COVID-19 Update for Extension and Outreach

May 1, 2020

May 1, 2020, 3:50 p.m. -- message to staff, faculty, and councils

This is my last message to you all for a while. Starting Monday, you’ll be receiving updates from Debra Sellers, who will be leading the day-to-day management of ISU Extension and Outreach as I chair the university’s Executive Committee for Fall Planning over the next several months.

I know that ISU Extension and Outreach is in good hands. Drs. Sellers and Higgins and the entire leadership team are passionate about our organization and are part of our shared leadership model. They also know where to reach me if they want my input, and vice versa.

The first week in my new role has been like drinking from a fire hose. I have a lot to learn and am fortunate to have great colleagues on the committee. As we develop the plan, we will call on working groups with expertise on particular issues to provide the best science- and evidence-based answers. We also will consider the interconnections across the system and the financial implications. Above all, the plan will be guided by the primary imperatives of protecting the health and well-being of students, faculty, and staff while continuing the fundamental core missions of the university as a premier land-grant institution. (That sounds like what we do in ISU Extension and Outreach. Also, my cat herding experience will come in handy.)

You’re invited to join President Wintersteen and senior leaders for the second virtual town hall, 2-3 p.m., Monday, May 4. You’ll get an update on the university's response to the COVID-19 pandemic and future planning. The town hall also will be recorded and posted on the campus safety page within a day or two for later viewing.

Governor Reynolds’ announcement that some businesses could reopen today did not include specific guidance for public universities. As Iowa State’s senior leaders and emergency operations team consider next steps, just keep doing what you’ve been doing to serve Iowans when physically distant but socially connected. In addition, please review my April 29 message about guidance for reopening ISU Extension and Outreach county offices. We must be patient and prepare before reopening ISU Extension and Outreach to more face-to-face interaction.

Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship has formed a Resource Coordination Center to support Iowa livestock producers affected by the COVID-19 supply chain disruptions. IDALS is collaborating with public and private partners to operate the RCC, including the Iowa Pork Producers Association, the Iowa Pork Industry Center, and ISU Extension and Outreach. Through the RCC, livestock industry experts, state agencies, and technical specialists will help producers explore every option to harvest livestock and meet the protein needs of Iowans. The RCC also will connect producers with technical resources as they work through difficult and emotional decisions, including animal welfare euthanasia and disposal.

Nancy Paris is retiring May 7. All of us in extension administration will miss her, but we wish her well in her next adventure. Nancy has been with Iowa State since 2002 and with ISU Extension and Outreach since 2012. Given the university closures, we can’t have a reception for her. However, you can send cards for Nancy to 2150 Beardshear, 515 Morrill Road, Ames, IA 50011.

One more note: Thank you for your continuing efforts to educate and engage Iowans as we look forward to helping our state reopen and recover. However, to serve Iowans to the best of your ability, you must take care of yourself. Take time to step away from work and enjoy the weekend.

John D. Lawrence
Vice President for Extension and Outreach