This communication is to clarify the current situation and how Extension personnel should adapt programming accordingly. Bear in mind, the situation and recommendations around the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) are rapidly evolving, and this protocol may change.
Until further notice, please adhere to these guidelines regarding all Extension (Campus and County) activities and programming:
- ALL in-person Extension activities scheduled for the next 60 days should be canceled or postponed unless they can be done online. I recommend not rescheduling events until further guidance is received.
- I am stopping short of outright canceling everything. Your county or program may have an unusual need or you may be required to participate in activities mandated by your county (ex. food programs to ensure school children who are home are fed). I don’t want to slow progress by requiring approvals of case-by-case exceptions. If you have any questions, please ask us.
- It is doubtful that there will be any field days this summer using traditional formats. The small grains team, for example, already videoed a small grain field day to allow virtual training.
- We should be focusing on addressing the needs of our customers remotely (email, text, FaceTime, Zoom, etc.), including farmers, whenever possible. View NC State web conferencing services.
- We are still allowing farmer/customer visits, with sufficient social distancing. Please just be cognizant of our rural population’s health.
- Limit any allowed travel to only when absolutely necessary and within university guidelines.
- NC State has restricted all university-related travel outside of the state, as well as all university-related in-state travel to attend events or gatherings of more than 100 people.
- For on- and off-campus specialists, follow the guidance by the research office regarding work being done on Campus, Research Stations, and Field Labs.
- We will provide further guidance once we have it that will pertain to on-farm research and demonstration
- For information on employee policies and resources during the COVID-19 pandemic, please refer to https://hr.ncsu.edu/pandemic-and-communicable-disease/
If your county government has implemented even more restrictive requirements, that’s fine, you should adhere to those. Ultimately, the more restrictive requirement, whether it’s our university guidance or local government policies, should be followed.
This message and all COVID-19-related announcements from NC State Extension and CALS administration are available on the Extension intranet. Stay up to date with university-wide announcements and a growing list of resources at www.ncsu.edu/coronavirus.
Please understand that we still need to provide information, assistance, and education to our customers, the people of North Carolina. On the Academic side, NC State is not walking away from its need to educate students. For example, classes will start back Monday, March 23, but be totally online. Our directive is no less clear. Canceling events does not mean canceling Extension. Please keep that in mind. Our work must continue and the needs of our farmers, our youth, and the public at large will certainly not diminish. Let’s work to make sure our impact is not diminished.
Thank you all for being a part of this effort,
Richard Bonanno, Ph.D.
Director of NC State Extension
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
North Carolina State University