Open for Iowa

The content on this page will be updated as new information is released. Please check back often.

ISU Extension and Outreach recognizes that counties across the state are dealing with a range of situations regarding safe conditions for reopening. The timing of safe reopening of offices and returning employees to their normal work location are decisions best made at the county level in accordance with the most current federal, state, local, and university COVID-19 guidelines.

Woodbury County office entry using Open for Iowa guidancePlans are necessary before offices are opened or in-person education is provided.

All guidance is meant to aid staff and council members as they engage in decision-making and training at the local level.

Governor Reynolds' June 25 proclamation continues the Public Health Disaster Emergency and is in effect until 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, July 25. The proclamation allows mass gatherings such as social, community, recreational, leisure, or sporting gathering or event, of more than ten people, but only if the gathering complies with all other relevant provisions in this Proclamation.The proclamation extends the public health mitigation measures that are currently in place that ensure social distancing, increased hygiene practices, and other public health measures to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 consistent with guidance issued by the Iowa Department of Public Health. And it extends many of the regulatory relief measures previously implemented.  

County Offices Reopening Letter - Dr. John Lawrence, Vice President for Extension and Outreach, June 22, 2020
Second Monday Live, June 8 -- update on Structured for Success and Open for Iowa
Second Monday Live, Open for Iowa - Q & A, June 8

Send comments and suggestions to the Virtual Suggestion Box

Guidance By Topic

Recent Updates

Iowa State University COVID-19 Guidance for Reopening

Iowa State University President Wendy Wintersteen recently announced a phased approach to increase operations this summer in preparation for fall. Many aspects of these plans can be adapted for ISU Extension and Outreach.

Considerations for Leaders, Supervisors and Extension Councils


Open for Iowa does not recommend the use of waivers for events or programming. However, if counties choose to use waivers,  LMC Insurance has provided waiver templates for your use. Contact your regional director for more information.

Extension Councils - Infection Control Policies, Whitfield & Eddy

Infection Control Policy Resources, July 6, 2020 - optional policy templates for extension councils from legal representative, Whitfield & Eddy. Contact your regional director for more information. 

Regarding when to open and close offices

CIRAS COVID-19: Protecting Your Business, July 6, 2020 - See resources under "Return to Work", which includes includes a sample "Return to Office Plan" based on the modified White House Opening America Criteria and will continue to be updated by the Center for Industrial Research and Service (CIRAS).  The White House Opening America Criteria was used to create/update a phased plan that is data-driven, along with developing a relationship with county emergency management and public health officials, to help navigate when to open and close an office. 

Considerations before reopening

Considerations for staff returning to work

Plan for a return to the office that considers the needs of all employees.

Program Areas and ISU Research Farms Guidance

County Services Insurance Update #4, June 16, 2020. No prepared food can be served, sold or provided by staff, volunteers or participants at any county extension hosted program or activity regardless of the program or activity location.  

Screening for COVID-19 – Staff and Public
Social/Physical Distance Guidance
Face Coverings

CDC - Use Cloth Face Coverings to Help Slow the Spread
Face Covering Training and Guidance June 30,2020 -  for ISU Extension and Outreach

  • ISU employees
    Beginning July 1, face coverings and/or face shields will be required on the ISU campus classrooms, offices, and other areas where physical distancing is not possible. This is an adjustment from the original face covering policy. This requirement applies to Iowa State University Extension and Outreach staff working in a professional capacity when physical distance cannot be maintained on campus
  • Off-campus, all faculty and staff who are able are expected to wear a cloth face covering or face shield when in the presence of others where other mitigation strategies are not available or are difficult to maintain (e.g., physical distancing). This expectation applies at all times that Iowa State University Extension and Outreach staff member is working in a professional capacity and regardless of venue (e.g., in a county office, providing a program in an outside venue, etc.).
  • ISU Extension and Outreach county employee, council members, and volunteers: 
    We strongly encourage county staff, volunteers, and council members follow state staff expectations. Wear a cloth face covering or face shield at any time you are in the presence of others and unable to maintain a six-foot physical distance.

Available from the Extension Store COVID-19 

Cleaning/Sanitation Procedures and Resources

NOTE:  If you are planning and delivering a program, part of the plan should include cleaning before and after the program. It is all of our responsibility to clean and sanitize our workplace. County offices should provide the necessary cleaning supplies for activities hosted in their offices. 

Collecting Contact Information

COVID-19 Contact Information Training and Guidance June 30, 2020  Maintain rosters for events, however, collecting contact information at large gatherings is likely not feasible. Collecting contact information will help public health officials notify those who may have been exposed to someone infected with COVID-19. 

  • Use the Excel spreadsheet on MyExtension (staff link only) to keep a list of every single person who goes through the office every single day, not just members of the public, but staff, council members, and volunteers. June 5, 2020.  
  • Use door and table signs on MyExtension (staff link only) to let clients know we're helping stop the spread of COVID-19 by collecting contact information. June 5, 2020
Vulnerable Population Considerations for Staff and Public
  • Refer to Governor Reynolds June 25  proclamation, which states, "I continue to strongly encourage all vulnerable Iowans, including those with preexisting medical conditions and those older than 65, in all counties of the state to continue to limit their activities outside of their home, including their visits to businesses and other establishments and their participation in gatherings of any size and any purpose. And I encourage all Iowans to limit their in-person interactions with vulnerable Iowans and to exercise particular care and caution when engaging in any necessary interactions."
  • Understanding Ageism and COVID-19, The Gerontological Society of America
  • CDC - People Who are at Increased Risk
Open for Iowa Committee and Charge