OSU Extension issues updates amid outbreak


Staff Report



GALLIA COUNTY — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine recently issued a state of emergency for the state of Ohio, and along with the Ohio Department of Health, has implemented a variety of strategies to reduce the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). To do its part in reducing risk to Ohio State University Extension employees or clientele, the OSU Extension Offices have implemented a teleworking plan effective immediately, and all offices will be closed to the public until further notice.

This mirrors the Ohio State University’s decision earlier this week to close university buildings and facilities on all of its campuses to “critical services” only (such as law enforcement and public safety; hospitals and health services; facility utilities; and a few others).

While physical offices will be closed, they report they will continue to conduct work as fully as possible. Employees are prepared to telework and are ready to serve their local clients and communities. In recent years, OSU Extension has invested in the technology needed to facilitate effective teleworking for our organization; and will utilize its resources during this challenging situation to remain engaged with Ohioans. Clients, stakeholders, and other community members should continue to connect with any OSU Extension staff member via phone or email as usual.

Reopening of any county office facilities will depend on decisions from the governor and the state of Ohio, as well as the Ohio State University. The exact date when normal operations are expected resume in county Extension offices is unknown at this time. Until then, OSU Extension office staff will be working remotely and will remain accessible and available via email and phone.

Each OSU Extension office has developed a business continuity plan that outlines how staff will operate during situations such as the coronavirus outbreak. All staff will continue to work and serve local clientele through normal office hours (as previously determined by each county), and they will remain accountable for program management needs.

Note that most extension-planned activities from now through April 20 are now postponed, scheduled to be held virtually, or cancelled. If you have not already been contacted about an event or activity in which you were scheduled to participate and you have a question, check with your local contact for that event.

If you have questions, contact your local OSU Extension office. For general 4-H related questions call Tracy Winters at (740) 794-6004 or email at winters.5@osu.edu. For 4-H enrollment questions call Tiffany Riehm at (740) 794-6003 or email at Riehm.11@osu.edu. For general questions or 4-H enrollment question call Gail Green at (740) 794-6001 or email at green.84@osu.edu. For Agricultural or Natural Resource related questions call Jeff Moore at (740) 794-6002 or email moore.3036@osu.edu. For all SNAP ED questions call Tina Elkins at (740) 794-6000 or email at Elkins.125@osu.edu

You can also visit extension.osu.edu/lao for office phone numbers and a direct link to each office’s website and staff directory. If you reach voice mail, leave a message with your name and contact information, and you will be contacted as soon as possible.

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Staff Report