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KSRE Tuesday Letter

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K-State Research and Extension
123 Umberger Hall
Manhattan, KS 66506-3401

March 10, 2020

Coronavirus and Extension

Submitted by Gregg Hadley

The novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has been the topic of many recent conversations, news discussions, and articles. This Tuesday Letter article adds to the latter.

Our Kansas State University Emergency Management Working Group and Infectious Disease Advisory Committee have been meeting regularly to monitor and discuss the facts regarding the disease, its spread, and how to mitigate its impact to our university and our K-State Research and Extension system. The university has established this website to update the university and our system about COVID-19 issues: https://www.k-state.edu/media/update/coronavirus/index.html.

Currently, Kansas State University department and unit heads are updating or revising their Continuity of Operations Plans (COOP). What will the COOP do? The COOP will prepare us for how we will continue/adjust operations in the event of contagious disease threats and how we plan to fully restore our operations after any threat has been mitigated.

I will be accountable for the COOP for our Division of Cooperative Extension that is due March 13. I am not asking for input from local unit directors at this time. For local units who already have a COOP-type document through their local emergency management office(s), we will defer to that plan.

You may be thinking, “Should we be holding our meetings and workshops given the COVID-19 concern?” It is recommended that you discuss this topic with the county public health department that represents the county in which the event will be held. Follow their lead and recommendations.

I hope that the impact of COVID-19, or any contagious disease, will be minimal to our K-State Research and Extension family and the people we serve. While some of you may also be thinking, “We are being way too concerned about COVID-19.” – I would refrain from adopting this stance. It leads to behaviors that actually enable a contagious disease to spread. I also encourage you to not panic about the issue. Just practice the normal best practices for disease mitigation. Eat healthy. Exercise. Get plenty of rest. Wash your hands.

Stay tuned. I will update you as needed via email and the Tuesday Letter.