Coronavirus Disease 2019 - Nebraska Panhandle

Nebraska Extension's response to COVID-19 in western Nebraska

Panhandle Research, Extension and Education Center closes office

Due to the COVID-19 virus outbreak, the Panhandle Research and Extension Center has closed its office in Scottsbluff to walk-in traffic until further notice. The University of Nebraska–Lincoln has directed that all employees able to work from home will do so. In response to this directive, Panhandle Center Director Jack Whittier said the center has closed its offices to the public, while carrying on its work, allowing faculty and staff to work from home whenever possible. The Center’s doors are closed. But faculty and staff are carrying out research work and other essential functions to keep the building and activities running. Arrangements have been made to accept deliveries and mail.

The Panhandle Center’s main telephone number, 308-632-1230, is still available.

Calls are being forwarded to an employee who is working from home. Voicemails are checked frequently and responded to. People who need to contact faculty members or technical, support, or business staff may continue to use telephone or email as before.

County Extension Offices:

County-based Extension offices throughout the state are often co-located with county government offices, which are setting procedures for operating or closing during the outbreak. Extension clientele should check with their local office to determine their operating status. 

How about Extension teaching events?

Nebraska Extension has already cancelled all face-to-face teaching events statewide through at least May 9. However, Extension is finding other ways to deliver learning opportunities to Nebraskans. Many Extension programs will be available online.

Extension is still available to Nebraskans

“Nebraska Extension is still open for information, consultations, and problem-solving,” as Chuck Hibberd, Dean and Director of Nebraska Extension, puts it. The entire Nebraska Extension network of professionals is available, even while changes are made in office operations.

“Our objective, first and foremost, is the safety of our university community, safety of our loved ones and safety of the broader community we call home,” UNL Chancellor Ronnie Green said in a university-wide email sent March 18. “We know that social distancing provides the best opportunity to flatten the curve on the spread of COVID-19 and lessen the impact of this disease — both in numbers and the impact on our health care system.”

Information on cancellations, postponements, and other changes in Extension events

See your County Extension websites and also the Panhandle Extension Center’s website,

Nebraska Extension’s operations

See Nebraska Extension’s main website,

Check our topic websites: CropWatch is a central resource for University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension information on crop production and pest management. Information is organized into two key areas. The CropWatch newsletter includes timely articles published to the site's home page. New issues are published weekly during the heart of the crop production season and generally biweekly during the remainder of the year. The website also includes Crop-specific production and pest management sections. Extension’s beef website focuses on providing research-based information and resources to beef producers to help them provide an economical, safe, quality product to consumers while protecting and preserving Nebraska's natural resources. The site is organized to allow producers to find information specific to an area of interest. A faculty and staff expertise directory is provided. The Food website houses information on food, fitness and recipes, educational resources, food safety and preservation, local foods, and youth/4-H as well as links to the Nutrition Education Program, Food Allergy Research and Resource Program, Meat Products, and the Food Processing Center. This website from the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources has sections on groundwater, surface water, ag production, residential water use, and UNL units that work on water issues.

Trusted information about coronavirus:

U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) coronavirus page

CDC coronavirus fact sheets

University of Nebraska-Lincoln information page on Coronavirus

Panhandle Public Health District

Status of upcoming Extension Events:

Pesticide certification and chemigation training

Helping your children learn at home when schools are closed:

Living Room Learning | At-Home Virtual Learning for Youth in Grades 3-5

Learn from your living room with Nebraska 4-H! Join us each Tuesday and Thursday afternoon at 2pm CT/1pm MT to complete an activity from the comfort of your own home. Living Room Learning is targeted toward youth in grades 3-5 (along with their parents/caretakers!) and will provide a hands-on virtually guided activity where youth will learn more about healthy living, science, technology, and more! Each session, led by Nebraska Extension faculty/staff from across the state, will last approximately 30 minutes in length and will focus on a new activity that can be completed with materials found at home. Youth do not need to be current 4-H members to participate; Living Room Learning is a FREE program brought to you by Nebraska 4-H Youth Development.

Virtual & At-Home Learning Resources Web Page

A new resource web page with links to Virtual and At-Home Learning resources. Included on this page are links that may assist 4-H families, professionals, and volunteers:

  • Live Opportunities (including Living Room Learning)
  • On-Demand Experiences (including Cat Club)
  • 4-H Activity Guides (including Healthy Living Guide, Inspire Kids to Do, STEM Lab Activities)
  • More to come! Including Camp Resources