Message from the director of MSU Extension: March 13, 2020 (7 p.m.)

From: Jeff Dwyer, Director, MSU Extension
Friday, March 13, 2020
Novel Coronavirus Update, March 13, 2020, 6pm

This information is current as of 6pm on March 13, 2020. All information from the email sent at 7:30 a.m. today remains accurate. Only new information is included here.


I remain impressed with the professionalism and creativity that our staff members throughout the state have exhibited during this national emergency. Your diligence in creating educational materials that people can use in special circumstances and your desire to find new ways to deliver this important content continues to inspire. Thank you for all you have done to help residents during these difficult times.

I want to address a few items as we move into the weekend.

The university remains open for business. Therefore, we will do everything in our power to continue serving Michigan residents to the best of our ability. As always, you should follow the guidance from your employer. If you are an MSU Extension-paid faculty or staff member, that information is below. If you are a county-paid staff member, follow the guidance of your county administration. All in-state, non-air travel that is necessary to do your job can continue without special consideration or waivers. HOWEVER, as stated in my 7:30 a.m. email today, all programs and events should be evaluated to determine the proper course of action. When working with your district and institute leadership, ask yourself these three questions:

  • Can this programming be done online?
  • Does this program need to take place before April 20?
  • What are the implications of cancelling this program?

The MSU Extension Communications and Marketing team has created some templates you can use when crafting messages to postpone, cancel or modify programming, as well as information about how to make the changes on the website calendar. You can find that on the novel corona virus events’ page.

Remote working flexibility

There are a variety of public health, safety and personal reasons why some faculty and staff members may need to work from home. We intend to be as flexible and accommodating as possible while maintaining reasonable MSU Extension operations. Our communities, families, youth, business owners and farmers need us. If you can productively work from home, work toward that goal in consultation with your supervisors, district director and institute leadership. As always, your calendar should be up-to-date, open to colleagues and indicate how you can be reached when you are working. Visit the MSU Guide to Remote Access for more information on successfully working from an alternate location.

With all K-12 schools closed in Michigan, I realize it will be tempting to take your kids to the office or to program locations. However, this is not appropriate under these circumstances and goes against our social distancing standards. Please keep exposure to a minimum for the health and safety of all.

I look forward to discussing these topics with you on our Zoom meeting next Tuesday at 4pm. If you have organization-wide questions about the effect the novel coronavirus pandemic has on our operations, please enter them in this survey. I will address some of the identified issues on the webinar and use others to guide future communication. As always, discuss individual-specific issues with your supervisors, district director and institute leadership.

Thank you for all you do. Take care of yourself and others,

Jeffrey W. Dwyer, Ph.D.

Director, MSU Extension