COVID-19 Update: COVID-19 Recovery Task Force

April 24, 2020

April 24, 2020, 2:50 p.m. -- email message to staff, faculty, and councils

As we close out another week of working remotely – physically distant yet socially connected – I’d like to share President Wintersteen’s message and reinforce this point: Thank you for taking care of yourself and each other so that we can all bring our best selves to the work of ISU Extension and Outreach.
In the coming days and weeks, Iowa will begin to reopen for business. While the ISU campus is closed to events through the end of May, ISU Extension and Outreach elsewhere across the state may begin to reopen as well. First and foremost, use caution to protect staff, volunteers, and participants, and follow advice of state and county public health officials. Physical distance, frequent handwashing and cleaning, only small groups, and other precautions still apply. Watch for more information in the days ahead.
When Iowa does reopen, ISU Extension and Outreach will be ready to assist. The COVID-19 Recovery Task Force met for the first time today and the members are beginning their work. I have asked the CRTF to identify Iowans’ recovery needs that we have the capacity to address. Iowans value our programming, but what are their near-term priorities – after weeks of home confinement and social distancing, closed businesses, loss of income, sharply lower commodity prices, and kids missing six weeks or more of school?
The charge to the CRTF is:

  • Define challenges facing Iowans and their communities that are within our capacity to address.
  • Identify four to six programs that ISU Extension and Outreach will be known for addressing.
  • Determine who should be involved to organize, prioritize, and plan program offerings.
  • Determine what training, marketing, and reporting resources are needed.
  • Deliver recommendations to the Leadership team.

 We do many things every day to engage, educate, and inform Iowans, but think of it this way. A year from now, what will we tell state and federal legislators that we did to help Iowans recover? Five years from now, what will Iowans tell state and federal legislators that we did and what was the impact? How will be remembered?


Back to Business is a new podcast series that covers relevant topics for businesses and individuals related to education, research, and technical assistance, with an immediate focus on COVID-19 relief. The podcasts are a collaboration of the Farm, Food and Enterprise Development Program, Community and Economic Development, and the Iowa Small Business Development Centers. You can find the podcast on our new FFED Podcasts page and on the Enterprise Development page (player at bottom of page).
Extension rural sociologist David Peters discusses the need and potential use for a county‐level COVID‐19 risk scale in a new publication, Rural Areas Face Higher and Distinct Risks of Serious COVID‐19 Outcomes than Urban Areas.
John D. Lawrence
Vice President for Extension and Outreach