Author ORCID Identifier



Cooperative Extension Systems (CESs) provide programming to early care and education (ECE) professionals. The COVID-19 pandemic significantly impacted the needs of ECE professionals. The purpose of this study was to document how CESs helped ECE professionals respond to the pandemic during its first year and how Extension programming was altered in response to the pandemic. Between March and June 2020, representatives from all 87 CESs in the 50 U.S. states; Washington, DC; and six U.S. territories were invited to complete an online survey that included six questions about the pandemic. We received responses from 43 CESs (49% response rate). The analytic sample (n=30) included only CESs that offer programming for ECE professionals. Most CESs (73%) offered programming to help ECE professionals respond to the pandemic, and informal needs assessment methods were used to make programming decisions. A variety of media were used to disseminate information, including email, Extension websites, social media, print media, video conferencing, and phone calls. In response to the pandemic, most CES (80%) moved in-person programming online. Moving forward, Extension professionals should incorporate systematic needs assessment and evaluation efforts to ensure programming meets the needs of those we aim to serve.



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