UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — In-person, nonessential events and programs sponsored by Penn State Extension through at least June 19 have been canceled, postponed or moved to a virtual format due to the continuing coronavirus pandemic, the organization has affirmed.
The move is in accordance with recent university announcements that summer camps and other nonessential public events on all Penn State campuses also are canceled, postponed or moved online through June 19, according to Brent Hales, director of Penn State Extension and associate dean in the College of Agricultural Sciences.
"Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, our top priority has been the health and welfare of our employees, volunteers, participants, partners and stakeholders," Hales said. "We continue to monitor the situation closely, and if further cancellations are necessary, we'll provide additional updates as soon as those decisions are made."
Those people who registered for Extension events that have been canceled will receive a cancellation notice and, if a registration fee was paid, a refund.
These cancellations also affect Pennsylvania 4-H activities, noted Joshua Rice, Penn State Extension assistant director for 4-H youth development programs. 4-H summer camps scheduled through at least June 19 will not be held, and 4-H youth participating in animal science projects may not represent 4-H in livestock shows or sales at any county fairs held through June 19.
"Pennsylvania 4-H is working on developing opportunities and resources for 4-H members to be able to showcase their animal science projects," Rice said. "We know that 4-H members have put a lot of hard work and dedication into these projects, and we want to ensure that they have an opportunity to showcase that hard work."
In addition, he said, Penn State Extension is developing webinars and other resources to address how 4-H members can market their animals privately in the event that a livestock sale associated with a county fair is not an option this year.
Pennsylvania 4-H previously had announced that all in-person activities, events and club meetings are suspended until further notice. Until normal activities resume, virtual club meetings can be held online, and 4-H is offering a series of activities that youth — whether 4-H members or not — can do at home with their families.
Hales pointed out that regardless of whether in-person Extension workshops, conferences, meetings and other activities are taking place, Penn State Extension always offers an abundance of online resources to assist agricultural producers, consumers, businesses, families and communities. These resources include online courses — which are free for people who register before the end of April — webinars, articles, guides and publications, videos, and other educational products.
In addition, although Penn State Extension county offices currently are closed, county-based Extension educators still are working and can be reached by email or phone to address specific questions and issues. A staff directory can be found on each county Extension office webpage.