3/26 Update on Durham County Cooperative Extension Services During COVID-19 Pandemic

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In accordance with the State of Emergency declared by our State and County Government, and to help limit the spread of COVID-19 in North Carolina, Durham County Government is closing most County buildings on March 23, limiting services and focusing on essential functions. Updates for Durham County Government’s COVID-19 response can be found at: Durham County Government – Public Information
Programming Updates
Our building is closed to the public as of March 23 and staff is working remotely and will respond by phone and email. All events, training series, and workshops at  have been canceled or postponed. Some alternate remote learning methods will be used for some activities. Read on for available services below.
Services for Young Children
  • Our Welcome Baby program will provide Drive-Up Diaper pick-up for Durham County Welcome Baby clients in need with children ages 0-5. Families should drive to the back of the building at 721 Foster Street and should stay in their cars. Staff will provide the appropriately sized diapers. Some Giving Closet requirements will be waived. Pick up will take place on Fridays starting March 20, 2020, from 9–11:30 a.m. and 1:30–3:30 p.m. ONLY. Families should not arrive early. People who are sick should not attend. Staff will wear gloves and maintain appropriate social distance.
  • Car seat and crib distribution and training is available on an emergency basis for immediate needs only. Families or service providers must call 919-560-7150 to schedule an appointment. Appointments are only available on Fridays. 
Please note that Department of Social Services referrals to address any urgent clothing or supply needs for young children can be addressed on an as-needed emergency basis and would be fulfilled on Fridays only. County staff must call 919-560-7150 to explain the need and if available, staff will prepare items for client pick up. 
  • To make the time at home with kids more fun and productive, this week we will begin distributing a weekly email with activities for home learning. If you would like to subscribe to this email, please contact: durhamparentadvocacy@gmail.com
Gardening and Farming Services 
  • Gardening questions? You can still receive high-quality gardening advice through our Master Gardener℠ hotline at (919) 560-0528.
  • Farmers can call our Agriculture Agent, Ashley Troth, directly at 919-698-4138 for farm-related questions and consultation.
  • Our Briggs Avenue Community Garden is open on Friday and Saturday mornings for plot owners to access their food plots. Social distancing is operational and a handwashing station is available.
  • Durham Cooperative Extension is not currently accepting soil samples or distributing soil boxes at 721 Foster Street. If you need soil testing, Soil samples can be dropped off at the  NCDA lab in at the Agronomic Services Division’s Eaddy Building (soil testing lab) at 4300 Reedy Creek Road, Raleigh. Clients can pick up supplies and drop off samples from the loading dock. The front door is closed to all visitors. If necessary, NCDA&CS will invoice clients for sample fees. Questions can be directed to employees via an intercom. Starting 3/30/20, only samples deemed essential will be accepted – soil diagnostic; nematode diagnostic, pinewood and molecular diagnostic; plant tissue; solution; soilless media and waste samples not covered by the NCDEQ waiver on liquid waste. 
  • For more information on soil testing lab availability and updates, please visit the NCDA website for Covid-19 updates, or contact the Master Gardener hotline or Ashley Troth.
  • Even without soil testing, your garden will always appreciate a healthy dose of organic matter. Untreated lawn clippings, shredded leaves and compost all make great additions to garden soil, and can be mixed in to a depth of 4 inches. Apply unaged products sparingly and only to the top of the soil. To learn more about soil health in the Piedmont and composting, check out the Extension Gardener Handbook, available for free online. 
Information Technology Challenges
Durham County Government experienced a malware attack on March 6. As a result, N.C. Cooperative Extension of Durham County employees do not have access to their email accounts at this time. Unfortunately, any email that was sent to an @dconc address since March 6 has not been seen by your recipient. However, some employees can be contacted through their NC State University email addresses. These are listed below. To reach other employees, please call our main number at 919-560-0525.

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Main number (919) 560-0525
Welcome Baby (919) 560-7150
Master Gardener Advice Line (919) 560-0528
Twitter:  @DurhamExtension