August 4, 2020
- Message from Dr. Silvertooth
- Restoration Approaches to Manage Buffelgrass and Other Invasives Webinar
- Upcoming Professional Development Sessions
- New Extension Publications
- Educational Communication: Cooperative Extension YouTube Channel
Message from the Associate Dean and Extension Director
Since the beginning of the University of Arizona’s remote operations in mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension System (CES) has been transitioning to new modes of remote and virtual program operations and delivery. The CES has remained open and functional but we have been conducting our business in many new ways.
We are now beginning the preparations for the process of an organizational transition to more traditional, face-to-face methods of operation and program delivery. This must be a managed process in the CES that will take place in phases.
To assist unit heads (county, academic, and experiment station units) in the management of this process, we have developed a “University of Arizona Cooperative Extension Safe Return Pledge”.
This pledge is intended to make sure everyone is well-informed and working with a full understanding of the new policies and guidelines that are being employed in these times of COVID-19 mitigation.
Some common questions that have arisen in relation to the Safe Return Pledge are listed below with responses.
1. Has the legal department at the UA looked at the Pledge? Did they give it their approval?
This “Extension Safe Return Pledge” has been adopted directly from a similar document being used in the UA College of Law.
It is not expected to serve as a “contract” but rather an acknowledgement of the UA and CES policies associated with the implementation of the best public health practices (BPHPs) being employed by the UA and followed by the CES. It was not necessary for the UA Office of General Counsel (OGC) to review this document.
2. Will “current CDC guidelines” change over time? It might be better to spell them out at the
beginning. We had some concerns about guidelines changing. Then the expectations of the
Pledge change midstream. I think it’s a consistency issue.
As new information regarding the virus and BPHPs associated with mitigating COVID-19 become available, the CDC may alter their recommendations in accordance to scientific information developed. If so, the UA may adjust policies accordingly, which the CES will of course be expected to follow and support.
3. When can volunteers come back into our offices?
We will start the review process for the CES operations in each unit on regular two-week intervals beginning on 17 August 2020.
4. How will supervisors know if the Pledge has been signed if confidentiality only allows the CED
to know who signed the Pledge and who didn’t?
This will be managed by the unit heads (county, academic, experiment station, etc.).
5. What are “extended periods of time” as per the Pledge?
Per the current CDC guidelines on COVID-19 mitigation:
“Data are insufficient to precisely define the duration of time that constitutes a prolonged exposure. Recommendations vary on the length of time of exposure, but 15 minutes of close exposure can be used as an operational definition. Brief interactions are less likely to result in transmission; however, symptoms and the type of interaction (e.g., did the infected person cough directly into the face of the exposed individual) remain important.”
6. How do we handle new hires as to the Pledge and testing? (before hire, after hire, during
All UA and CES employees must comply with UA and CES policies. That should always be made clear before and during the time of employment for all employees.
7. Can we further define “mission essential”?
That is determined at the unit level, e.g. unit heads, in concert with the Extension Director.
8. What if an employee is not comfortable with a nasal swab-based test? Are there alternatives,
such as saliva testing?
First, all testing is voluntary.
There are three tests currently available for various forms of COVID-19 testing: antigen, PCR (polymerase chain reaction), and antibody. The antibody test is done with a blood sample and determines the presence or absence of antibodies, which would indicate exposure to COVID-19. But, it is not a direct diagnostic test for the presence of the disease.
9. What are the best sources of county-specific COVID-19 information regarding community
spread? ADHS and the County Health Departments seem to be the only data available.
The ADHS data provides the best available information on the spread of this disease in Arizona, including county-level data.
10. How long will the COVID-19 mitigation practices be maintained?
The time it takes to bring this disease under control, which is determined by appropriate public health organizations, the UA administration, and the CES administration based on data reviews on a weekly basis.
I appreciate the questions and the efforts of all CES personnel to adhere to the UA and CES policies and guidelines associated with the process of successful mitigation of COVID-19 in our state. Our collective participation is essential in the process of regaining a more “normal” way of life and operation. This is a public health issue and we are all in this together.
Keep up the great work, stay healthy, take care of yourselves, and each other.
Restoration approaches to manage buffelgrass and other invasives webinar
August 06, 2020 11:00am to 12:00pm
Online event link: https://arizona.zoom.us/j/94826129160
University of Arizona Cooperative Extension Gila County presents: Garden and Country Extension Webinar Series. A Zoom webinar (60-minutes or less) featuring a variety of horticultural and natural resource topics relevant to the environmental conditions and residential concerns of Gila County, Arizona.
Featured Topic: Restoration approaches to manage buffelgrass and other invasive grasses
Featured Speaker: Dr. Elise Gornish is a Cooperative Extension Specialist in Ecological Restoration at the University of Arizona. Her work largely focuses on identifying strategies for successful restoration in arid land systems and integration of restoration approaches into weed management. Originally from New York, Dr. Gornish received her MS and PhD from Florida State University in 2013. She then completed two years of a post doc at the University of California, Davis before becoming a Cooperative Extension Specialist in Ecological restoration at UC Davis. In addition to vegetation management, Dr. Gornish is passionate about STEM inclusion and has recently become the Director of UA GALS (Girls on Outdoor Adventure for Leadership and Science). This new program focuses on providing science learning and leadership opportunities to traditionally underserved female high school students through backcountry programming.
Webinar Overview: Dr Gornish will discuss using strategies associated with ecological restoration to remove existing weeds and resist invasion from weeds in the future.
Webinar Facilitator: Chris Jones, Extension Agent, University of Arizona Gila County Cooperative Extension
Zoom Link: https://arizona.zoom.us/j/94826129160 Please log in up to 10 minutes prior to the webinar.
Registration: Not required
The Teaching Models website provides descriptions and examples of teaching in the distanced in-person, flex in-person, and live online modalities, along with resources to support instructors as they flesh out their plans.
The Planning for Teaching guide provides step-by-step guidance for getting your course ready, regardless of modality.
We now have one-step scheduling for Zoom consultations.
Recommended syllabus language, specific to each teaching modality, will be available soon.
Regardless of your teaching modality, there are two critical steps that will help you and your students.
1. Communicate with your students, now. Let them know you are looking forward to meeting them, and share with them your plan for course structure during the first few weeks. Your warm communication will mean a lot to your students, who are generally even more uncertain about what the semester holds than we are. For guidance on different ways to reach out, see these Communication Suggestions.
2. Set up a course site in D2L that provides a consistent, week-by-week structure for all your course elements. Having a well-organized course site is fundamental for equity, inclusion, flexibility, and staying connected to students. See Step 5 in the Planning for Teaching guide, take one of the Build Your D2L Course Site workshops described above, or contact our fantastic D2L consultants for targeted help.
Over this long summer, we have been amazed by your energy; learned by helping to answer your questions; and observed the creative approaches you are taking to provide strong learning communities for your students. Thank you for all the work you’ve done and will do; please reach out if we can help you as we all prepare for another unprecedented semester of learning.
New Extension Publications
W. Eugene Hall, Peter C. Ellsworth, Naomi Pier
The large and colorful cicada killer wasp hunts cicadas which they use as a meal to feed their developing grub or larva. Two species of these wasps occur in Arizona, Pacific cicada killer (Sphecius convallis) and the Western cicada killer (S. grandis). While native to our region and unique in its own way, the cicada killer wasp has gained prominence because it is sometimes confused with a much more ferocious wasp, the Asian Giant Hornet, whose current invasive range in North America includes Washington State and British Columbia. The likelihood of this invasive hornet getting established in Arizona and other parts of the southwest is low, because it prefers a moist forested habitat and other conditions that we don’t have in Arizona. Still, be aware of this invasive species, and contact us with suspect specimens or photos for species verification (www.uainsectcollection.com/insect-identification.html).
Shaku Nair, Dawn H. Gouge, Ayman Mostafa ,Shujuan Li, Kai Umeda, Hongmei Li-Byarlay
The goal of this publication is to provide readers with basic information about wild honey bees in Arizona. The document includes information on identification, biology and behavior of wild honey bees, the risks they pose outdoors, and how to safely deal with bees encountered in the environment.
Educational Communication: Cooperative Extension YouTube Channel
In the "digital age" - with the quest for information, but shorter attention spans - educational organizations are communicating more and more via social media, websites, and using digital communications, like Zoom.
Arizona Cooperative Extension is working to be at the forefront of this trend, in communicating with short, to-the-point videos.
Check out the Arizona Cooperative Extension YouTube Channel:
Please make sure you're helping us advance the Cooperative Extension message. Please like, share and link through your social media channels, and help us do all we can to share with all stakeholders and communities.