Many of you have been asking for an update regarding our official telecommute and limited onsite operations timeframe. On March 19, I sent out a notice that all UC ANR locations and programs would move to telecommuting and limited on-site operations status (with the exception of designated essential on-site staff/academics) effective through close of business on April 7, 2020, with a caveat that the date may be extended. This date was set by UCOP.
On March 24, to make planning easier, I extended the directive for UC ANR personnel to cancel, postpone or conduct online all meetings/events/gatherings statewide through April 30, 2020.
We have not yet received formal communication from UCOP regarding extension of the telecommute and limited onsite operations date, but anticipate that we will hear something this week. In any case, I can say with certainty that UC ANR will not return to regular work status next week. Please continue the telecommute and limited onsite operations protocols that are currently in place until further notice. Once we receive updated information from UCOP, I will communicate a more definitive timeframe. I know that uncertainty makes things more difficult and I want to express our great appreciation for your patience and flexibility. Please stand by for more information very soon.
New telecommuting resources
New resources have been added to the COVID-19 website to help us work in this telecommuting environment, including Tips for Good Webinars and Tips to avoid Zoom "Bombers". For more resources, visit http://safety.ucanr.edu/Programs/emergency/Current_Health_Alerts/Guidance_for_Telecommuters/.
SAREP Deputy Director Gail Feenstra curated a collection of stories (see attached) about how small farm and food systems advisors are supporting their clientele and communities during the pandemic. Examples include providing food safety and sanitization resources; sharing resources to support food system workers, local farmers and vulnerable populations; and helping to protect farmers markets as essential businesses in their counties. Additionally, Agritourism Coordinator/Public Education Specialist Penny Leff is collecting resources to help consumers purchase directly from local farms and ranches at http://www.calagtour.org/Shelter-in-Place_Resources/.
Community Education Specialist Colleen Clemens is using Instagram to engage people in Master Food Preserver information. She shared safe ingredient substitutions in the wake of grocery shortages, published an "ask us anything" post to respond to the public's questions, provided information on expiration vs "best by" dates, promoted the Master Food Preserver email helpline and more.
The CalFresh Healthy Living, UC team in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties created a YouTube channel to provide nutrition, food safety and physical activity lessons for educators to share with students as part of their assigned schoolwork. Their Youth, Families & Communities Advisor, Katherine Soule, is also developing Zoom financial literacy lessons that educators will assign for home completion.
Warm regards and many thanks for all that you do!