Agents and Coordinators,
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent restrictions imposed by our Governor’s Executive Orders and directives from VCE executive leadership, we are uncertain about when Extension Master Gardeners (EMG) will be able to start volunteering again. As a result, the State EMG Office has put the following policies into place for 2020:
- For 2020 only, we are suspending the 20 volunteer hour requirement for Extension Master Gardeners.
- For any active Extension Master Gardener who does not complete their 20 hour requirement in 2020, their status as an EMG will not be affected for 2021.
- For 2020 only, we are extending the timeframe for Extension Master Gardener Interns to complete their required 50 volunteer hours.
- For any Intern who does not complete their 50 hour requirement in 2020, they should be given an extra 6 – 12 months in 2021 to complete their remaining hours.
- The local VCE unit office should determine the length of the extension based on when their EMG training took place in 2019 or 2020. The local office should also factor in other extenuating circumstances on a case by case basis.
- The 8 hour requirement for continuing education will remain in place in 2020.
- There are a number of online sources for continuing education our volunteers can make use of, including this list on the EMG website: https://mastergardener.ext.vt.edu/ce/.
- Master Gardener College will be held online this year and will be another good education opportunity for our volunteers. Registration will open in early May and College will run from June 25 – 28, 2020. All sessions will be recorded and available for later viewing by registrants.
We know these are unusual times and want to ensure that our volunteers are kept safe and healthy during the pandemic. We know that Governor Northam and Drs. Jones and McKinnie are exercising their best judgement in the decisions they are making in order to keep all of our citizens, including Extension faculty, staff, and volunteers, safe and healthy to the extent they can. Likewise, our team wants to ensure the health and safety of our EMG volunteers and the clients you serve to the extent we can. Thank you for your understanding and flexibility. Stay safe and healthy. And as always, our sincerest gratitude for all you do on behalf of VCE and the Extension Master Gardener Program.
The EMG State Office