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County Health Protocols, Governor’s Orders Guide Reopening of UW Extension Offices

June 1, 2020

University of Wyoming Extension offices will begin opening on a county-by-county basis as restrictions ease and individual county health protocols are followed, in addition to the governor’s direction in determining when and how services are offered.

UW Extension offices are often housed in county facilities as part of Extension’s cooperative agreement with Wyoming counties.

“We are relying on county health officials, local emergency management coordinators and county commissioners to determine how and when we resume face-to-face interactions with community members,” says Kelly Crane, UW Extension director. “These individuals have the technical expertise, local data and community information, which is requisite to determining the appropriate actions relative to COVID-19.”

In-person extension events, including the UW 4-H program and Cent$ible Nutrition Program (CNP) activities and classes, have been suspended or offered online since March, and many county offices have been closed to the public.

UW Extension has been providing a wide variety of online educational programs, activities and even livestock judging contests for youths and adults in Wyoming communities.

“As face-to-face services resume, our educators will adhere to local orders regarding group size, social distancing and recommendations associated with personal protective equipment,” Crane says. “People attending in-person events (including 4-H club meetings) or coming to our offices need to follow local guidance on appropriate personal protective equipment and other relevant health department guidance.”

Volunteers who work with 4-H and Extension’s Master Gardener programs are expected to follow county protocols when participating in extension activities.

4-H opportunities, including club meetings, also will resume county by county and follow the county’s and governor’s recommendations, says Johnathan Despain, Wyoming 4-H Program director.

“Everyone needs to be aware of county limitations and know that 4-H experiences will be different for members based on where they live, applicable health restrictions and subsequent opportunities,” Despain says.

CNP classes will continue online in the coming weeks as preparations are made to offer in-person classes later in the summer, says Mindy Meuli, CNP director.

“A main part of our in-person programming is learning how to prepare and cook foods,” Meuli says. “Until we can do that safely together, CNP will continue online delivery, supplemented with food preparation and recipe videos through our social media and website.”

Crane advises people to contact their county offices to determine if they are open and for local information. County office contact information is available at www.uwyo.edu/uwe/county.

To view Wyoming COVID-19 orders and guidance, click here.

“We appreciate the public’s patience as Extension continues to provide educational services in accordance with local health department guidance, and we look forward to helping you in person as local conditions and regulations allow,” Crane says.

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