Due to the COVID-19 virus outbreak, the Panhandle Research and Extension Center will be closing its office in Scottsbluff to walk-in traffic, effective at 5 p.m. Friday, March 20, until further notice.
The University of Nebraska–Lincoln is working to ensure that all employees are able to work from home plan to do so starting March 23. In response to this directive, Panhandle Center Director Jack Whittier said the center will close its offices to the public while carrying on its work, allowing faculty and staff to work from home whenever possible.
Faculty and staff will be carrying out research work and other essential functions to keep the building and activities running. Arrangements are being made to accept deliveries and mail. But the front doors will be closed.
The Panhandle Center’s main telephone number, 308-632-1230, is still available. Calls will be forwarded to an employee who is working from home. Voicemails will be checked frequently and responded to. People who need to contact faculty members or technical, support, or business staff should be able to continue to use the telephone or email as before.
County-based Extension offices throughout the state are often co-located with county government offices, which are set procedures for operating or closing during the outbreak, and the public should check with their local office to determine their operating status.
Nebraska Extension has already canceled all face-to-face teaching events statewide through at least May 9. However, Extension will find other ways to deliver learning opportunities to Nebraskans. Many Extension programs will be available online.
“Nebraska Extension is still open for information, consultations, and problem-solving,” as Chuck Hibberd, Dean, and Director of Nebraska Extension, puts it. The entire Nebraska Extension network of professionals is available, even while changes are made in office operations.
“Our objective, first and foremost, is the safety of our university community, the safety of our loved ones and safety of the broader community we call home,” UNL Chancellor Ronnie Green said in a university-wide email sent March 18. “We know that social distancing provides the best opportunity to flatten the curve on the spread of COVID-19 and lessen the impact of this disease — both in numbers and the impact on our health care system.”
Up-to-date information on cancellations, postponements, and other changes in Extension events will be posted on County Extension websites and also the Panhandle Extension Center’s website, https://panhandle.unl.edu
More information about Nebraska Extension’s operations during the Coronavirus outbreak is available at Nebraska Extension’s main website, https://extension.unl.edu