Changes in County Extension Offices

by Mark Mauldin

Just like with every other business that engages the public, COVID-19 is forcing agents at UF/IFAS County Extension Offices to change the way they conduct business. In the interest of doing all we can to keep our clients, faculty, and staff as safe as possible, Extension Office lobbies across the Panhandle are no longer open to the public. Additionally, in most cases, agents are no longer able to make field visits. These changes are not permanent, as soon as it is deemed safe for all involved, we will return to business as usual.

As of today, many County Extension Offices lobbies are closed; agents can be reached by phone or email. Continue to contact your County Agent(s) with questions or concerns, just like normal. Only now, call or email rather than make the trip to the office. It is amazing what we can get done via phone and email (especially with good pictures). Agents are also taking steps to increase the amount educational content they share online and via social media. Stay tuned for announcements about upcoming extension learning opportunities delivered through web-based platforms or social media.

The front “porch” of the Washington County Extension Office with a sign explaining that the lobby is currently closed to the public. To the right, forms and bags for soil testing, available where clients do not have to enter the lobby. Other offices may have similar arrangements, contact your County Extension Office for local details.

At the Washington County Extension Office stations have been set up outside so that clients can pick up soil testing supplies or drop off specimens for identification without coming into the lobby.