COVID-19 FAQ Regarding Advancement:
Q: How can advancement be tracked remotely?
Scouting units should use Scoutbook to record and track advancement.
To track advancement remotely, parents should:
- Connect with their child’s member profile via an invitation that the unit leader sends within Scoutbook. You may also connect to your youth via the Scouting app “Add a Parent connection.”
- Once a connection is made, the parent should use the Scouting app, found in both the App Store and on Google Play, to stay connected with their unit.
- The Scouting app provides parents the ability to report any advancement that was completed at home.
Learn more about how to start using Scoutbook and how to connect parents to their Scouts at Scoutbook.com.
Advancement — Cub Scouts
Q: May parents sign off on Webelos and Arrow of Light requirements?
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.
Q: If my den is behind in advancement due to COVID-19, can my Cub Scout continue to work on advancement through the summer?
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.
Advancement — Scouts BSA, Venturing and Sea Scouts
Q: May merit badge requirements or rank requirements be modified?
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.
Q: Can merit badge counseling or Nova/Supernova counseling be done using digital technologies like Zoom or WebEx?
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 Guide to Advancement (GTA) Section 7 are required.
Q: May time missed due to canceled unit meetings count toward active participation requirements?
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 126.96.36.199.
Q: May time missed due to canceled unit meetings count toward position of responsibility requirements?
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 188.8.131.52, “Positions of Responsibility,” with its six subtopics.
Q: Does the National Council grant extensions of time to complete rank requirements beyond the 18thbirthday for the Eagle or 21st birthday for Summit or Quartermaster?
Yes, but only for the Eagle Scout rank as described in GTA Topic 184.108.40.206 or for Venturing Summit or Sea Scout Quartermaster as described in GTA Topic 220.127.116.11. Unit leadership must become familiar with the five tests under 18.104.22.168. The tests were designed to accommodate such obstacles as those presented by COVID-19 disruptions.
Q: Will youth who are not yet Life Scouts be allowed to apply for an extension to earn the Eagle Scout rank?
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.
Q: May local councils grant extensions?
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:
- 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.
- Extensions shall only be granted to youth in Scouts BSA who have already achieved Life rank.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
Q: If youth have already received an extension, can they request additional time due to COVID-19?
Yes. Council Scout executives may grant extensions, or delegate authority to the Council Advancement Committee to grant extensions under the limitations listed above.
Q: What should be done while an extension request is being considered?
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.
Q: Are extensions required when an Eagle/Summit/Quartermaster board of review must be delayed?
No. Councils may grant Eagle/Summit/Quartermaster boards of review up to six months after the youth’s 18th/21st birthday. See GTA Topic 22.214.171.124, “Eagle Scout Board of Review Beyond the 18th Birthday.”
Q: Are electronic or digital signatures acceptable for rank advancement or for the Eagle/Summit/Quartermaster packets/applications?
Yes. Electronic or digital signatures will be accepted through September 30, 2020.
Q: How can a youth continue to work on advancement requirements if they don’t have internet or high-speed internet for videoconferencing?
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.
Use Internet Advancement to
- Add ranks, merit badges, and awards and update information on existing advancements (except the Eagle Scout rank).
- Submit advancement for unit youth members online
- Print a unit roster
If you have new Scouts that do not show up in internet advancement, you will need to reload your roster. To do so, you will need to submit advancement to the council that you may have on hold or click on the "start over" button at the top, right side of the screen.
To use Internet Advancement:
1. Select the unit advancement processor.
2. Obtain a unit ID code from the council. - 336-760-2900
3. Gather information for advancement, including merit badge applications and advancement records with dates.
4. Click Internet Advancement on this page. Follow the instructions in Internet Advancement to process advancements and print an advancement report.
5. Have the appropriate people sign the printed unit advancement report and submit it to the council. Save a copy for your files.
As BSA policies for rank entry are enforced, what units enter will meet these requirements:
- Units should submit reports monthly, before the end of each month, as needed. Units must submit anything not yet reported before December 31 each year.
- Internet Advancement accepts advancement upload files from unit-management software. If you have a Scout earning advancement that is not listed on your roster in ScoutNet, that Scout needs to be registered. Please turn in an application for the Scout and a separate advancement form that lists his advancement(s). Changes and updates are not officially recorded until the paperwork is submitted to the Council Office.
- It is still required that advancement reports are turned into the Council Office or the Scout Shop. The Scout Shop requires an advancement report to be handed in before purchasing badges and ranks.