Extension Office Reopening and In-Person Programming Update

Licking County Extension Office.

While the office has been closed to the public for the past two weeks, we are excited to say that we will be re-opening on Tuesday, January 19th. We will return to our Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., office hours, but do request that you make appointments or call ahead of your arrival. We are operating on reduced staff, with only two to three staff members in the office each day. You’ll likely find Adrienne and I in the office on Wednesdays and Thursdays, at least for the next few weeks, as we prepare for enrollment and advisor trainings. If you forget to make an appointment in advance of arriving to our parking lot, please know that you’re more than welcome to call and say that you’re outside – we’ll happily let you in with a smile! We’ve even posted our office phone number on the door!

Club Meetings.

As you begin to plan 4-H Club meetings, we would encourage you to stay virtual for a while longer… Ohio 4-H has announced that beginning January 16th, clubs can begin to return to their in-person meetings, provided they have an educational program planned that can not be conducted virtually. Keep in mind two parts of that statement – first, there must be an educational component to the meeting, and second, it should be held virtually unless it is not possible to do so. While all of us are anxious to see our 4-H members and their families, keep in mind that we are still in the midst of a pandemic. In speaking with many teens, we know that some are hesitant to attend face-to-face trainings simply due to their concern that they could be exposed, quarantined, and hence miss school or sporting events. This is a realistic concern, and we need to be cautious of the approach that we take to offering meetings and events.

At the county level, we are committed to staying virtual through the end of February, and hope that you will join us in doing the same. In planning for March, we are planning for both face-to-face and virtual, knowing that we may need to make a switch last minute, depending upon disease transmission at that time and guidelines of OSU, Ohio 4-H and our Health Department. Realize that as we begin to offer in-person programming, we will still need to make virtual attendance / participation available as needed. When offering in-person programming, keep in mind that you will need to plan accordingly to adhere to facial covering, hand washing, and social distancing guidelines – disinfecting the meeting location prior to, and after the meeting. We’re anxious to get back to 4-H, but we must also commit to keeping all our families safe.

Ohio 4-H Guidelines.

Below, you will find information from the State 4-H Office to assist you in staying up-to-date on guidelines and protocol. You will find 4-H information about in-person meetings and events on the state 4-H Stay Connected webpage.

In-person Meetings and Events Guidance and Requirements

As we begin the new year, the Ohio 4-H Planning Guide for In-Person Meetings & Events has been updated to reflect current guidance from Ohio State University and health officials. Beginning SATURDAY, JANUARY 16, 2021, the following is in effect:

  • Hosting virtual meetings and events is preferred
  • If activities are critical/essential and are in-person, they must be education-focused
  • Group cannot be larger than 50 people, including adults, youth, presenters, etc., and be held in a facility that will allow for appropriate social distancing of the families attending
    • Keep in mind that many facilities are encouraged to adhere to 25-50% capacity.
  • This directive is dependent on local health department guidelines.
  • The group size may need to be reduced to 10 (or other amount), based on directives from your local health department.
  • Face masks are required inside and outside at all times
  • Potlucks and buffets are not permitted. Food and beverages should not be served / provided.

Find details and updated guidelines at  Ohio 4-H Planning Guide for In-Person Meetings & Events

Finally, all of you are familiar with the map that is shared weekly by the Ohio Department of Health with updates to transmission rates. Please know that the above guidelines are in place while Licking County is “red” or a color that corresponds to a lower transmission rates. Should Licking County reach “purple” status, our office will return to being closed to the public and all in-person programming will be cancelled, postponed, or moved to a virtual setting.

We’ve Got This!

302 days… That’s how long we have been working to adapt our 4-H program to guidelines in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For some of us, it feels as though this is never going to end, but it will! We are working our way back to the 4-H that we remember with face-to-face programming, handshakes and hugs, and lots of smiles visible on faces. It will just take a while longer… We’ve got this, and after navigating through last spring and summer – I feel as though we can do anything! Keep your chin up and know that we are here to support you… But let’s not sit back and wait until all is normal, let’s find value in virtual, be mindful of the safety of all, and let’s get this year started in a positive way!

Extension Offices to Remain Closed until January 15

The Licking County Extension Office, as well as all Extension Offices across Ohio, will remain closed to the public through Friday, January 15th. It is planned that offices will re-open for appointments on Monday, January 18th. While offices may be closed, all staff will continue to work from home, and continue to be available to you! Should you need to reach out, please continue to use email, phone and mail…

Licking County OSU Extension Office Closure

The Licking County Extension Office, as well as all Extension Offices across Ohio, will be closed to the public Monday, December 21 through Friday, January 1. It is planned that offices will re-open for appointments on Monday, January 4. While offices may be closed, all staff will continue to work from home, and continue to be available to you! Should you need to reach out, please continue to use email, phone and mail…

 

OSU Extension Office Open for Appointments Only

The Licking County OSU Extension Office will be open for appointments only beginning on Monday, December 7, 2020. The Ohio State University has put out new guidelines for Extension Offices that state if a county is designated as “Red” in the Ohio Public Health Advisory System, that the office must be closed to the public and that clientele can only visit by scheduled appointment. If you need to visit the Extension Office for a general reason (dropping off something, purchasing a project book, etc.) you can call the main line at 740.670.5315 and anyone can help you with that. If you need to meet with Lisa or Adrienne specifically, please email them to schedule an appointment. Should Licking County be designated as “Purple” or “Approaching Purple”, the office will be closed and all staff will telework until we are informed we can reopen the office.

 

Licking County OSU Extension Office Hours

The Licking County OSU Extension Office will reopen for our full, normal business hours beginning on Monday, October 19, 2020. Our office will be open Monday-Friday from 8:30am to 4:30pm unless otherwise noted. Appointments are still requested and encouraged to help us keep the number of guests visiting our office limited at any given time to allow for social distancing ease. All staff members will continue to do a combination of in-office time and teleworking for the foreseeable future. If you need to meet with a specific staff member, please be sure to schedule an appointment with them as not all staff members will be in the office each day.

 

Fall Food Preservation Webinar Series

Gardeners and other lovers of fresh produce are often interested in extending the season’s bounty by preserving fruits and vegetables and meats at home.  Ohio State University Extension Family and Consumer Sciences teach the basics of home canning and preservation through a virtual series called “Food Preservation Office Hours”.  These online classes emphasize the science behind preservation so that everyone who preserves fruits, vegetables, and meats understands why certain procedures must be followed precisely to ensure a high-quality, safe product that they and their family can enjoy.

All online classes are on Tuesday afternoons from 4:00 – 5:00 PM. Topics include: October 13 – Preserving Apples; October 20 – Canning Soup; October 27 – Canning Meat, Poultry, and Game; November 3 – Making Jerky; and November 10 – Making Sauerkraut. Join OSU Extension educators for one or more of these free programs by registering at go.osu.edu/fall2020foodpreservationseries . Please contact Shari Gallup at OSU Extension – Licking County, 740-670-5315, with any questions you may have.

Victory Gardens Program Expands In Its First Month

More than 2,600 Packets Distributed, Four More Counties Added

REYNOLDSBURG, OH (September 10, 2020) – A tremendous response to the just launched Victory Gardens campaign has resulted in an immediate expansion of the program. The program took off immediately and demand was so high for seed packets, four more counties were added: Fairfield, Licking, Mahoning, and Summit. Seed pick-up days and times for each office are available on the Ohio Victory Gardens website. The collaboration between the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) and Ohio State University (OSU) Extension Offices has delivered more than 2,600 seed packets to ten counties across the state.

Victory Gardens originated during World War I, an answer to a severe food shortage at the time. The idea was wildly successful, growing an army of amateur gardeners and serving to boost morale and patriotism. Although there’s no food shortage now, ODA and OSU Extension are reviving the effort and once again encouraging people to plant seeds, realize the fruits of their labor, and share with others if inspired.

Seed packets were originally distributed through six OSU Extension Offices: Clark, Cuyahoga, Franklin, Hamilton, Lucas, and Washington counties.

The Victory Gardens Program will continue and expand with a larger seed distribution across the state in the spring. It also offers a full website with details on seed distribution, advice, and resources on every aspect of planting and harvesting produce.

Licking County OSU Extension Office Closed for Labor Day

The Licking County OSU Extension Office will be closed on Monday, September 7, 2020 for Labor Day.

Our office continues to be open Mondays and Thursdays from 8:30am to 4:30pm (except for holidays that fall on those days). We are continuing to telework on the other weekdays that our office is not open. Please remember to schedule an appointment if you need to come to the office, otherwise you can always call 740.670.5315 and leave a voicemail if we are not in or send us an email (Lisa: mccutcheon.46@osu.edu or Adrienne: anderson.1410@osu.edu) if you need to contact us.