During the past two years, OSU Extension professionals have demonstrated that we know how to implement COVID-19 precautions while maintaining our educational mission and providing our communities with exceptional customer service.
Each Extension office (county or state-level) should continue to follow local health guidelines (i.e. mask requirements, physical distancing, school/business closures, or remote work conditions). As has been the case throughout the pandemic, there will be different precautions implemented across the state between counties, Ohio State campus offices, and other entities; and that may also vary from procedures at the Columbus and regional campuses. This is about ongoing employee and audience comfort and safety based on local circumstances.
As shared by Ohio State President Johnson earlier this week, the university is prioritizing in-person teaching and learning on the Columbus and regional campuses. At those locations, when possible, other in-person events, gatherings or meetings should be transitioned to virtual formats. No timeframe was given, but President Johnson said the university will closely monitor the situation and provide updates as needed. It was also stated for campus locations, that food and drinks should not be served at any in-person event, gathering or meeting and masking should be strictly enforced.
At the county level, if you are planning programs, the following are reminders:
- You CAN postpone, reschedule, or move your meeting/event to virtual, depending on your local circumstances.
- You CAN require participants to wear masks.
- You CAN set up the meeting space for optimal physical distancing and what you intend to accomplish with each meeting.
- You CAN decide not to serve food or beverages at any event or meeting.
- You CAN ask potential participants not to attend if they have been exposed to COVID-19 or have symptoms themselves.
- You MUST keep a record of all attendees.
As a reminder, best practices for in-person programming during COVID-19 have been summarized and can be reviewed here.
- When planning local office staffing and public-facing availability, consider the following:
- Work as a unit to provide the best flexibility to maintain our service to Ohioans and protect one another, in conjunction with your supervisor.
- Work as a team if you need to change your current county office staffing plan and/or adjust the hours you are open to the public.
- If this means your local office needs to close (or require appointments), work with your supervisor to determine next steps and communication to stakeholders.
We will continue to monitor the situation, adjust Extension expectations accordingly, and provide updates. As always, you should also refer to the Safe and Healthy Buckeyes webpage at safeandhealthy.osu.edu. Thank you for your continued effort to address this ever-changing situation, consider local needs, and do your part to keep one another safe. You are much appreciated!