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Shelby County leaders react to Purdue University guidelines; impact to possible 4H events

Two press releases starting with local reaction to Purdue's announcement today relating to COVID-19 and planning of 4H events:

 

By Scott Gabbard and Purdue Extension Staff

 

On May 15 at 4:30 pm Purdue Extension, with the backing of Purdue University, announced guidelines as to how local extension offices should proceed as we continue to mitigate the pandemic while serving the needs of our communities. COVID-19 has created unprecedented changes in our nation and our local communities. In response, Purdue Extension has cancelled in-person meetings and events through June 30, 2020 to support the health and safety of its faculty, staff, students, volunteers and guests. 

 

This has always been a challenge.  Why? Extension serves agriculture, health and other critical infrastructure, even during the pandemic.  As a county government entity, we continue to field phone calls, answer questions and even provide field services when warranted while moving a lot of our functions online and doing our part in adhering to social distancing guidelines.

 

Starting July 1, 2020, Purdue Extension will permit in-person events that comply with Indiana’s Back-on-Track plan (https://www.backontrack.in.gov/). Purdue Extension will comply with all federal, state, and local regulations and public safety guidelines and will adhere to Purdue University policies for public health and safety.  This will come in at least 92 different forms as we ramp up and reflect our rural, suburban and urban communities.

 

If Shelby County has obtained a Stage 5 rating stated in the State’s Back-on-Track plan, we will be able to again host large events involving 250 participants or more such as farm field days, Farm & Home Safety Days and 4-H events such as the 4-H portion of the county fair.  However, with increased capacity comes a heightened level of responsibility.  We must adhere to a minimum of the following:

1)      Adhere to social distancing guidelines – 6 ft. distance between people according to the CDC.

2)      Daily COVID-19 screening of employees and volunteers working on behalf of Purdue Extension/4-H.

3)      Follow industry best practices regarding disinfecting high traffic areas and providing hand sanitizers and cleaning stations to employees and guests.

 

Minimum reflects the reality of the situation, we will still have to gain approval from local leadership and garner county support as well as buy-in from our partners, boards, councils, associations and youth.  At the same time, Purdue staff will be provided with additional guidance and training as we strive to meet the needs of our community.  While it only looks like three main rules, there are already pages of how this is to be administered and this is before we gain further guidance locally. Moving forward, we will do all that we can to ensure equal access and/or consideration.  These conditions will limit the way events can be delivered, especially our portion of the county fair, the traditional experience of a livestock show and how we may be able to offer some events. 

 

It will take help and cooperation of many to provide this experience.  Like the SCUFFY drive, our community always rises to the challenge and there is no doubt we will overcome this challenge as well.

 

Please continue to check the Purdue Extension website (https://extension.purdue.edu/shelby) for updates or our 4-H FaceBook site (https://www.facebook.com/shelbyco4h/)

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May 15, 2020

 

Today, Purdue Extension is announcing its policies for on-campus and off-campus events during July. Below is information from Senior Associate Dean and Extension Director Jason Henderson regarding Extension events starting July 1, 2020.

 

 

COVID-19 has created unprecedented changes in our nation and our local communities. In response, Purdue Extension has cancelled in-person meetings and events through June 30, 2020 to support the health and safety of its faculty, staff, students, volunteers and guests. 

 

Starting July 1, 2020, Purdue Extension will permit in-person events that comply with Indiana’s Back-on-Track plan (https://www.backontrack.in.gov/). Purdue Extension will comply with all federal, state, and local regulations and public safety guidelines and will adhere to Purdue University policies for public health and safety.

 

Indiana’s Back-on-Track plan, announced on May 1, 2020, is a thoughtful, detailed process to reopen the state of Indiana contingent on the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic in Indiana. Under this plan, each stage has different restrictions on in-person meetings and events to allow for variations in local public health and safety conditions across the state. Although in-person events may be held at various stages, Purdue Extension strongly encourages virtual events.  We will have virtual options for many of our in-person meetings and events so that our most at-risk populations will be able to attend and participate.

 

Here are the Back-on-Track plan requirements for events with more than 250 participants, such as farm field days and 4-H events at county fairs:

 

Large events may be held only when the county has reached Stage 5, which begins no earlier than July 4, 2020.

 

However, these large events must comply with the following:

1)      Adhere to social distancing guidelines – 6 ft. distance between people according to the CDC.

2)      Daily COVID-19 screening of employees and volunteers working on behalf of Purdue Extension/4-H.

3)      Follow industry best practices regarding disinfecting high traffic areas and providing hand sanitizers and cleaning stations to employees and guests.

 

Purdue Extension faculty and staff will be provided with more details regarding public health and safety requirements and industry best practices for safe Extension events. These restrictions limit the way events can be delivered, especially county fairs and the traditional penning/stalling of 4-H livestock shows. County Extension educators will work with 4-H Councils and Fair Boards to deliver a safe county fair experience. We look forward to reengaging with you in-person during July.