By  March 14, 2020 - 3:00pm

4-H Leaders, Volunteers, Staff, and Parents: 

The University of Kentucky’s Cooperative Extension Service 4-H Youth Development program is closely following the coronavirus outbreak.  We are continually monitoring this situation and are working to provide up to date guidance regarding our state, regional, and county level programming.   

In order to maintain the highest level of sanitation at your gatherings, I would encourage you to adopt the best practices listed below.  Every counties Family and Consumer Science agents have been provided with information on handwashing, cleaning, and proper hygiene and can provide that information when requested.  The Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service is a vital component of every county and we are invested in supporting the health and well-being of our communities.  

  • If Sick, Stay Home
    We are encouraging anyone who is sick to stay home and take care of themselves. This allows them time to recover and reduces the opportunity for the spread of illness.
  • Wash Hands, Sanitize
    Wet, Lather, Scrub, Rinse, Dry! We encourage everyone to implement handwashing time during all programs. Use this time as an opportunity to teach proper handwashing with your youth and adults. Saying the 4-H Pledge twice takes about 20 seconds and is the recommended amount of time to scrub up. Make time in your programs to allow for handwashing.
  • Snacks and Meals
    When serving food or beverages consider individually wrapped items (snack crackers and juice box/canned beverage) over communal items. If providing communal items (such as a bowl of fruit) consider assigning one person to wash up and “serve” the others to prevent multiple hands touching things. You can put snacks in cups or on plates and then distribute to the group.
  • New Greetings/Group Activities
    You are encouraged to avoid shaking hands and minimizing contact to prevent the spread of illness. This is a great to implement a new way of saying hello such as forearm or fist bumps! Switch your activities to ones that require less shared equipment and touching.
  • Tissues and Hand Sanitizer
    We encourage you to have tissues, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant wipes at all events. Use these liberally and as required to maintain proper hygiene.
  • Backup Volunteers/Helpers
    As people get ill, plan for additional support if needed. Have a couple of helpers on “standby” to assist. Program coordinators or club leaders should consider what they will do if they get sick. Do you have a backup or plan for cancelling?
  • Go Outside!
    This is a great time (and something great weather) to move some of your meetings out of doors. Good air flow outside helps reduce the spread of illness. Take a hike, conduct activities at the park and explore other ways to enjoy the out of doors.

  • Shared Resources (Equipment)
    Reduce the use of shared resources. Give each person a pen when signing in to prevent everyone touching the same item. If you must use shared equipment (such as a club’s archery equipment) wipe down after each use or have the participants wear gloves (if appropriate and safe).
  • Postponing/Cancelling Events
    Can your meeting or event be delayed or canceled? Special consideration should be given to larger events that bring people (especially adults 65+) together indoors in proximity. Can the meeting or event be done virtually or through telephone? We encourage you to be as flexible as possible by allowing for alternative meeting formats, a relaxed attendance policy, and providing other accommodation as requested.

Thank you to everyone for your efforts in maintaining the health and safety of our 4-H program participants, volunteers, parents, leaders and staff. *

Sincerely,

Mark Mains, Ph.D.
Assistant Director of 4-H Youth Development
mmains@uky.edu | 859-218-0989 (w) | 859-257-5961 (f)

*Thank you to Marcel Horowitiz, Healthy Youth, Families, and Community advisor from the University of California Cooperative Extension Service for providing the original document adapted for this mailing.