Dear 4-H members, families, & volunteers –
This has been a year unlike anything we’ve seen. And, while Wisconsin has done a good job of limiting the spread of COVID-19 in many communities, the virus is still spreading. We are basing our decisions on health guidance and none of us has a crystal ball. But with more than 30,000 youth in our programs, we are weighing the disappointment of not having a normal set of summer experiences against the need to take care of everyone in our communities. And, we are trying to strike a reasonable balance as we transition back to in-person programs.
- During this month of June, the preferred method of program delivery is “virtual/online” and most planning efforts should focus on these types of programs for the remainder of the summer.
- In June, we are also allowing some in-person but “No-contact” programs. “No-contact” programs are defined as programs that:
- cannot be conducted virtually
- are held outdoors
- have only one youth or household engaged at a time (Note: household members may help ensure a child is never alone with an adult)
- are staggered so there is no contact, if more than one youth/household is engaged, and any shared equipment is sanitized between uses
Some examples include:
- one-at-a-time/staggered times dog obedience training, horse riding lesson, or individual animal project work
- one household-at-a-time/staggered times community gardening and service projects
- supply sharing and sales using curb-side pick-up/delivery methods.
- Activities that clearly meet the “no-contact” guidelines will move forward. Work with your 4-H Educator to seek organizational approval. These will be the exception and not the rule. They will be limited to things that cannot be accomplished virtually.
WHEN READY – and no sooner than July 1, 4-H programs may begin for Small Groups with an approved plan
- We are currently planning to move to “small-group” meetings and activities of 10 or fewer people that allow social distancing. Before we can move to this phase, both staff and volunteers must be trained on safety procedures. Plans will need to be created using the Extension template and shared with the 4-H Program Educator who will seek organizational approval.
NEXT STEPS — Anything can happen, and we are open to making changes as conditions improve. We hope to scale up to larger groups of no more than 50 by the end of the summer. And it seems unlikely that 4-H will organize programs or participate in any activity or event with more than 50 participants for a considerable time.
REMINDER: Overnight camp and travel programs are cancelled through August.
Please know this a fluid situation and depending on how the summer progresses these plans and dates may need to be modified. Thank you for your continued patience and support as we all navigate these unprecedented times.
Dei & Matt
WI 4-H Program Manager
University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension
130 Pyle Center
702 Langdon Street
Madison, WI 53706