As the situation with COVID-19 develops and institutions adopt changes to protect communities, Master Gardener volunteers are wondering about what this means for our events and programs. We’ll try and answer this in some FAQs below, that are specific to the Linn and Benton Master Gardener Program. –Elizabeth Records (interim program coordinator)

For Statewide Extension Master Gardener News, CLICK HERE.


11/24/2021

OSU has an update about face coverings which doesn’t much change current MGV activities. Just note that for OSU sponsored activities held indoors, face coverings are still required even though state rules on outdoor face coverings have changed. You can read details below:

“The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) has announced face coverings are no longer required in public outdoor settings. However, face coverings continue to be required indoors per Oregon Administrative Rule 333-019-1025. OHA’s Public Health Recommendation has been updated accordingly, as has OSU’s Face Covering Guidance and Public Health Policy.  This is welcome news, as this statewide decision is in response to a much-needed reduction of case rates and hospitalizations.

While OSU’s Face Covering Guidance and Public Health Policy align with OHA’s statewide guidance and the Oregon Administrative Rule, please be aware that OSU students and employees must continue to comply with local requirements. These include the Benton County Board of Commissioners Order issued on Aug. 11, 2021, requiring all individuals age five and above, regardless of vaccination status, to wear face coverings when in indoor public settings and in outdoor public settings where a physical distance of six feet cannot be maintained.  This local requirement includes athletic events hosted by OSU in Corvallis.

Students and employees are encouraged to visit their respective county public health websites to stay informed on changing requirements that apply to their area.

I will continue to provide updates on any changes in state and local public health requirements and how they might impact OSU policy and operations. 

Dan Larson

Vice Provost for Student Affairs

OSU Coronavirus Response Coordinator”

9/13/2021

OSU has updated guidelines regarding event planning, as shared by Statewide program coordinator Gail Langellotto in a recent update:

  • OSU has updated their guidance for in person events.
    • OSU-managed, indoor, face-to-face programs and activities can proceed, where registration (day of or pre-registration) occurs.
    • OSU-managed, outdoor, face-to-face programs and activities can proceed, where registration (day of or pre-registration) occurs.
  • Where MGs might be participating in events not managed by OSU:
    • employees and volunteers are expected to follow OSU policy and OHA public health recommendations (regarding face coverings, for example), but we can’t impose our guidelines on events and activities that are managed by community partners.
    • we can opt not to participate in community partner events, in the interest of public health and safety. 

Why the difference from our last check in on this topic, where I advised that we would need to keep activities mostly small and outdoors, since carding participants would not be feasible? OSU has advised that “non-credit educational events” are in their own special category, which only requires registration for events and not checking vaccination status. Most volunteer activities of an educational nature are deemed to count as non-credit educational events. Check out details at: https://communications.oregonstate.edu/planning-person-events

How to register? With the end goal that Extension fulfill its responsibilities for public health should anyone fall ill, MGV events require either:

  • An online sign up. Please contact Yasmine Rifai and copy me, to get a new sign or add a date to an existing one.
  • OR – a Master Gardener Volunteer Activity Attendance Log to keep track of attendees. MGVs asked for this form as an alternative to online sign ups, and now it is here. If you are using this form please follow the directions for event coordinators by sharing a photo or copy with me, Elizabeth, within 48 hours of the event.

My take: Outdoor events with smaller groups and online events are still lower risk, and many participants may still prefer these options. We’ve seen that the public health situation and related rules can change quickly. Offering hybrid events and/or having a virtual plan B for any event currently permitted under these latest rules, would be wise.


Please let me know what questions you have. As always, thanks for your grace during trying times.


Yours in change, 

Elizabeth

Elizabeth Records (she/hers) 

Outreach Program Coordinator (interim) 

Community Horticulture & Master Gardener Educator

Oregon State University Extension Service


8/31/2021

Greetings,


Here is further clarification on OSU’s latest public health policies, detailed HERE. The details most relevant to MGVs are below:

“As an added measure to help reduce the risk and spread of COVID-19, OSU will require proof of vaccination or proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test for attendees to gain access to designated university events, gatherings, and activities. Events, gatherings, and activities that have been designated as requiring proof of vaccination or a negative test are:

–All indoor gatherings, concerts, conferences, and performances that are open to the public.

–All indoor and outdoor intercollegiate sports competition events open to the public.

–All outdoor gatherings, concerts and performances that are open to the public and have over 25 people in attendance.”

I consulted with the regional manager and learned that volunteers are considered members of the public in regards to this policy. OSU is not doing blanket vaccine requirements for the public as it is for employees and students, so the above policies would apply to volunteer activities. 

Our program does not have capacity to card people entering events, unless this could be hired out to professionals who are qualified to provide screening/security. 


Therefore, while this policy is in place, I believe that our best options are: 

–events held outdoors for 25 or fewer people
–virtual events


For the most part we’re doing this already. Volunteers can still come into the office by appointment in ones and twos, for plant clinic. 

Other activities that may need to adapt:

–in-office meetings

–end-of-year celebrations

–2022 conferences (policies may change by then, but worth preparing for various circumstances)


MGV training as currently planned should work fine with these rules, and still offer a bunch of volunteer opportunities for continuing MGVs. I am really looking forward to sharing this opportunity to teach garden activities to trainees and get your hands dirty, coming early spring 2022!


I recognize that many people may be unhappy to return to more restrictions. I also wish to do all we can to offer opportunities that volunteers want to participate in, within the limits we face. I welcome ideas from each of you, on what this might look like in your county.

Private events hosted and promoted strictly by and for MGA members, would not to my knowledge be affected by this. I hope MGAs will keep the public health situation and well-being of members top of mind.
Please let me know what questions you have. If I don’t know I will try and find out. 

Yours in change –

Elizabeth

Elizabeth Records (she/hers) 

Outreach Program Coordinator (interim) 

Community Horticulture & Master Gardener Educator

Oregon State University Extension Service

Linn & Benton County


8/24/2021

Please see these significant OSU updates on public health policy, below. I have excerpted the parts potentially relevant to volunteers. I do not yet have answers for what this means for volunteers in detail and hope to have more information soon to post to our updates page.  

Per today’s order from the Governor, everyone needs to wear face coverings for outdoor activities where they cannot stay 6 feet apart. 


For certain events, OSU will soon be requiring proof of vaccination or a negative test. I do not yet know how this might affect volunteer programs. Given that the examples mentioned are large scale events, I’d anticipate that few regular MGV activities would be affected. Large-scale indoor events are far enough ahead that we may just have to wait and see.

Let me know what questions you have and if I do not know I will find out. Please continue to enjoy volunteering activities and stay well.
Best – 
Elizabeth Records

……………………

COVID-19 Updates:

Dear OSU Community Members,

The significant transmission rate of the Delta variant and increase in COVID-19 cases, primarily among the unvaccinated, is concerning and stressful. At the same time, we face very different conditions today than at the start of the pandemic in early spring 2020, when we shifted primarily to remote operations.

With our vaccination requirement, very high rates of vaccination among our students and employees, the use of face coverings, and the use of other public health measures related to cleaning and ventilation, our plan to return to in-person instruction and more on-site activities in the fall remains.

Our latest updates, based on public health guidance and our ongoing consultation with local and state public health authorities, follow.

Face Coverings:

Please use a face covering in all OSU indoor settings and follow any other local public health requirements that apply in your location. Face coverings remain a highly effective community and individual measure in reducing transmission of the virus.

New Benton County Outdoor Face Covering Requirement:

Per Benton County’s order, individuals five years of age and older must wear masks or face coverings in outdoor public settings where physical distancing of six feet is not feasible. This policy is in addition to Oregon’s face-covering requirement for indoor settings.

Deschutes County Public Health is urging the use of face coverings outside where physical distancing is not possible. Other jurisdictions may have their own face covering requirements. Be sure to check for local face covering requirements.

No Face Covering Required while Teaching:

Per the State of Oregon’s indoor face covering and mask mandate, a face covering is not required when teaching a class, when all of the following conditions are met:

  • If multiple people are speaking, only one may be unmasked at a time.
  • The speaker always remains at least six feet from the audience.
  • Everyone else in the room is masked.

Events and Activities May Continue:

With the use of face coverings as a primary public health measure, and with thoughtful event design and consideration of timing and location, in-person events and activities may continue at this time. In fact, in-person events and activities are an important component of the vitality of our university and community, even as we work to reduce the spread of COVID-19…..We encourage all community members to feel comfortable in making their own personal decisions regarding attending events as we continue to live with COVID-19.

Proof of Vaccination Required for Designated Events and Spaces:

As an added measure to reduce the risk and spread of COVID-19, proof of vaccination, or proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test, will be required to gain access to designated university spaces and activities. Designated spaces will be defined by the Coronavirus Response Coordinator and in consultation with program leaders and the local public health authority. Examples may include athletic events, concerts, and conferences, recreation centers, field trips and other experiential learning activities that present higher risk.

We expect to allow use of CDC-issued vaccination record cards and other records, as well as possible technological solutions, in providing provide proof of vaccination or a recent negative test. Details on how this requirement will be implemented will be shared in the days ahead.

As a community we can contribute to personal and public wellness and resume on-site learning, teaching, research, outreach programs and other activities by following the guidelines above and supporting one another, just as we have done since the start of the pandemic.

Sincerely,

Dan Larson

Vice Provost for Student Affairs

OSU Coronavirus Response Coordinator


8/16/2021

OSU Extension Colleagues,

Oregon is experiencing a significant increase in COVID-19 due to the more virulent Delta variant.

Your safety and health, as well as that of those we serve, is of utmost importance. In addition to following the university’s updated face covering policy, we can take additional actions to help slow the transmission of COVID-19 in our communities while we continue to serve and be accessible.

I ask that everyone:

·         Follow good personal hygiene practices, including proper handwashing and staying home when sick.

·         Work with your Regional Director or supervisor to identify location-specific procedures, such as staggered staffing, encouraging appointments vs. drop-ins and limiting visitors to designated reception areas.

·         Maintain flexibility in programming and services. Consider offering remote and hybrid options when feasible.

·         Maintain flexibility in work location for employees and volunteers. Resources for employees and supervisors are available.

·         Get vaccinated, and continue with vaccine outreach and education efforts.

Key points about OSU’s updated face covering policy and how it applies in Extension:

·         Face coverings are required in indoor OSU Extension spaces and activities.

·         This policy applies to all people in university-owned or controlled property or engaging in OSU activities while interacting in-person with others outside of their household. Exceptions are noted in the policy.

·         Indoor spaces means anywhere indoors, including but not limited to public and private workplaces, businesses, indoor areas open to the public, building lobbies, common or shared spaces, classrooms, elevators, bathrooms, transportation services and other indoor space where people may gather for any purpose.

·         Additionally, for Extension programming and activities, we define indoor areas as those that are enclosed on three or more sides by permanent or temporary walls or windows, exclusive of doors or passageways.

·         For details, refer to OSU’s Face Covering GuidanceSafety and Success Policy and Face Covering FAQs.

To support you in implementing the face covering requirement:

·         Signage is available for office entrances. Find it on our internal COVID-19 resources page, under the “Resources to use” section.

·         We will add a notice of the face covering requirement to all event listings on the OSU Extension website and to the “Visitor information” section of all OSU Extension county webpages.

Please consult with your supervisor if you have questions or need clarification about your location and activities.

Take care and be well,

Anita

Anita Nina Azarenko 

Vice Provost for Extension and Engagement, Director of the Extension Service, Interim


8/5/2021

Dear OSU Community Members,

Effective immediately, face coverings are now required in all public indoor settings at OSU.

This policy will be reviewed weekly, adjusted as appropriate, and communicated on the COVID-19 Safety & Success website.

Last week, we communicated that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) had updated their guidance to recommend the use of face coverings in public indoor spaces. In that context, we endorsed these recommendations under OSU’s Framework on Face Coverings, emphasizing that we would update our policy as public health conditions changed.

Since last week’s message, the Delta variant of COVID-19 has significantly spread throughout Oregon, and most counties have reached a “high” level of transmission as determined by the CDC. 

For purposes of this face covering requirement, “public indoor settings” at OSU include indoor environments in university-owned or controlled property or in which OSU activities are held, and which are open to the public. Examples include classrooms, dining centers (except while seated to consume food/drink), recreation centers, indoor sports venues, conference and event centers and spaces, service centers, front desks, and offices with frequent engagement with OSU community members or the public.

Generally, public indoor settings do not include university workspaces (e.g., offices or cubicles) and spaces within residence halls that do not have high frequency or recurring visitations by the public, and where individuals are not exposed to others who are not assigned to work in that space. Please review these FAQ’s for additional guidance. OSU Athletics will continue to follow Pac-12 Conference medical guidance.

Our policy on the use of face coverings complements the university’s vaccine program requirement for all faculty, staff and students.

We understand this face covering requirement may be unsettling to those who are weary of public health measures and constantly worry about their health and that of others within their families and community. The university’s primary goal remains the health and safety of our university community and the communities in which we operate. Continued vigilance is critical as we plan for a return in the fall to a more typical on-site experience, and a potential relaxation of the face covering requirement, if conditions allow.

Sincerely,

Dan Larson

OSU Coronavirus Response Coordinator

Vice Provost for Student Affairs


From Elizabeth Records, program staff (7/29/2021)

Hi MGVs,

As of today, OSU is recommending, though not yet requiring, people in indoor public spaces like Extension offices to wear face coverings. This is consistent with with CDC and State guidelines. It doesn’t apply to folks in spaces that the public doesn’t have access to, or outside. See details below.
Right now, there aren’t many volunteer activities where this would come up. For plant clinics held inside, face coverings would be recommended. We’ll continue to offer distance and/or outside plant clinic for volunteers who prefer these options. If you have questions about guidance for a particular activity please reach out.

7/29/2021: From Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President:

Dear OSU Community Members,

On Tuesday, July 27, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its COVID-19 guidance, recommending that both unvaccinated and fully vaccinated people wear a face covering in public indoor settings in places where there is substantial or high COVID-19 transmission. The Oregon Health Authority announced a similar recommendation for face covering use in public indoor settings throughout the state.

These recommendations are prompted by a significant recent rise in COVID-19 cases, the increased spread of the highly contagious Delta variant, and evidence that fully vaccinated individuals who become infected may be able to spread the virus even while experiencing mild to no symptoms themselves.

This new guidance does not change or alter OSU’s Pathway to Fall strategy and plans for fall term. However, OSU joins the CDC and OHA in recommending the use of face coverings in public indoor university settings in areas of the state where there is a high degree of COVID-19 transmission.

Public indoor settings at OSU include university-owned or controlled property, or property in which OSU activities are held, that are open to the public and could create higher exposure to the virus. Examples:

•        Classrooms;

•        Dining centers;

•        Recreation centers;

•        Indoor sports venues;

•        Conference and event centers and spaces;

•        Service centers, front desks, and offices with frequent engagement with OSU community members or the public.

Generally, public indoor settings do not include university workspaces and spaces within residence halls that do not have high frequency or recurring visitations by the public, and where individuals are not exposed to others who are not a regular part of their daily indoor activity. Individuals should use their good judgement in determining whether to wear a face covering.

Should public health conditions worsen, the university may require the use of face coverings in spaces listed above, and potentially other spaces. A decision to require face coverings in public indoor settings will be based on case counts (the CDC’s current metric), hospitalizations, available hospital capacity, the severity of symptoms experienced locally, and/or state mandates.

OSU’s Framework on Face Coverings, based on OHA and CDC guidance, is now available and additional information can be found in the university’s COVID-19 Safety and Success Policy. Please note that additional guidance from the CDC on exposure has been added to OSU’s policy.

We understand that determining what spaces within the university are indoor public spaces is subject to different interpretations. We ask that unit leaders and managers discuss with their employees the type of activity that occurs in workspaces to help assess where face coverings are recommended. Please review these FAQ’s to assist in that determination.

In closing, please know that these current recommendations offered by OSU, the CDC, and OHA are not face covering mandates. We appreciate your help in following these recommendations, which will enable our communities to disrupt this distressing national trend of increased COVID-19 cases. OSU will continue to work with the health authority in each county in which we are located as we determine if any changes in recommendations or requirements are needed. 

Thank you,

Dan Larson

Coronavirus Response Coordinator

Vice Provost for Student Affairs


6/30/2021 from Elizabeth Records

You’ve probably heard by now, that on June 30th, the COVID-19 restrictions are largely being lifted with a few exceptions.  Of course, everyone is encouraged to keep safety in mind when meeting: providing adequate physical space amongst members, meeting outside when possible, using good hand hygiene, staying home when not feeling well, etc.

Here are new operation protocols you can follow when hosting in person MGV meetings/events as of 6/30:

  • Face Coverings and physical distancing: Consistent with the CDC’s recommendation, OSU recommends faculty, staff, students, contractors, volunteers, and visitors across all OSU locations who are not fully vaccinated, are vaccinated but have weakened immune systems or are at high risk of severe COVID-19, continue to use face coverings and to maintain physical distancing. Effective face coverings fully cover the nose and mouth. Face coverings are recommended to be worn in combination with other measures, such as physical distancing and proper hand washing. This recommendation includes any participants.
  • Any participants, adult or youth, may voluntarily give their vaccination status, but they cannot be asked to share if they’ve received a vaccine or not.
  • Meeting locations can be anywhere (private/public) for MGV events.
  • Food can be shared and prepared together.
  • Contact tracing sign ups still need to be used until further notice. Extension and the Communications Committee with BCMGA are exploring other options to better meet needs of volunteers and OSU alike.
  • When using public locations for events and meetings, please check with the venue to see what their requirements are… they may be different/more restrictive than OSU requirements. Note: this includes the Benton County Sunset building that houses the Extension office. Please contact Elizabeth or the office for the latest updates when planning events in the office.
  • If you have any questions please ask me, Elizabeth. If I don’t know I will find out.

6/25/2021

Hi Master Gardener Volunteers, 
Please read the message below, from OSU Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President, detailing the state’s and OSU’s lifting of COVID-19 restrictions. It’s been a long 18 months of limited activities, so this is big news. 
Many people will be ready to resume all sorts of in-person activities ASAP. Others will wish to take it slow or may still prefer to take precautions. It’s my goal in my current role as the sole staff person for the Linn and Benton MGV program, to keep offering a range of volunteer activities, including inside, outside, and online. While most of us have serious Zoom fatigue, we’ve also discovered that offering online activities can be a way to include folks with busy schedules or limited transportation, opening our doors a little wider. 
For logistics of resuming activities like in-person plant clinic, public events, meetings at the office, etc. please stand by for details coming next week. 
Let me know what questions you have. If I don’t know I’ll do my best to find an answer.
Please stay cool and mark the opening of Oregon in the way that makes you happiest. 

Kind regards,

Elizabeth

Elizabeth Records 

Master Gardener Program Assistant 


6/17/2021 from Elizabeth Records, program assistant:

OSU recently shared updates on policies to face coverings. According to this policy, meetings can now be scheduled at the Extension office. OSU’s interim policy allows these meetings to occur without face coverings if everyone’s vaccination status is confirmed by Extension. Please check in with me, Elizabeth (program staff), for the full details.

More information on this exception can be found on the COVID Safety & Success Public Health Policies & Strategies page.


6/2/2021 from Elizabeth Records, program assistant:

Hi Benton County MGVs,
based on new guidance received from OSU leadership last Friday evening going into the long weekend, Extension volunteer programs in counties with low and moderate risk can now enjoy some relaxed expectations in terms of public health measures. 

Everything the MGV program is doing should still be aligned with OSU’s risk matrix for Extension programs. See it HERE.

Here’s a breakdown of the latest guidance and what it means for MGV activities in low risk counties:

  • Face coverings 
    • Outside – Face coverings are no longer required outdoors at OSU and during programming, unless the outdoor setting is crowded, or physical distancing cannot be maintained. 
    • Inside – Face coverings continue to be required indoors at all OSU locations and during Extension programming, regardless of vaccination status. For details please see OSU’s policy on face coverings.
  • Vaccination – At this time there is not an expectation to require volunteers to be vaccinated. However, administrators are expected to have more discussion about this over the next few weeks. If new details are added to the OSU vaccination requirement, that affect Master Gardener volunteers, we will be sure to communicate them as soon as we know more. 
  • Space – please keep 6+ feet apart. OSU’s physical distancing policy continues to require compliance with all current OHA guidelines and OSHA guidelines.
  • Office – Currently we’re trying to set things up so a limited number of people are in the office at once. Deb and I are discussing options for a limited in-person plant clinic. I will share updates as soon as I know more. 
  • Gatherings – including indoors – are permissible with compliance with relevant restrictions and prevention measures. This includes the allowance for in-person meetings and activities. Check out the matrix for details. Folks may still find it easier to meet outside, in most cases.
  • Event planning – please keep checking in with Brooke and I when planning new activities. In moderate and low risk, we no longer need to get approval from regional directors but still need to be in the loop on volunteer activities.  
    • Capacity – Many events can now have more participants than when they were originally approved. If feasible and desired, please reach out to get your sign-up spaces increased. 
    • Partners – If you’re at a school or partner site it’s the volunteer’s responsibility to know and follow their procedures.
    • Training – No one needs to take COVID awareness training anymore. I for one am grateful. Sign-ups will soon be updated to remove this requirement. 
    • Gear, food, drink – please bring your own and do not share with others.
    • Illness – If you or someone in your household is sick or has been sick recently, please stay home.

I hope this is helpful, please reach out with questions. Here’s hoping that this provides clarity and the chance to bring your volunteer activities a few steps closer to normal. 


5/27/2021 via Brooke Edmunds:

The request for Master Gardener volunteers to participate in pruning class has been approved to be held at a TBD date between 2021-04-16 to 2021-06-30.

Destination(s)/Location(s) of travel/program
Lewis Brown Farm and Oak Creek Center for Urban Horticulture (Benton County), Master Gardener demonstration gardens (Benton and Linn County).

Purpose of travel and or program description
In-person, small group classes for the current Master Gardener volunteers. Primary participation would be from the most recent class of 2020 to fill gaps in their knowledge and skills from having a 100% online initial training. Note: These classes would only be held when Linn and Benton County are in Moderate or Low risk. No classes will be held when counties are in Extreme or High risk.

Please share why this activity/event/program must be done in-person
These classes offer hands-on learning during the active growing season in gardens. The series was originally scheduled for April, May and June of 2020 but had to be canceled. Most plants and pests are only available to study during the growing season.

Has read and agrees to Face Covering Policy
Yes

Any additional measures to mitigate COVID-19 risk
All classes would take place in outdoor spaces with adequate physical distancing. Groups would be 10 or fewer including the instructor(s). Classes would only be open to current OSU volunteers not to the public. All OSU policies regarding physical distancing, face coverings, sign ups for contact tracing purposes, no shared tools, hand washing station or sanitizer provided, COVID-19 awareness training, etc. will be followed. No food or potlucks will be shared. No carpooling to the site unless from the same household.

Understand conditions may vary county to county
Yes


5/5/2021 from Brooke Edmunds:

The request for Master Gardener volunteers to support the OSU Extension gardening & nutrition project in Monroe has been approved. (Project contact is Diane Camacho-Figueroa, OSU Ext. Benton County Latinx outreach.) Details:

  • Small group work sessions can occur at an outdoor community garden(s) in the Monroe area, (also includes Corvallis). Group size is limited to 10 total (when county is in extreme risk) or 12 total (when county is in high, moderate or low risk).
  • Master Gardeners will provide a support role for garden activities. Primary activities: prepare, plant, and maintain food producing garden beds alongside community partners.
  • Any public classes or outreach events will need separate approval.
  • Occasional deliveries of garden produce and educational supplies may occur (volunteers in this role must have current OSU background check including motor vehicle history check on file).
  • Please utilize sign ups for contact tracing and to ensure group size requirements are met.
  • All volunteers must complete Extension’s Covid awareness training.
  • On site: Follow OSU’s face covering & physical distancing guidelines. Hand sanitizer or hand-washing station should be made available. No shared tools. No shared food/potlucks. No carpooling unless volunteers are from the same household.
  • Please also follow all guidelines set by the partner organization (contact tracing, scheduling, sign-in’s, etc.)

4/19/2021 from Brooke Edmunds:

Non contact supply pick ups for Seed to Supper Plus are approved by Extension Admin. You had requested two specific dates but I went ahead and got approval for the entire growing season. I also received approval that allows pick-ups at any outdoor site in Benton or Linn County. It may be easier for participants to pick up at a community garden, church parking lot, or housing complex than driving to the Extension office parking lot. These changes don’t obligate you, but just provide more flexibility if desired. Please see the specifics below and work with Elizabeth on signups.   

  • Outdoor pickups of Seed to Supper program supplies (books, tools, transplants, food preservation supplies, etc.) at locations in Benton and Linn County are allowed from 4/20/21-10/31/21. (Please check with any partner organizations for approval to be on-site. They may not be ready for in-person volunteering and/or have specific requirements for signing in, etc.)
  • Maximum of 8 volunteers at each pick up. Physical distancing and face covering guidelines are in place. No shared food or equipment.
  • All confirmation emails need to include that participants must wear face coverings. Please arrange the pick-up location so participants can either remain in their vehicles unless loading or be physically distanced if walking up. A sign with information on face covering and physical distancing requirements needs to be posted at the pickup site where participants can see it. Elizabeth can help you connect with office staff to print and laminate these signs. 
  • All planning meetings need to take place remotely.
  • All volunteers must complete the COVID-19 awareness training and use a sign up for contact tracing purposes. Elizabeth can assist with setting up the electronic sign ups.

4/13/2021 from Brooke Edmunds:

Good news! Heard back from the Regional Administrator that your request to “assist at Alsea Middle School to revitalize school garden and assist with limited in-person instruction” has been granted an exception for April 15-October 31. Here’s the requirements:

Destination(s)/Location(s) of travel/program
Alsea School District, Benton County

Purpose of travel and or program description
At request of a teacher, volunteer will assist at Alsea Middle School to revitalize school garden and assist with limited in-person instruction.

Please share why this activity/event/program must be done in-person
This is a time sensitive garden project that will primarily be completed outside.

Has read and agrees to Face Covering Policy
Yes

Any additional measures to mitigate COVID-19 risk
The Master Gardener volunteer will follow all school district and OSU requirements for COVID-19 safety that are in place including physical distancing, wearing a face covering, use of hand sanitizer, contact tracing, and limiting shared tools.

Understand conditions may vary county to county
Yes


3/30/2021 from Brooke Edmunds:

Good news! Heard back from the Regional Administrator that your request for “work parties for propagation of ornamental plants on the private property(s) of Master Gardener volunteers” has been granted an exception for April 1-October 31. Here’s the requirements:

  • When Benton County is in High, Moderate or Lower risk: Outdoor group size is limited to 8 total people – provided that physical distancing requirements can be met. Greenhouses or other indoor spaces are limited to single occupancy (if this needs to be adjusted then send details and I can request approval of changes). If the county moves into Extreme risk then this approval will need to be resubmitted.
  • No social gatherings. Any in-person teaching needs a separate approval. 
  • Basic COVID safety requirements are in place including required use of face coverings, physical distancing, COVID awareness training for all volunteers, sign-ups for contact tracing, no shared tools, no shared food/potlucks, hand washing/sanitizer use, no carpooling unless from same household,  etc.) Elizabeth can provide more information and assistance with these details. 

3/30/2021 from Brooke Edmunds:

Good news the native plant sale pick up event and associated activities have been approved. Please see the details below.

  • Please check with the partner organization for approval to be on-site. They may not be ready for in-person volunteering and/or have specific requirements for signing in, etc. 
  • No on-site sales/shopping.
  • All planning meetings need to take place remotely.
  • For the labeling and loading: Maximum of 5 volunteers at each site. Physical distancing and face covering guidelines are in place. No shared food or equipment. No carpooling unless from the same household.
  • For the outdoor pickup event: Maximum of 12 volunteers. Physical distancing and face covering guidelines are in place. No shared food or equipment.
  • All order confirmation emails need to include that customers must wear face coverings and also remain in their vehicles unless loading plants. This same information needs to also be posted at the pickup site where customers can see it. Elizabeth can help you connect with office staff to print and laminate these signs. 
  • All volunteers must complete the COVID-19 awareness training and sign up for contact tracing purposes.

3/25/2021 from Brooke Edmunds:

Good news all of the plant sale pick up events have been approved. Please see the details below.

  • Please check with the partner organization for approval to be on-site. They may not be ready for in-person volunteering and/or have specific requirements for signing in, etc. 
  • No on-site sales/shopping.
  • All planning meetings need to take place remotely.
  • For the indoor dahlia packing: Group size is limited to 4 total. Physical distancing and face covering guidelines are in place. No shared food or equipment.
  • For the three outdoor parking lot pickups: Maximum of 8 volunteers. Physical distancing and face covering guidelines are in place. No shared food or equipment.
  • All order confirmation emails need to include that customers must wear face coverings and also remain in their vehicles unless loading plants. This same information needs to also be posted at the pickup site where customers can see it. Elizabeth can help you connect with office staff to print and laminate these signs.
  • All volunteers must complete the COVID-19 awareness training and sign up for contact tracing purposes.

Good news! In-person Seed to Supper classes have been approved when Benton County is in Moderate or Lower risk (https://coronavirus.oregon.gov/Pages/living-with-covid-19.aspx

Building a Safe & Strong Oregon : Living with COVID-19 : State of Oregon – Coronavirus.oregon.gov : Building a Safe & Strong OregonNote: All activities are subject to more detailed, sector-specific guidance.All activities assume mask usage, at least 6 feet of physical distancing, provision for hand hygiene, and enhanced cleaning protocols. Congregate homeless sheltering, outdoor recreation & sports, youth programs, childcare, K12 schools (including sports), higher education, and current Division 1 and professional …coronavirus.oregon.gov

). Please work closely with Elizabeth to make sure all of OSU’s requirements outlined below are met. This is will be our first public class and so there will be a lot of scrutiny of our safety procedures. 

  • Approved sites are outdoor community spaces only (Calvin Community Garden, etc.)
  • Classes and workshops can be advertised to the public starting when Benton County’s data for the watch week indicates that the county is moving into Moderate or Lower risk.
  • Classes and workshops can only be held when Benton County is in Moderate or Lower risk.
  • Approved for a maximum capacity of 15 people (this includes participants and instructors/supporters)
  • Please check with the partner organizations for approval to be on-site. They may not be ready for in-person volunteering and/or have specific requirements for signing in, etc.
  • Follow the OSU guidance for face coverings, physical distancing, COVID awareness training for all volunteers, and sign-ups for contact tracing.
  • No shared tools/equipment and no shared food/potlucks. 
  • Disposable masks and hand sanitizer need to be available at each class period.(Let us know if you need help from Extension on this.)
  • OSU has required COVID safety signs that need to be displayed in English and Spanish at each session. Elizabeth can help you work with office staff to print and laminate these.
  • OSU has required language that needs to be included in program sign ups so please work closely with Elizabeth on promotion and registration. This includes participants agreeing to wear a face covering and physically distance as well as language on a ‘self-screening for COVID symptoms’ that needs to be sent.

County risk levels are reassessed every two weeks and may move up or down depending on the COVID metrics. The start of the next two week period is Friday 3/25 and Benton will remain in High risk.


3/12/2021

Good news! Heard back from the Regional Administrator that in-person planning tour(s) and work sessions at the Children’s Farm Home in Benton County have been granted an exception for March 15-October 29. (I submitted the exception for both planning & work sessions. Doesn’t obligate you to volunteer at this site, just means we don’t have to go back for another approval if the site pans out.) Here’s the requirements:

  • Primary activities should be to plan and prepare, plant, and maintain food-producing educational garden beds. Secondary activities are planning, maintenance, etc. of ornamental areas of the educational gardens. Administration is aware that Master Gardener gardens are available due to generosity of our partner organizations and that basic maintenance is required to remain in good standing with these partners. 
  • No social gatherings.
  • Any in-person teaching will need a separate approval.
  • Please check with the partner organization for approval to be on-site. They may not be ready for in-person volunteering and/or have specific requirements for signing in, etc. 
  • When Benton County is in Extreme or High risk: Planning group meetings are limited to 5 total and work group size is limited to 10 total people provided that physical distancing requirements can be met including in the garden and inside the greenhouse. 
  • The same safety requirements from the fall (face coverings, physical distancing, COVID awareness training, sign-ups for contact tracing, no shared tools, no shared food, hand washing/sanitizer use, etc.) are in place. Elizabeth can provide assistance with these details. 

2/11/2021 from Brooke Edmunds:

Good news! Heard back from the Regional Administrator that two Community Garden Education Team (CGET) activities have been granted an exception.  Thank you for your patience, this request took longer to approve because we had to confirm some additional non-COVID related details with OSU HR. Here’s the exception approval details for each project:

Project #1) No-contact deliveries to drop off of Seed to Supper program materials at participant’s homes

  • All volunteers who are delivering need to first successfully pass an OSU Motor Vehicle Check. Elizabeth can walk you through this process. In short, please share a list of possible delivery drivers with Elizabeth. She will guide you through the process of obtaining your driving record through the DMV’s online system and submitting to OSU HR. OSU HR will review the driving record and send Elizabeth the list of approved delivery drivers.  Note: This is not COVID-safety requirement but a volunteer program requirement because Master Gardener volunteers do not normally do home visits as part of their position description. If this is too much of a hoop to jump through, Elizabeth and I both obtained travel approval for this project and can do our best to help support you as our schedules allow.
  • The same COVID safety requirements from the fall (face covering, physical distancing, COVID awareness training, contact tracing, etc.) are in place. Elizabeth can provide assistance with these details. 

Project #2) Filming educational videos for CGET resource library

  • All filming to take place outdoors; no more than two volunteers
  • The same COVID safety requirements from the fall (face covering, no shared equipment, no shared food, physical distancing, COVID awareness training, contact tracing, etc.) are in place. Elizabeth can provide assistance with these details. 

I’ve cc’ed Deb Kern and Elizabeth so both are aware of approved in-person volunteer projects. Also, we may have some basic video equipment available for check out at the Extension Office-please coordinate with Elizabeth if you would like to use it.

Thanks and let me know what questions you have,

Brooke


2/5/2021 from Brooke Edmunds:

Good news! Heard back from the Regional Administrator that in-person work sessions at educational gardens & sites in Linn County have been granted an exception for February 8-October 29. Here’s the requirements:

  • Small group work sessions at the following educational gardens: Linn County Fairground, Albany Public Schools, and the Willamette Community Garden. (Let me know if additional gardens need to be added.)
  • Primary activities should be to prepare, plant, and maintain food-producing garden beds. 
  • Secondary activities are maintenance of ornamental areas of the gardens. Administration is aware that Master Gardener gardens are available due to generosity of our partner organizations and that basic maintenance is required to remain in good standing with these partners. 
  • No social gatherings. Any in-person teaching needs a separate approval. 
  • Please check with the partner organization for approval to be on-site. They may not be ready for in-person volunteering and/or have specific requirements for signing in, etc. 
  • When Linn County is in Extreme or High risk: Group size is limited to 10 total people provided that physical distancing requirements can be met. 
  • The same safety requirements from the fall (face coverings, physical distancing, COVID awareness training, sign-ups for contact tracing, no shared tools, no shared food, hand washing/sanitizer use, etc.) are in place. Elizabeth can provide assistance with these details. 

County risk levels are reassessed every two weeks and may move up or down depending on the COVID metrics. The start of the next two week period is Friday 2/12. 


1/28/2021 Update Exceptions to remote programming shared by Brooke Edmunds:

Good news! Heard back from the Regional Administrator that in-person work sessions at educational gardens & sites in Benton County have been granted an exception for March 1-October 29. Here’s the requirements:

  • Small group work sessions at the following educational gardens: Benton County Fairground, Corvallis Central Park, Corvallis Public Schools, Siembra la Cena, Produce for the People. (If additional gardens need to be added please contact Brooke.)
  • Primary activities should be to prepare, plant, and maintain food-producing garden beds.
  • Secondary activities are maintenance of ornamental areas of the gardens. Administration is aware that Master Gardener gardens are available due to generosity of our partner organizations and that basic maintenance is required to remain in good standing with these partners.
  • No social gatherings. Any in-person teaching needs a separate approval.
  • Please check with the partner organization for approval to be on-site. They may not be ready for in-person volunteering and/or have specific requirements for signing in, etc.
  • When Benton County is in Extreme or High risk: Group size is limited to 10 total people provided that physical distancing requirements can be met.
  • The same safety requirements from the fall (face coverings, physical distancing, COVID awareness training, sign-ups for contact tracing, no shared tools, no shared food, hand washing/sanitizer use, etc.) are in place. Elizabeth can provide assistance with these details. 

County risk levels are reassessed every two weeks and may move up or down depending on the COVID metrics.


1/28/2021 Per Extension administrators, vegetable and edible plant production at the Philomath HS site has been granted an exception for February 1-May 15th. Here are the details:

·         If you haven’t already, please check with Philomath High School staff for approval to be on-site. They may have specific requirements for signing in, etc.

·         When Benton County is in Extreme risk: Greenhouse group size is limited to no more than 6 people from no more than two households. Outdoor growing area group size is limited to 6 total people.

·         When Benton County is in High risk: Greenhouse group size is limited to 6 total people. Outdoor growing area group size is limited to 6 total people.

·         The same safety requirements from the fall (face coverings, physical distancing, COVID awareness training, sign ups for contact tracing, no shared tools, no shared food, hand washing/sanitizer use, etc.) are in place. Elizabeth can provide assistance with these details. 

County risk levels are reassessed every two weeks and may move up or down depending on the COVID metrics. The start of the next two week period is Friday 1/29 and Benton County will remain in Extreme risk.


1/12/2020 COVID-19 Updates 
Our county unfortunately continues in “extreme risk” level for COVID-19 spread. All of our programming needs to be remote. Please contact faculty and staff if you have any questions.

Stay safe everyone! Here’s hoping the situation improves.


12/15/2020 COVID-19 Updates 
Our county unfortunately moved to “extreme risk” level for COVID-19 spread. Please see Governor’s Press release HERE.

All of our programming needs to be remote. Please contact faculty and staff if you have any questions.

Stay safe everyone! We are rounding the corner, hopefully some relief will be coming soon! 

12/3/2020 COVID-19 Updates

Today faculty and staff received an update on how the latest events in public health affect our work and volunteering. Since the public health situation is rapidly changing, all in-person activities need to be reviewed and approved by Extension administration including activities that were approved in the past. Please keep in mind that OSU and counties may have different criteria for activities than the State. Planning an in-person activity? Please check in with Brooke. Brooke will send details to Extension admin let you know when the request has been reviewed. At this writing, admin is being fairly responsive.

11/16/2020

I hope you’re well. You may know that due to the current statewide “freeze” virtually all in-person OSU and Extension activities are cancelled or postponed until 12/2. After 12/2 we’ll need to see what the public health situation looks like and plan next steps. I know this is sure to be unwelcome news at a time when many activities are planned. I am sorry. I hope that volunteers will soon be able to schedule in-person activities again. If you have any questions, please check out the latest information from the State of Oregon and from Oregon State University. While Brooke and I are not at liberty to change these policies we’re here to help in whatever ways possible.

9/15/2020 Updates – Fire and Smoke

From OSU: OSU operations in Western Oregon remain closed due to excessive wildlife smoke. For the latest updates from OSU, please CLICK HERE.

Hi everyone, Thank you so much for helping answering gardening questions-you are awesome! We hope that you and yours are as safe as possible.
Here are some additional resources to help if you receive any wildfire related questions:

Extension also has a general wildfire info available: https://extension.oregonstate.edu/forests/fire
Stay safe and inside until the air quality improves!

8/28/2020 Updates
In-person volunteering is opening up but is still limited to certain pre-approved activities. Please check your county page to see what is currently available: Linn and Benton.

If you would like to get an in-person activity approved, please reach out to Brooke prior to volunteering and early in the planning process. OSU Extension has specific guidelines we need to follow including training, contact tracing, and safety protocols. Brooke will need to work with you and your committee to submit an application for approval.

This graphic applies to both Benton and Linn County in-person volunteering.

5/26/2020 Update from the Statewide Master Gardener Program to our program partners (this includes BCMGA and LCMGA)

Dear Friends and Partners of the OSU Extension Master Gardener Program:

The OSU Extension Master Gardener Program partners with numerous organizations across the state, in support of our mission to make sustainable gardening information and educational opportunities open to all Oregonians. Our partnerships include local Recreation and Parks offices, Food Banks and Food Pantries, School Districts, Correctional Facilities, Gardening Non-Profits, Public Housing Authorities, Local Governments, and the Oregon Master Gardener Association and its non-profit chapters. I value our partnerships beyond measure, and recognize that our outreach efforts and our organization are elevated as a result of our collaborations.

I wanted to share an update on the current status of OSU Extension Master Gardener activities, in the context of the Phase 1 reopening of Oregon counties that began on May 15th. As a state agency and an institution of higher education, OSU Extension is under different guidance than Oregon businesses. For example, Executive Orders 20-17 and 20-09 suspend in-person instructional activities at Oregon Higher Education Institutions through June 13th.

In short, I am still in a holding pattern and awaiting direction from OSU and OSU Extension, related to face-to-face activities, events, and instruction. I have drafted, and am awaiting administrative feedback on a plan to resume limited face-to-face Master Gardener activities that adheres to state, university, and OSU Extension guidance. OSU expects to receive guidance from the Higher Education Coordinating Commission, later this week. OSU and OSU Extension expect to update their respective resumption plans, shortly thereafter. I am hopeful that the Master Gardener resumption plan might be reviewed, edited as needed, and approved shortly thereafter.

At this time, I would ask that we continue collaborative partnership by:

  • Keeping lines of communication open: sharing (as possible) resumption plans, and thinking about how we can jointly meet any mandated requirements for face-to-face activities.
  • Recognizing that we are bound by OSU guidance: and unable to resume face-to-face instructional activities until at least June 13th.
  • Presenting clear and united communications to volunteers and to the public that we serve: until the Master Gardener program gets the green light for face-to-face activities from OSU, we are not able to resume face-to-face activities.

    I look forward to continued and fruitful partnerships. Most of all, I look forward to the day that we can again partner to promote a love of and success with gardening, via hands-on, face-to-face, and fun activities.

    I hope that you continue to stay safe and be well!! Should you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to your local Master Gardener coordinator and/or to me.

    Sincerely,

    Gail Langellotto
    Statewide Extension Master Gardener Program Coordinator
    Oregon State University

5/15/2020 Update: Re-opening and the Master Gardener Program
To watch this message on Youtube, CLICK HERE.

From Brooke Edmunds
Oregon State University Extension Community Horticulturist


Hi everyone, 
 
First I want to express my deep gratitude to all of you for volunteering with the Master Gardener Program. Many of your committees and teams have made a quick pivot to continue to offer programming in ways that are brand new to many of us. Your efforts to offer quality gardening education across our counties have turned out amazing. And to all who are working in a virtual Plant Clinic Dashboard-thank you for trying something new! The gardening public is so appreciative to have you all as a resources. 
 
I have been fielding several questions about Master Gardener activities now that Benton and Linn Counties have moved into Phase 1 re-opening. The Master Gardener Program (under the umbrella of OSU) will have a very different re-opening process than either county’s Phase 1 and Phase 2 re-openings.  This is because Master Gardeners is a program of a higher education institution so we are functioning under different guidance from the Governor and OSU. There is an higher education specific Executive Order in place which limits all face-to-face Master Gardener Program activities through June 13th.
 
I have not received guidance specific to re-opening the Master Gardener program yet but we have received basic guidance on what a general OSU Extension re-opening could look like. Follow along with the overall OSU Extension reopening plan here https://extension.oregonstate.edu/covid-19-reopening-status When you look over the plan, you will notice a few things. One, it’s very vague because things are so uncertain right now. What I share today may be changed by OSU or the Governor tomorrow. The other thing you’ll notice is that there is very little specific language for OSU Extension volunteers and their activities in support of OSU. Additional conversations are in the works between the statewide Master Gardener Program coordinator, Gail Langellotto, and OSU Extension’s COVID-19 response team. Specifically they will be discussing any opportunities to reopen volunteer opportunities in our demonstration gardens. I do not have a timeline on when this meeting will occur or a when decision will be made at this time. 
 
As we transition as an organization through OSU’s reopening stages, I will do my best to communicate clearly and often with Master Gardener volunteers.  
 
Truthfully, I have a feeling that we are all going to need a lot of patience to navigate this unprecedented situation. I will do my very best to be as transparent as possible.
 
If you have questions there are a couple of ways to get in touch. Call me at 541-791-6617, email brooke.edmunds@oregonstate.edu or join me during my online office hours every Thursday at 3pm from May 21-June 18.
 
You can join these office hours from your computer: https://oregonstate.zoom.us/j/91376928268?pwd=WXpkcTE3eUdJSDFWZDQ0N0pzamtFdz09 Password: 543888 OR you can call in to the session at 971-247-1195 password: 543888.

Thank you so much for everything that you do as an OSU Extension Master Gardener volunteer! 
 
P.S. ON 5/18/20 Statewide Coordinator Gail Langellotto shared a similar message about the status of re-opening and the MG program. To read the message please CLICK HERE.

4/28/20 – Update from OSU about Stay Home Save Lives:

Gov. Brown’s executive order 20-17 extends remote teaching to June 13, unless extended or terminated earlier. This applies to all OSU teaching, including our Extension and noncredit education.

This applies to OSU volunteers also. Volunteers should be only doing those activities that can be done from home and without face-to-face contact. This means no face-to-face classes, events, meetings or outreach activities. Our program has been meeting the burgeoning need for gardening information with virtual events and soon will offer an online plant clinic platform that volunteers can use to collaborate and respond to inquiries.

The purpose of the executive order and this guidance is to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Oregon, to protect the health and lives of Oregonians, particularly those at highest risk, and to help avoid overwhelming local and regional healthcare capacity. Oregon State University fully supports the governor’s executive order and encourages its community members to stay at home (updated 4/28/20).


FAQ Updates:

Q: What about maintaining Master Gardener plants and demonstration gardens in the context of Stay Home – Save Lives? (UPDATED 3/25/20)

A: In keeping with the Governor’s latest order to stay at home, OSU calls on faculty, staff and volunteers to observe this order and avoid activities that are out-and-about or face-to-face, including maintaining plants or gardens outside their personal homes. Here are some excerpts from the latest updates from the Statewide Master Gardener program, and what they mean specifically for our County programs (in bold). Find the entire document by CLICKING HERE.

  • We must honor the policies in place of our community partners. Many fairgrounds, recreation and parks units, and schools have closed their facilities to the public.
    • What does this mean for Benton MGs?
      • Philomath High School is closed at this time per their website.
      • Benton County Fairgrounds is being used for emergency management and closed at this time to non-essential activities.
    • What does this mean for Linn MGs?
      • Linn County Fairgrounds is closed at this time per their website.
    • Community gardens, partner organizations and other locations are pretty much all hitting pause right now to comply with the Governor’s order.
  • Under the current directives of Executive Order 20-12, Master Gardener volunteers are not authorized to care for greenhouse plants or gardens on behalf of OSU or in their role as a Master Gardener volunteer.
    • What does this mean for MGs?
      • According to OSU, volunteers are not authorized to go to locations away from home to tend plants or gardens.
      • If feasible, volunteers and members of their households can personally tend any plants that are currently located at their own homes.
      • Individuals should refer to Executive Order 20-12, particularly section 22, which dictates that “individuals are directed to minimize travel, other than essential travel to or from a home, residence or workplace; for obtaining or providing food, shelter, essential consumer needs, education, health care, or emergency services . . .”

Q: What about donating or selling plants that were originally destined to be sold at Master Gardener Association plant sales? (UPDATED 3/25/20)
A: For plant materials that are owned by Master Gardener Chapters or Associations and not by OSU: the Oregon Master Gardener Program is exploring whether or not the plants can be sold or donated to partner agencies while using the Master Gardener name. If we proceed, we aim to work with partner agencies that already have distribution channels in place rather than creating our own distribution network. Stand by for more information soon!

Q: What about scheduling, or rescheduling, plant sales and other large events? (UPDATED 4/28/2020)
A: All face-to-face activities, events, meetings ~ no matter how many people may attend ~ are suspended to June 13, unless extended or terminated earlier.
This suspension aligns with the guidance given by OSU Extension on March 13th. For full details please CLICK HERE.

Q: Has anyone in our Master Gardener community been exposed to COVID-19? (UPDATED 4/28/2020)
A: In light of recent news about positive coronavirus tests at the Oregon Veterans Home (OVH) in Lebanon, we wanted to let you know that members of the Master Gardener community have connections with this facility. The virus is also moving through our counties via community spread. Sadly, at least one community member has lost a loved one to this illness. Please follow the precautions recommended by CDC and OHA.

Q: How can I stay connected with the Master Gardener volunteer community even when we can’t meet in person? (UPDATED 5/26/2020))

A: There are lots of good ways to communicate while staying safe. Here are some virtual tools that OSU or Master Gardener volunteers are currently using. This doesn’t constitute an endorsement of specific products, just several options that have worked for folks in our community.

Did you know? You can log 1 hour of continuing education for learning how to use and trying out a new tool for distance communication. When entering your continuing education hours, please include a description of what you learned and how you will use the tool.

  • Zoom – lets two or more people see and talk to each other at once. Phone-in option for those without a computer or the internet. The free option has many features. LEARN MORE.
  • Box – share and edit files together without getting multiple versions mixed up. The free option is enough for basic sharing and editing of written documents. LEARN MORE.
  • Google – offers tools for sharing and editing files, making forms, managing calendars, video chats, instant messaging and more. Check out what trial editions of these tools are available with any Google account you may already have. The apps/tools are found by clicking the square of dots in the upper right when a Google account is displayed on a desktop computer.
  • Have Facebook? Chat with Facebook friends on the desktop app, or with Facebook Messanger on a smart phone.
  • Know Master Gardeners who aren’t online? Please phone and let them know that if they’d like to be part of a phone tree and be in regular contact with a couple of other participants to share about essential updates and group calls, they can call Elizabeth at (541) 937-5295.‬

Q: Where can I find out more about coronavirus? 
A: Check out the Center For Disease Control website for the latest information: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html#protect

Q: What is OSU and Extension doing to respond to coronavirus? (updated 5/26/20)
A: Learn about their latest policies here: 
OSU: https://leadership.oregonstate.edu/coronavirus
OSU Extension resumption plans: https://extension.oregonstate.edu/covid-19-reopening-status

Q: What is the Statewide Master Gardener Program doing to respond to coronavirus? (UPDATED 5/26/2020)
A. Please read the latest guidance here: http://blogs.oregonstate.edu/mgcoordinators/2020/05/26/letter-to-mg-program-partners/

Q: Can county Master Gardener Association business activities go on as usual? (UPDATED 4/28/2020)
A: All face-to-face activities, events, meetings ~ no matter how many people may attend ~ are suspended pending further notice. This suspension aligns with the guidance given by OSU Extension on March 13th. For full details please CLICK HERE. Your local program is carrying on events and meetings via Zoom, please check your eNewsletter for details and to join events.

Q. Can county Master Gardener Association educational activities (classes, events, talks, etc.) go on as usual? (UPDATED 4/28/2020)
A. No, at this time, we are following OSU recommendations and are suspending all face-to face work in Plant Clinic, Master Gardener meetings and other non-essential Master Gardener volunteer work, through June 13, unless extended or terminated earlier.

Q: What’s happening with Master Gardener Plant Clinics? (UPDATED 5/18/2020)
A: Currently program staff and faculty are responding to phone and email inquiries or delegating them to Master Gardeners. Clients may also submit their questions to the Ask an Expert virtual Q&A (https://extension.oregonstate.edu/ask-expert). Currently we are trying out a virtual plant clinic dashboard for volunteers to collaborate and communicate with clients online.

Q: What is happening with 2020 Master Gardener training class? (UPDATED 5/18/2020)
A: We want new trainees to stay happy and healthy while achieving their goals with the program. Master Gardener in-person classes moved entirely online, with students having the option to defer enrollment to 2020. A majority of trainees stayed with the program and completed their courses. Trainees are also being offered online courses in volunteering skills and using plant clinic dashboard.

Q: What about meeting and working with mentors & mentees? (UPDATED 5/18/2020)
A: Mentors and trainees can meet over Zoom via a link in Plant Clinic Dashboard. Mentors and trainees are also connecting informally via Plant Problem Show and Tell Zooms (see your eNewsletter for details). If needed we may offer alternate or extended volunteering plans allowing folks to stay healthy and still be certified as Master Gardener volunteers. Stand by for more details soon.

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