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Extension Operations

Ohio State University Extension


Phase 1 Return to Office: Expanded Essential Research and Extension Activities Process

Later this week, I will be sending out, by way of your area leaders, materials for planning the initial expansion of essential research and Extension activities. The kit will include planning materials for determining essential return-to-office needs BY COUNTY to allow for individualized approaches to the initial phase of our return to offices. The majority of employees will remain in telework environments right now, at least most days of the week. This planning is intended to identify the key essential activities and duties that will require some office coverage for June and July. Each county is different, with commissioners and businesses handling county buildings and definitions of “open to the public” in different ways. Some county buildings are not opening because the county commissioners have kept them closed. Others may be able to offer abbreviated hours open to the public or by appointment-only options. The county-by-county planning will allow for each office to review specific increasingly critical activities (e.g., fair preparation, mandated court programs, etc.) that are essential in their county during the next 8-12 weeks, while considering the context of their county situations. The goal is to be responsive to the public, while making sure that we are thoughtful about our safety and the safety of our clientele. The Phase 1 Return-to-Office Planning Kits will include information and expectations on the following (and more): 

Considerations for essential and time-sensitive office functions are phased in first: 

  • Telework remains in place for most employees, most days of the week through July 6 
  • What is immediately needed for being responsive to county re-openings? 
  • What key activities are critical for June and July (and still allowable under Stay Safe orders)? 
  • Which individuals are likely to run out of work while teleworking? 
  • What about differences in readiness to return to the Extension offices? 

Life/Work considerations: 

  • Children at home without access to childcare or school 
  • Caring for parents and other loved ones 
  • Immunological or other health concerns 
  • Other… 

Personal protection equipment (PPE): 

  • Each office will need to address PPE requirements 

Timeline and Process: Phase 1 Return to Office:

  • May 21 & 22 – Phase 1 Return-to-Office kits will be provided to area leaders later this week with instructions for distribution to counties. 
  • Week of May 25 to June 5 – Area leaders will set up meetings with staff in each county after Memorial Day to begin planning the county approach to office coverage.
  • Weeks of June 8 to June 30 – The Phase 1 Return-to-Office plans should be submitted to me (wilkins.201) on the forms provided in the kit. After I review them, I will forward them to the college COVID-19 Operations team for review each Friday, with feedback for approval or needed revisions provided the following Monday.
  • More details regarding the process and instructions for completing the plans will be included in the kits.

NOTE: Regular Essential Research and Extension Activities (not related to reopening offices) still follow the ongoing, existing original submission process.