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.
Plans 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
- Waiver recommendations and instructions added under Considerations for Leaders, Supervisors, and Extension Councils, July 6.
- CIRAS COVID-19: Protecting Your Business, July 6, 2020 - includes a sample "Return to Office Plan" based on the modified White House Opening America Criteria. Added under Consideration for Leaders, Supervisors, and Extension Councils.
- Infection Control Policy Resources, July 6 - optional policy templates for extension councils from Whitfield & Eddy.
- Face Covering Training and Guidance, June 30 - updated CDC guidance in reference to face shields.
- Collecting Contact Information Training and Guidance, June 30 - updated special considerations for people on campus.
- Staff Friendly Office Return, June 30 - updated CDC links to people who are at higher risk including a BMI of 30 or higher.
- Iowa 4-H Youth Development Summer Best Practices - June 29, 2020
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.
- Supervisor Expectations
- Supervisor Workspace Plan
- Guide for Returning to the Workplace
- Guidance for Events at ISU - Use this document to guide your conversations and planning process for any extension meeting or event. Registration of off-campus events in the University Event Authorization System is not required. Collect contact information of all people, including staff, that visit the office. June 4, 2020
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
- Message from the Office of the Vice President Friday, May 15 – Before offices are opened and in-person education can be provided, reopening plans are necessary.
- CDC Workplace Decision Tree – Use this tool to determine when and if you are ready to reopen.
- Iowa Department of Health – COVID-19 Reopening Guidance, May 13 - Please consult your local public health agency, the appropriate regulating entity or professional association with questions about how to implement this guidance. In addition to following all directives of the Governor as outlined in proclamations, entities considering reopening are strongly encouraged to adhere to the following public health guidance [found in this guide].
Considerations for staff returning to work
Plan for a return to the office that considers the needs of all employees.
- Iowa 4-H Youth Development Summer Best Practices - as of June 29, 2020 - program specific expectations and recommendations for summer 2020 programming. See also Center for Disease Control Guidelines on Livestock Shows, June 24, 2020
- ISU Research and Demonstration Farms COVID-19 Protocols - see bottom of page for June 10 document in response to recent inquiries about field days and open houses at ISU Research Farms during the COVID pandemic. June 16, 2020
- COVID-19 Resources for Communities, Businesses, Local Governments, and Nonprofits
- Finding Answers Now - Resources to help you cope with concerns about healthy eating, relationships, mental health and wellbeing, personal finance, food safety, and nutrition and wellness.
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.
- CDC: How COVID-19 Spreads - update June 16, 2020. CDC - Symptoms of Coronavirus
- Screening for COVID-19 Training and Guidance, June, 16 2020. If you are experiencing any symptoms potentially related to COVID-19, do not report to work.
- Post “Not Feeling Well?” signs asking the public to stop and not enter if they are sick –MyExtension (staff link only).
- CDC - Social Distancing, Keep Your Distance to Slow the Spread
- Use safe distance markers – chair or table signs and round vinyl decal for use on carpet and hardwood floors – MyExtension (staff link only).
- Post “Your Safety is Important to Us” editable sign – MyExtension (staff link only); personalize with your office’s specific safety precautions.
- County staff, council members, and volunteers and participants are strongly encouraged to follow the guidance for physical distancing on pg. 7 and 8 of the ISU Guide for Returning to the Workplace.
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
- CDC Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting – Develop your plan, implement your plan, and maintain and revise your plan. Reducing the risk of exposure to COVID-19 by cleaning and disinfecting is an important part in public spaces and requires careful planning.
- EPA Approved Disinfectants against COVID-19
- CDC's Reopening Guidelines for Cleaning and Disinfecting - includes directions when an EPA approved disinfectant is not avaiable.
- Available now from Extension Store COVID-19:
- Gallon jugs of liquid hand sanitizer. June 4, 2020
- Disposable face coverings. June 10, 2020
- Cloth face coverings. June 30, 2020
- EPA approved - Shurguard Disinfectant Spray, June 18, 2020
- Handwashing PDF downloads
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.
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
- 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