OSU Extension Return to County Office Plans

Overarching goal: To keep Ohio State’s community safe, while recognizing that a gradual and deliberate return to on-campus activities is key to the university’s land-grant mission.

Effective April 13, 2021 – ALL county Extension offices can be open to the public according to their Return to Office plan with existing safety protocols in place, regardless of their health advisory color. For now, there will still be a limited number of employees in the office at any one time; and each county’s arrangement will be different, depending on a local staffing plan coordinated with Extension administration. When Extension employees are not in the county office, they will continue to telework. Counties will continue to take into consideration local COVID-19 circumstances; and if a local health advisory is issued, we expect OSU Extension professionals and programming to follow the most restrictive guidance (The Ohio State University or local health officials).

Offices also will continue to follow basic health and safety protocols (at a minimum): social distancing, wearing masks in shared spaces for staff and visitors, and proper hand hygiene. County offices will not be restricted to "by appointment only," but we suggest that you call before stopping by your local office or continue to connect with the office online, if you prefer. Visit extension.osu.edu/lao for your county’s specific contact information.

At this time, in-person programming can continue based on approved exemptions and within the guidance from local health departments, regardless of the county’s health advisory color. In-person programming exemptions are still a requirement for ALL programs; and all Extension personnel will file an in-person exemption request for activities. Only activities approved by the university can be conducted in-person.

OSU Extension and Ohio State will continue to evaluate and update plans based on evolving conditions with COVID-19. We are commited to keeping our employees, volunteers, and clientele safe.

Operating Principles:

  • Principle #1: Protect the individual emotional and physical health and safety of Ohio State faculty and staff, as well as their families, our clientele, and communities.
  • Principle #2: Take precautions that follow or exceed all cognizant local, state, and national public health authority directives, including but not limited to teleworking (when possible), physical distancing, and/or use of personal protective equipment.
  • Principle #3: Protect and continue our Extension missions by implementing strategies, plans, and new practices that ensure resiliency and give us more flexibility and the ability to pivot during COVID-19.
  • Principle #4: Support college/unit strategies and goals.
  • Principle #5: Live our CFAES values including: a fuller definition of scholarship; lifespan learning; diversity and inclusion; integrity and accountability; and permeable borders.
  • Principle #6: Provide guidance that is straightforward and transparent, reasoned and responsible, and as flexible as possible; and disseminate that guidance promptly and widely.