June 29, 2020 - 8:24pm -- newman.221@osu.edu

We’re happy to share we’ve received approval from Ohio State University leadership to resume in-person 4-H club meetings and activities starting immediately. This is welcome news for our 3,039 Ohio 4-H clubs across the state. Ohio 4-H clubs that choose to begin meeting in-person must follow the guidelines listed below to promote the health and safety of our 4-H community, as we face the challenge of COVID-19.

Clubs choosing to meet in-person should provide virtual connection options for members who have that preference. Please note that in-person 4-H club meetings, activities and other events may be suspended at any time if local, state, federal, and/or university authorities issue new restrictions. 4-H meetings and activities can only be held in person if Ohio 4-H Planning Guide for In-Person Meetings & Events guidelines can be followed.

The Ohio 4-H Planning Guide for In-Person Meetings & Events guidelines provide expectations for all members, volunteers, and their families while participating in 4-H club meetings and activities. County and Independent Fairs work closely with Ohio 4-H / The Ohio State University, but are separate entities and follow different guidance. When 4-H members and volunteers participate in Junior Fair animal activities, they follow guidance from these local partners, as Ag Societies have the responsibility for the Junior Fair. 4-H non-livestock project judging that takes place during the fair is conducted by OSU Extension and must follow Ohio 4-H Planning Guide for In-Person Meetings & Events guidance.

The Clark County OSU Extension office is open to the public Mondays and Wednesdays, 11:00 a.m.to 3:00 p.m. and by appointment, We will continue to send information to you via e-mail and text message blasts and posts to our website at http://clark.osu.edu.  All of the Ohio 4-H Planning Guidelines for In-Person Meetings  & Events are posted at http://clark.osu.edu You will also find the guidelines, a tip sheet and resources at ohio4h.org/families/stay-connected. Ohio 4-H teen leaders are developing video tutorials to assist educating club members on the in-person meeting expectations and will share those as they are available. When possible, we encourage OSU Extension programs, meetings, and events to meet virtually.

Ohio 4-H Planning Guide for In-person Meetings & Events

As we return to in-person 4-H activities, the following principles will be used:

  • The health and safety of the 4-H community is our priority.
  • Transparency is essential – clear expectations must be communicated in a timely manner.
  • Be flexible – continue to provide options, including virtual ones, for participation to provide 4-H members and families with a safe environment given their individual circumstances, while maintaining inclusivity and flexibility for all.

We know concerns about the spread of COVID-19 have changed how people interact with one other. Because of this, those who organize meetings and events have a responsibility to consider the health and safety of attendees. This document provides guidance for how to lead and conduct OSU Extension / 4-H meetings and events.

General Considerations

As you restart in-person 4-H activities, the following considerations will assist with your planning.

  • Time
    • Consider limiting the length of meetings and events, particularly those that take place indoors, and the length of time people will be in contact with one another. Sustained contact provides an increased opportunity for virus transmission.
  • Place
    • Consider the guidance from your local county health department regarding locations where you meet, as well as where attendees may be coming from.
  • People
    • Consider the overall number of attendees and whether this includes individuals (including other individuals in their home) who may be at a higher risk of serious illness if they develop COVID-19. The CDC cautions that gatherings with more than 250 people have a higher risk of coronavirus transmission and the state of Ohio has place limitations on the size of gatherings.
  • Space
    • Consider hosting meetings and activities outdoors when possible. Continue to offer options for virtual engagement when individuals request it.
    • Consider the types of interactions that occur at the event and if contact between attendees can be limited.
    • Maintain six feet of distancing between individuals whenever feasible.
    • Masks are an effective means of preventing transmission from people who feel fine, but are not showing symptoms and have the ability to infect others.

Meeting Planning

Meeting Notices

In advance of meetings, it is important to send notices to parents and members outlining expectations for participation. The notice should include the following information:

  • State that members and/or family members cannot attend the meeting if they or anyone living their household is experiencing any of the following symptoms: fever, cough, or shortness of breath.
  • Provide an option for members to participate virtually.
  • Note that physical distancing will be practiced by maintaining a six-foot distance between people.
  • We expect face masks will be properly worn during the 4-H meeting.
  • Encourage participants to bring their own snacks and drinks for the meeting.

Attendance

Take attendance at the meeting or event by checking off names on a roster. Do not pass around a paper for individuals to sign or have members sign-in. This attendance record must be kept in case someone attending the meeting/event contracts COVID-19 and information is needed for contact tracing. Attendance records must be kept for at least six months beyond the date of the meeting/event.

Quarantine and Isolation

Any individual (e.g., member, club leader) who develops symptoms of COVID-19, must immediately isolate, seek medical care, and take the following steps:

  • Contact the local health department about suspected cases or exposures.
    • Work with local health department to identify potentially infected or exposed individuals to help facilitate effective contact tracing.
  • Attend 4-H club activities virtually.
  • Notify your county OSU Extension professional, who will notify the State 4-H Office.
    • County office will notify club members and families per standard protocol for notification of communicable diseases.
    • If the individual who developed symptoms attended a club meeting or activity, the club should stop all in-person club activities for 14 days following the exposure, meet only virtually, and notify club members to monitor for symptoms.
    • The State 4-H Office will follow university reporting and contact tracing protocols.

Any individual (e.g., member, club leader) who learns they have been exposed to an individual (e.g., family member, friend) with COVID-19, must immediately quarantine for 14 days and:

  • Attend 4-H club activities virtually while in quarantine.
  • Notify your county OSU Extension professional, who will notify the State 4-H Office.
    • County office will notify club members and families per standard protocol for notification of communicable diseases.  
    • The State 4-H Office will follow university reporting protocols.

Physical Space Design

Plan ahead. There are many factors to consider regarding the need for six-foot physical distancing and the number of people a gathering space can accommodate. Consider the following when choosing meeting/event spaces:

  • Can the event take place outside? Open air appears to reduce the risk of spreading airborne illness.
  • What is the normal maximum occupancy of the space?
    • To provide six feet of physical distance between individuals, the occupancy of meeting spaces must be decreased by half. For example, a space with a posted maximum occupancy of 100 people would need to be adjusted to a maximum of 50 people.
    • If you need to estimate the capacity of a space, allow 30 square feet per person.
  • Is there access to a clean restroom for participants, including soap and water for washing hands?
  • Set up tables and chairs to provide six-feet physical distancing. Moving chairs is discouraged.
    • If seating is fixed, mark those seats that are off limits (e.g., use tape to indicate “don’t sit here” spaces in grandstand seating).
  • Modified layouts can help attendees keep their distance from others.

Educational Materials

Provide participants with their own copies of educational materials. If you plan to use an activity that requires passing an item around, you should revise the activity. For example, the item should be big enough to be viewed from a distance, or a sample or picture needs to be available for each participant.

Food and Drinks at Meetings

Encourage each attendee to bring their own drinks and snacks instead of providing shared options at meetings. Potlucks and buffets are highly discouraged.

PPE (Personal Protective Equipment)

Face Masks

Face masks are expected to be worn at all 4-H in-person meetings and events. Face masks refer to disposable procedure masks or cloth face coverings, not surgical or N-95 respirators. They should fit snuggly around the mouth and nose and be worn appropriately to be effective. Remember – it is possible to have COVID-19, not exhibit any symptoms and transmit the virus to others.  Wearing a face mask is a measure to protect others.

Face masks are required at the following events: individual interviews, skill-a-thon, and other judging events that may accidentally result in less than 6-foot social distancing space.

Cloth Face Covering Patterns

There are many ways in which you can make a cloth face covering. The CDC offers several different options to make a cloth mask including a sewn mask, a quick-cut t-shirt mask, and a bandana cloth face covering. These patterns can be found at: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/how-to-make-cloth-face-covering.html

Sanitizing Stations and Schedules

All entrance/exit door handles for the meeting location and the doors handles of any accessible restrooms and any other high-touch surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected with an EPA-registered cleaner-disinfectant before and after the meeting.

All tables and chairs should be cleaned and disinfected before and after use. Before and after will be defined by the meeting or event:

  • Meetings: if you have a two-hour meeting and individuals sit at the same table and chair for the duration, “before” is prior to the start of the meeting, “after” is the conclusion of the meeting.
  • Events: if you have scheduled times for youth to participate in an interview, skill-a-thon, or judging event, then tables, chairs, and equipment should be sanitized before the event, after use by each individual, and after the conclusion of the event.

If you are unable to find an EPA-registered cleaner-disinfectant, the following bleach solutions may be used:

  • 5 tablespoons (1/3 cup) bleach per gallon of water OR
  • 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water

Additional tips for cleaning and disinfecting tables and chairs include:

  • Check the label to see if your bleach is intended for disinfection and
    confirm the product is not past its expiration date.
    • Some bleaches, such as those designed for safe use on colored clothing or for whitening, may not be suitable for disinfection.
  • Follow manufacturer’s instructions for application and proper ventilation.
  • Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser.
  • Wear disposable gloves when handling bleach solutions.
    • Use nitrile gloves rather than latex, since some people have a latex allergy.
  • Leave solution on the surface for at least 1 minute.
  • Bleach solutions will be effective for disinfection up to 24 hours.
  • Alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol may also be used.

Practice Good Hygiene

  • Wash your hands often, with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after touching any frequently used item or surface.
  • Avoid touching your face or others in attendance.
  • Sneeze or cough into a tissue or the inside of your elbow.
  • Provide tissues and make sure there is a wastebasket to dispose of used tissues.
  • Provide hand sanitizer that contains at least 70% alcohol at a registration table or at a table near the entrance of the meeting room.

Monitor Your Health

  • Be alert for symptoms: fever, cough, shortness of breath.
  • Do not attend in-person activities if you or anyone living in your household is experiencing symptoms associated with the COVID-19 or any other communicable illness.
  • Follow CDC/ODH guidance if symptoms develop.
  • Refer to the Quarantine and Isolation instructions on pp. 2-3.

Signage

All in-person 4-H meetings and events are required to have the following signs posted. This is to provide clear communication and transparency regarding the measures 4-H is recommending to promote the safety of the community.

Sign Post Location Available at
4-H Event Guidelines Entry and Exit doors
Registration tables
Throughout the space, if feasible

http://clark.osu.edu

and

ohio4h.org/families/stay-connected

 

Sanitizing Stations At each activity/judging stateion
Hand Washing Poster Entry to restrooms
Above restroom sinks
Watch Your Step! Poster and Where to Stand Templates Entry and Exit doors
Registration tables
Throughout the space if feasible
How COVID-19 Spreads Entry and Exit Doors