COVID-19 Update: New MyExtension homepage and other resources

March 25, 2020

March 25, 2020, 5:11 p.m. -- email message to staff, faculty and councils

Thank you to all who joined the Town Hall meeting at 11:00 this morning. We had over 360 people logged in. It was recorded and the link will be available soon. I was pleased to see that most people who are working remotely were having good internet connections. I was particularly proud of the attitude of our family. While many said the recent changes have had little effect on their work, the majority reported that is not ideal, but they are making it work, thanks to innovation, flexibility and grit.

Questions and comments from the Town Hall

How long will we work remotely? I do not have a crystal ball and I have not heard rumors, but we will follow guidance from the Governor and public health officials. I am watching the mid-April date when schools are scheduled to resume. After that, I would watch the May 9 date for ISU meetings to resume.

If you have ideas to share with your colleagues across the state about how you have been adjusting programming, managing the office remotely or rotating, or supporting your community, please put them in the Virtual Suggestion Box. We will review and share them back with everyone.

Eugenia reminded counties to let community police know that students may be in your parking lot after hours and encourage the students to have their college ID with them, just in case.

Today President Wintersteen sent a survey to ISU employees regarding their well-being and what the university can do to improve communications and support for faculty and staff. I will be doing something similar for county staff in the coming days. ISU staff should complete the President’s survey before the Friday deadline. Watch for more details on the second survey.

Resources from colleagues

Thanks to Keri Jacobs, extension economist, for recommending the following information about the impact of COVID-19 on the rural economy. As we contemplate how COVID-19 is likely to shape our rural economies and agricultural markets in the coming quarter and beyond, it is useful to think about the preceding macro forces. In this video, Dan Kowalski, vice president of CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange, highlights the drivers and consequences that agriculture and ultimately our rural economies are likely to experience. He discusses how agriculture will be somewhat shielded — but not immune — from the extreme volatility, as transportation and labor are areas of concern.

Professional Development opportunity

National Action Dialogue - Community Based Programming in the Digital Networked COVID-19 Age is March 26 and April 1, 3-4:30 p.m. (EDT) Register online. The purpose of this National Action Dialogue is to position our universities to rapidly respond to community based programming in the digital networked COVID-19 age by delving in, capturing collective wisdom, inspiring innovative thinking, and focusing on new opportunities, partnerships, solutions, tangible actions and collaborations on issues for farms, families, businesses, and communities that will exist long beyond this public health crisis. This is open to all Cooperative Extension professionals.

Survey from the Iowa Disaster Human Resource Council

I spoke with the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management to make sure they were aware of ISU Extension and Outreach. They ask that each county extension office please complete this survey from the Iowa Disaster Human Resource Council. The survey is gathering information from many resources about community needs, offerings and providers. The information will be summarized and shared back with communities. A second way you may be able to assist your community is through the Volunteer Iowa Get Connected portal. We know a lot about working with volunteers. If there is a need in your community, you may be able to help with finding people. I know it is a difficult balancing act to first and foremost stay safe and protect vulnerable populations and still help our communities. However, I believe it is better to know the needs and chose if or how to help than to not know.

New homepage for MyExtension

MyExtension has a new look. Today we're launching a new homepage in MyExtension where you will find what you need to know about issues affecting our organization. This is in response to a recommendation from the Internal Communications Task Force.

John D. Lawrence
Vice President for Extension and Outreach

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