COVID-19 Update: Town hall recording, county data and more

March 26, 2020

March 26, 2020, 4:36 p.m. -- email message to staff, faculty and councils

The recording of my March 25 Town Hall meeting is available at I am holding a similar Town Hall meeting in conjunction with the Iowa Extension Council Association Saturday morning for extension council members.

Planning for our virtual Annual Conference continues. All registered participants will receive an email on Monday, March 30, with final details and the link for the live conference. Please mark your calendars for April 1 from 8 a.m. to noon. If you had previously registered, there is nothing else you need to do.

County staff who are considering ISU benefits programs should review the new County Extension Benefits webpage for more information. There also will be an optional benefits webcast 1 p.m., April 1 at for interested county staff. If you have specific questions you would like answered during the webcast, email those questions to Mica Redenius,, by March 30.

Esri (Environmental Systems Research Institute) is providing charts and demographic data by county for impact planning for COVID-19. All counties in the U.S. are listed individually. Our Data Portal specialists use Esri and confirm that it is a reputable site. Andrea Nelson reviewed the site and notes that each county has a two-page report. You have to click on the small, blue, down arrow in the upper right corner to get to the second page.

I was on a call with other directors in the North Central region and Minnesota, Ohio and North Dakota commented that the local grocery stores in rural towns have seen a significant increase in business in response to COVID-19. People believe the stores are less crowded and that there is less mixing of people. The stores appreciate the business, but also are concerned about their employees and how to provide services such as personal shoppers and curbside pickup. I'm curious: What you are seeing?

President Wintersteen sent a letter this morning expressing her thanks to the faculty and staff for their heroic effort during hectic times. I would echo her praise on your efforts to protect our employees, volunteers and communities while continuing to provide education, information and service. Much like her reference to the campanile bells and spring blooms on central campus, ISU Extension and Outreach will survive, embedded in our communities across the state.  

John D. Lawrence
Vice President for Extension and Outreach