Auburn University, Ala. – The Alabama Cooperative Extension System has temporarily closed its county and state offices in response to coronavirus control protocols from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. During this time, Extension follows guidance from Auburn and Alabama A&M universities, the two parent universities of the agency.
“In light of recent developments surrounding the spread of COVID-19, it has become clear that the world is facing an unprecedented health event,” said Gary Lemme, director of Alabama Extension. “The Alabama Cooperative Extension System is working to continue providing the unbiased information you expect during these challenging times.”
Extension Going Digital
To meet the needs of Alabama residents, while also expressing concern for public safety, Alabama Extension offices will close from March 17 to April 10. However, Lemme said Extension professionals will continue to be accessible to and working for the public.
“Social distancing is an important tool to control this outbreak,” Lemme said. “Our staff are working from home, and we have temporarily halted face-to-face meetings. Advance planning has allowed Extension agents to continue offering information by web, social media, e-mail and phone.”
Allen Malone, Extension 1890 director at Alabama A&M University, said Extension meetings will only be held by digital delivery methods.
“All Extension meetings are cancelled or postponed,” Malone said. “We are only hosting online meetings to reduce the risk of exposure. Contact your Extension agent if you are requesting a farm or home consultation.”
At this time, there is no link between cases of COVID-19 and Alabama Extension offices or activities.
Alabama Extension offers resources for families and businesses to protect themselves from COVID-19. There are also resources on recovering from a virus exposure.
“Please go to the Alabama Extension website, www.aces.edu, or www.AlabamaReady.info for the latest information, informative articles and videos,” Lemme said. “Contact information for individual agents, specialists and regional agents is available in the Directory section of the Extension website.”
Alabama Extension will release additional information daily to media outlets, the Extension website and over social media. Also, with schools closing, Alabama 4-H will conduct video activities around popular 4-H projects to keep youth active. The activities are available to all youth not just 4-H members.
“In spite of the current challenges with coronavirus, Extension is here to help you,” Lemme said. “We are working to find ways to serve your needs and we appreciate your patience.”