March 18, 2020 - 5:27pm --

Remaining Social Through Social Distancing

Over the past week the world has become a different place. Depending on who you choose to talk to, what you read, and where you live, the magnitude of the messaging you receive about how we as a society should be responding to concerns with the outbreak of COVID-19 varies. With advice dished out from the most reliable sources of public health information we have suggesting social distancing at this point in time, it certainly sounds like a legitimate precaution through the eyes of The Ohio State University.

Rest assured that your Noble County Extension Office is still here to meet your needs as a community, although our protocol for how we do that will be changed in the upcoming weeks. We encourage you to continue communicating your needs in the areas of ANR, 4-H, CD, and FCS so that we can effectively address them. However, we encourage you to do so on the phone, by email, video chat, or the US Postal Service.

One of the best ways to prevent the spread of viral illnesses is to minimize the circumstances in which individuals might interact and transmit the diseases. The safety of our community is our top priority. We realize that our COVID-19 policy guidelines will cause disruption, but the risk of not acting outweighs the inconvenience of these temporary measures. We will share updates as more information becomes available. You can learn more about what OSU is doing to protect our students, staff, and community:

I will continue to answer phone calls, emails, write for publications, and remain active on social media. My goals during this time are to produce educational videos/presentations frequently to be distributed through email, Facebook, and YouTube. I also plan to go live on Facebook once a day every weekday to keep in contact with you about current events in agriculture and on the farm. Farm visits are also deemed allowable at this point, at our personal discretion.

Social distancing is encouraged right now, but that doesn’t mean we should be anti-social. We just need to be a little more creative. Here are some of my ideas to keep busy at home while staying healthy and happy:

  • Read some books. Some just for fun and some for business.
  • Watch the wildlife and share your sightings with the Ohio Division of Wildlife.
  • Build a birdhouse/feeder/batbox.
  • Smell the spring flowers that are starting to emerge.
  • Plan your garden and start seeds.
  • Send greeting cards and letters to each other. Pen pals are still in style!
  • Cook at home and sit-down to enjoy a meal with your immediate family without distractions like the TV or cell-phones.
  • Play a game/complete a puzzle/write a funny story. On your own or with your family.
  • Call your friends and neighbors to chit chat.

Life as we know it doesn’t have to stop. It just needs to slow down right now.

If you are still wondering what you should buy at the store, consider if you are personally healthy enough to risk exposure to illness before you go shopping. If yes, shop during non-peak hours. Ask people who are high risk what you can pick up for them while you are out and drop it off for them. Be sure to wash your hands after touching common space items and minimize physical interaction with people who are considered at risk when you see them.

With the plan to stay home as much as possible, some things I made sure to have on hand that don’t fit today’s trends are and would recommend to you (in sensible amounts!) are:

  • Pet/Livestock Feed & Medications
  • Milk
  • First Aid Kit
  • Stamps
  • Batteries
  • Laundry Detergent
  • Home Maintenance Supplies
  • Craft Supplies
  • Garden supplies

This social stress won’t last forever. In the meantime, let’s be smart and courteous while still appreciating the things that make us happy and the people we love. I look forward to seeing the unity that is created in our community as we address this public health concern together.

Upcoming Events

All prescheduled ANR programming in Noble County between now and April 20th has been canceled or will be postponed after local concerns about illnesses have passed. Please continue to reach out for assistance in the fields of agriculture and natural resources by contacting Christine Gelley directly by phone at 740-305-3173 or for email. Follow Noble County ANR on Twitter at and on the county page on Facebook at We will continue to keep you informed with time relevant information. The safety of our community is OSU’s top priority. I look forward to meeting in-person with you at programs later this spring.

Sincerely, Christine Gelley- Noble County ANR Extension Educator