You are essential!

The headline on the Michigan State University main page read, “MSU suspends classes Jan. 6; only essential staff should report.” Afterward, I heard many comments including “I’ve never been so happy to be nonessential.” Regarding on-campus emergency alerts, MSU Extension staff should consider themselves nonessential. But regarding every other area, you all should consider yourselves absolutely essential to our organization. You have an indispensable part in carrying out our programs and vision. You are important to us and we need you to take care in inclement weather. Most made it back to work this week. Thank you for coming in. I know that many of you braved treacherous roads, and many of you needed to find day care for your children.

Weather conditions can vary considerably across the state. And staff in those parts of the state that are more accustomed to 16-inch snowfalls may have been surprised by the unusual responses that such a snowfall generated in East Lansing. Because of those differences, it is important that staff members are aware of the conditions where they report to work. For those who work in a county or other off-campus location, you should follow directions set at that location. If county government declares that their offices are closed, then MSU Extension staff, whether county or MSU employees, should not report to work at the office. If the county office is open, but staff are concerned about the safety of getting to work, they should address that with their district coordinator. And when in doubt, the best approach is to contact your district coordinator for direction on whether you are expected to report to work or not under unusual weather conditions.

As the winter season continues, make sure you have proper supplies in your car. Pack your vehicle with a blanket, water, snacks and a shovel. Check out this Weather Channel Web page, which lists 10 things to keep in your car to be prepared for extreme winter weather: http://www.weather.com/life/safety/autosafety/article/winter-survival-kit_2011-10-30

You are important to us and we want you to arrive safely.

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