While some businesses and organizations in the state are starting to reopen as of early May, the guidelines for reopening offices via the governor’s office require personnel to work from home when possible.
With the exception of essential facilities workers, Ohio State University Extension will continue operating via its teleworking plan for all employees. It will keep physical OSU Extension offices closed to the public until further notice.
Dr. Amy Acton, Ohio Department of Health director, recently extended the Stay Safe Ohio order through May 29.
The physical Extension office in each county will remain closed through July 6, unless a decision is made by OSU to return sooner.
Programs intended to be held face to face have been adjusted to a virtual format, and personnel can still be contacted by phone or email.
“While we are considering the guidance from the governor’s office and are paying attention to how our local community leaders are planning for reopening businesses, we are following the university’s lead on the transition planning process, and are still intending to telework for the near future while ensuring we are meeting the needs of our clientele and community partners,” says Jackie Kirby Wilkins, OSU Extension interim director.
“We are looking at a phased transition over time, and we have a transition team in place to ensure we have a comprehensive plan for the safe return of our employees and clientele,” she adds.
OSU, OSUE in-person events called off through July 6
Per a previous OSU decision, all university in-person events are still canceled through July 6, and Extension activities planned through July 6 will continue to be held virtually or canceled. OSU will continue to evaluate and update plans based on evolving conditions with COVID-19.
OSU Extension’s recent investment in the technology needed to facilitate effective teleworking for the organization has helped Extension staff remain in continual contact with Ohioans. “Our clients, stakeholders and other community members should continue to connect with any OSU Extension staff member via phone or email,” Wilkins says.
“Thank you to everyone for your cooperation and collaboration related to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Like Ohio State, OSU Extension remains committed to the health and well-being of our community and serving our communities in each county as this situation evolves. These are unprecedented times, and we sincerely appreciate your flexibility and support,” Wilkins adds.