Please send additional questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
All Scouting Programs
Scouting units should use ScoutBook to record and track advancement. To track advancement remotely, parents should:
1) Connect with their child’s member profile via an invitation that the unit leader sends within ScoutBook.
2) Once a connection is made, the parent should use the Scouting app, found in both the App Store and Google Play, to stay connected with their unit.
3) The Scouting app provides parents the ability to report any advancement that was completed at home.
Go to https://help.scoutbook.com to learn more about how to start using ScoutBook and how to connect parents to their Scouts.
Yes. Through July 31, 2020, parents and other adults in the Cub Scout’s family, may sign off on Webelos and Arrow of Light requirements. We strongly encourage that parents use the Scouting App or ScoutBook to record completion of their child’s requirements.
Yes. Cub Scouts can continue to work on their current den’s advancement through July 31, 2020. This is to provide any additional time a Cub Scout needs to complete their badge of rank; if they earn their badge of rank prior to July 31, 2020, they may advance to the next rank.
Scouts BSA, Venturing and Sea Scouts
No. All requirements must be completed as written. If meetings or activities are canceled or limited, youth should continue to work on requirements as far as possible. By employing common sense and creative solutions, many requirements–even Scoutmaster conferences–can be fulfilled through videoconferencing or telephone calls.
Yes, registered merit badge counselors or Nova counselors/Supernova mentors may work with youth using digital platforms, ensuring that all youth protection measures noted in the Guide to Safe Scouting and BSA’s social media guidelines are in place. In addition to youth protection, the advancement guidelines in GTA Section 7 are required.
Yes. If youth are registered and in good standing, a disruption from COVID-19 virus can be the “noteworthy circumstance” that prevents participation. This policy has been in place for many years and is explained in GTA Topic 220.127.116.11.
Yes. If youth are registered and unable to meet the expectations of their positions because of COVID-19 disruptions, then units may need to waive or rethink the expectations. Just as youth must not be held to unestablished expectations, they must not be held to expectations that are impossible to fulfill. See GTA Topic 18.104.22.168, “Positions of Responsibility,” with its six subtopics.
Yes, but only for the Eagle Scout rank as described in GTA Topic 22.214.171.124 or for Venturing Summit or Sea Scout Quartermaster as described in GTA Topic 126.96.36.199. Unit leadership must become familiar with the five tests under 188.8.131.52. The tests were designed to accommodate such obstacles as those presented by COVID-19 disruptions.
Extensions are considered only for Scouts who are Life rank. If, once a Scout achieves Life rank, it turns out that COVID-19 disruptions along the way have left them with insufficient time to complete Eagle requirements, then this may be cited when the time comes to submit an extension request.
Normally, that is not allowed. However, due to the current situation—effective immediately and through September 30, 2020—council Scout executives may grant extensions, or delegate authority to the Council Advancement Committee to grant extensions under the following limitations:
1. It can be established that COVID-19 disruptions were the only circumstances that delayed work on Eagle Scout/Summit/Quartermaster advancement requirements, such as the service project or merit badges. If any other causes were involved, the extension request must go to the National Council following the process outlined in the GTA.
2. Extensions shall only be granted to youth in Scouts BSA who have already achieved Life rank.
3. When the council receives a COVID-19-related request for a time extension, the council reviews the request and approves it if appropriate. A written response stating the outcome of the extension request must go to the youth. If approved, the notification must be attached to the youth’s Eagle/Summit/Quartermaster rank application. For Eagle, the extension must not exceed 3 months from the youth’s 18th birthday; for Summit/Quartermaster, the extension must not exceed 3 months from the youth’s 21st birthday.
4. Upon turning 18, the Scout must submit a completed adult application and successfully complete YPT; their participant code will now be UP for SBSA or VP for Venturing and Sea Scouting.
5. Extension requests for more than 3 months beyond the youth’s 18th/21st birthday must be sent to the National Service Center following the process outlined in the GTA.
Note: A “month” in BSA advancement is defined as a day from one month to the next. For example, March 5 to April 5.
The authority for councils to grant extensions is temporary, lasting only through Sept. 30, 2020.
Yes. Council Scout executives may grant extensions, or delegate authority to the Council Advancement Committee to grant extensions under the limitations listed above.
Youth should continue to work on advancement in so far as they are able—e.g., independently, or over the phone or videoconference—and at Scouting activities once they resume.
No. Councils may grant Eagle/Summit/Quartermaster boards of review up to six months after the youth’s 18th/21st birthday. See GTA Topic 184.108.40.206, “Eagle Scout Board of Review Beyond the 18th Birthday.” See also, GTA Topic 220.127.116.11, “Boards of Review Through Videoconferencing.”
Yes. Electronic or digital signatures will be accepted through September 30, 2020
Youth may take a picture of their completed activity/requirement and share the work with unit leaders. In keeping with Youth Protection Training policies, all communications from youth should be sent to at least two adults. Parents or guardians may send advancement work on behalf of their child.
Eagle Time Extension due to Covid-19
Through September 30, 2020; the Grand Canyon Council can approve Eagle Scout extensions of up to 3 months based upon the limitations listed above.
The process is as follows:
A request for extension must be made by the Scout,
Request for and justification for the extension needs to be sent to the following email addresses: email@example.com and copy Katherine.Coleman@scouting.org
All of the following must be included with the request:
1. The letter requesting the extension, by the Scout, the Scout’s parent or guardian, the unit leader, or a unit committee member. (Include the full Scout’s name as registered and unit number.)
2. Letters from others in the unit who know of the situation.
3. The latest advancement history report for the Scout from Scoutbook or Internet Advancement
We will review the request and, if needed, ask for more information. Our recommendation will go to the Scout Executive, Andy Price, who will make the final decision and provide a letter to the Scout and interested parties to be attached to the Eagle application. Allow two-weeks for processing.
Please note: upon turning 18, the Scout must submit a completed adult application and successfully complete YPT; their participant code will now be UP for ScoutsBSA or VP for Venturing and Sea Scouting.