Welcome to Your Daily Briefing for Friday, March 27, 2020

Yesterday afternoon, the United States reached a critical milestone. Our country passed Italy and China as the nation with the most confirmed cases of COVID-19. Also announced yesterday, coronavirus-driven unemployment is at a record 3.28 million people.

Alabama Extension is playing a critical role in helping our clients sort through these developments and apply science to COVID-19 questions. Here are a few questions that we’ve dealt with today.

Hackers Taking Advantage of COVID-19

Hackers love chaos and are appearing to be more active using phishing and social engineering to compromise computers. They use terms such a “Track COVID-19 Cases Worldwide” or “See how many COVID-19 cases are in your neighborhood” with the infamous “click here.” Auburn University warns us to keep up our guard with the following tips: http://www.aces.edu/go/1209.

How to Use Zoom

We hope many of you have taken notice of all the educational opportunities that are being offered by webinars and videoconferencing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Alabama Extension uses the videoconferencing platform ZOOM for Internet-based conferencing. It is easy to use, but in case you still haven’t been in a Zoom Room, here are some points to get you started.

Connecting from a computer is as simple as entering the provided link into your preferred web browser. Webcams and microphones are not required to participate but can help you better engage with the presenter and other participants. Smartphone and tablet users are encouraged to download the Zoom app and then enter the link into the app. Audio-only participants may connect by phone by dialing the provided number(s).

If you have any trouble with the technology, visit the directory at aces.edu and contact your county Extension office. For more information on the Zoom videoconferencing platform go to http://www.zoom.com.

Lend a Helping Hand Safely

The world is facing unprecedented times with the coronavirus outbreak. In times like this, family, friends, and neighbors often look to each other for help and support. Even with social distancing measures in place, there are still ways people can lend a helping hand. We’ll tell you how to do it safely. http://www.aces.edu/go/1210.

Food Safety at Farmers Markets

Members of the Alabama Extension Food Safety and Quality team have developed a video series to teach both farmers market vendors and their customers important best practices during the coronavirus outbreak. Check out the videos here: http://www.aces.edu/go/1211.

7 Ways to Keep Your Kids Engaged

COVID-19 has had a significant impact on our daily lives. Children are now at home all day and night, and parents may feel overwhelmed with how to keep them engaged. The following are seven suggestions to help create structure and purpose. http://www.aces.edu/go/1212.

You Still Haven’t Completed the US Census?

Only 29 percent of the people in Alabama have completed the census. We’re ahead of the rest of the nation. Less than 28 percent of America has finished their homework. Let’s all use our unexpected downtime to complete Uncle Sam’s survey and be counted. In Alabama, each completed survey translates to about $1,600 in federal services. Plus, it helps plan how many people may need help during those unexpected emergencies like hurricanes and—viruses. Learn more at www.my2020census.gov.

Time to Focus on What’s Important

Developed in Japan in the 1980s, shinrin-yoku means taking in the forest atmosphere or forest bathing, and it is gaining popularity in the United States. When forest bathing, you probably will not get wet, and you might not even have to leave your own backyard. More than just a walk in the woods, it is a way to mindfully reconnect with nature, taking people out of the physical and mental structures in which we spend so much of our time. http://www.aces.edu/go/1213

Thoughts for the Weekend

Can’t quote him enough. Kent Stanford reminds us to “Go wash your nasty hands!”


And have a safe weekend.

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As the Bibb County Coordinator for Alabama Extension, Matthew D. Hartzell coordinates the implementation of all Extension programs in Bibb County in many program areas. These program areas include 4-H and Youth Development, Animal Sciences, Food Safety and Quality, Forestry, Wildlife and Natural Resources, Human Nutrition, Diet and Health, Family and Child Development, Family Resource Management and Workforce Development, Commercial Horticulture, Home Grounds, Gardens and Home Pests, Farm and Agribusiness Management, and Community and Economic Development. Hartzell has served in his current position for 12 years and held primary program assignments in Community and Economic Development, Human Nutrition, Diet and Health, and Forestry Wildlife and Natural Resources.