As we continue to monitor COVID-19 in Florida, I wanted to take a moment to update our UF/IFAS Extension community about our current status, best practices and next steps. The personal health and safety of everyone in the UF/IFAS Extension community is my first concern. Therefore, we’re taking every measure to protect your safety while assuring that UF/IFAS Extension continues to serve the people of Florida through this situation.
Know that we have not experienced anything like this in most of our lifetimes. This is a very contagious, serious and potentially deadly virus. We all must do what we can to minimize gatherings of people to lessen the spread of this virus.
In-Person Gatherings, Out-of-State Travel Suspended
All UF/IFAS in-person events and gatherings scheduled through the end of April 2020 should be postponed. This extends to UF/IFAS Extension volunteer meetings, workshops, demos, conferences and events such as field days and open houses. No business-related out-of-state travel is permitted for volunteers, faculty or staff. However, I recommend that we all refrain from unnecessary travel at this time. All county Extension offices should stay in close communication with their county leadership.
Extension Facilities Remain Operational
Until otherwise notified, UF/IFAS Extension offices will remain open and fully operational.
Alternative Program Delivery
Our community is nothing if not innovative. We see this as an opportunity to make use of alternative delivery of information and education, i.e. through online learning, Zoom meetings, conference calls, electronic delivery of information, etc.
Taking Care of Yourself and the Community
Follow good hygiene practices to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and stress their importance to co-workers, family and clients. Wash and sanitize your hands frequently, avoid touching your face and cough or sneeze into your elbow, not your hand. Stay at home if you feel unwell—even if you have mild symptoms such as a headache and slight runny nose.
To keep up with the status of COVID-19 response through UF/IFAS Extension, we have posted and will continue to update pages on our website in coordination with UF and health authorities. Updates are available on the Extension Administration website and on the main UF/IFAS website (https://ifas.ufl.edu/covid19-updates/). Below are some additional resources:
- UF COVID-19 Home: Updates from the University of Florida and answers to frequently asked questions for students, faculty, staff and larger UF community.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Florida Department of Health: News and updates about COVID-19 in Florida
- Angie Lindsey, our Florida EDEN point of contact, has been sharing very good information and updates on the Florida EDEN website.
We are entering into uncharted waters with COVID-19, but I have no doubt that if we follow precautions and stay in close communication with county and UF/IFAS leadership, we will continue to draw on our innovation and can-do spirit to serve our communities with practical solutions based on applied science.
Stay Safe and Stay Tuned!
For all of our UF/IFAS Extension faculty and staff, there will be an Extension Connections session Monday, March 16 at 11 am, where we will be discussing the latest updates about COVID-19. Please join via Zoom at https://ufl.zoom.us/j/731596904.