University of Minnesota Extension will cancel its in-person programs statewide for two weeks to help reduce the number of Minnesota settings in which potential spread of COVID-19 could occur.

The cancellation is effective through March 31 and Extension leaders will re-evaluate plans for future programs at that time. The Extension announcement applies to all in-person programs and meetings, whether they are offered on a county, regional or statewide basis. Extension’s online programs will take place as scheduled and some in-person events may be moved online.

Although the cancellations statewide take effect Monday, March 16, they include the Extension and Minnesota State farm transition and estate planning multi-generational planning retreat in Alexandria that was scheduled for Friday-Saturday, March 13-14. Those who registered online through Eventbrite will have their registration fee refunded.

Locally, the following horticulture programming has been canceled:

  • Tuesday, March 17: The initial session of TakeAway Tuesday, a class highlighting seed starting, and the Brown Bag Lunch and Learn session featuring garden tools
  • Tuesday, March 31: Brown Bag Lunch and Learn on tomatoes and peppers

Extension is the research, outreach and education arm of the university. Earlier this week, the university announced that for-credit coursework on all five University of Minnesota campuses will be delivered through alternative instruction beginning next week.

The Extension cancellation includes a variety of areas including:

  • Minnesota 4-H and related youth development programs
  • Extension Master Gardeners and Extension Master Naturalists
  • Nutrition programs offered via SNAP-Ed, the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program and Cooking Matters.
  • Educational workshops and programs in agriculture, natural resources, food safety and community vitality and development
  • Programs conducted through the Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships

No decision has been made on whether the 25th annual Let's Get Growing workshop will go on as scheduled on Saturday, April 4.

The spring horticulture education day at Discovery Middle School in Alexandria, put on by the Douglas County University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardeners, is a popular event. Its status will be evaluated and the Extension office will make an announcement as soon as that decision is made, said Robin Trott, an extension educator in Douglas County.

Extension’s county, regional and statewide offices remain open and employees will be at work.

Updates will be provided at extension.umn.edu, as well as Extension’s Facebook and Twitter pages, www.facebook.com/UofMExt and @umnext.

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