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4H dealing with affects of the Coronavirus

The outbreak of COVID-19 has left Pearl River County’s 4H in the same boat as other programs across the state; events are now canceled and members were asked to stay home.

Pearl River County Extension Agent Alex Shook said all meetings and club activities have been postponed until May 10.

The date is subject to change, but Shook said 4H is in the same situation as other organizations in the county as actions are taken to try and minimize the spread of the latest strain of the Coronavirus. However, Shook said the organization has been using Facebook as a way to stay connected with members.

Information can be passed along digitally while also giving members activities to do at home.

“We’re posting fact sheets and different documents there from the CDC to try and facilitate sharing of information to the public,” Shook said.

4H was in the middle of its shooting sports season, which includes air rifle shooting and .22 rifle shooting among other disciplines.

There were several multi-county competitions set to take place in Lamar County, Clarke County and Jasper County that have now been canceled.

“It’s been brought to a standstill for the moment until the state can get a handle on the COVID-19 stuff. I’m sure there’s some disappointment (for members) as there is among all youth engaged in all activities and sports,” Shook said.

Not only have competitions been cancelled, but members will also have a hard time practicing their specific discipline while at home.

Shook said some members might have the necessary equipment to practice safely at home. However, 4Hers have to practice under the direction of a certified 4H coach for a certain amount of hours before they can then qualify for a district shoot.

Shook said given the circumstances the hourly requirement might be modified to give members an opportunity to qualify for a shoot when the suspension of activities is lifted.

“With it being postponed we’ll look at all options in terms of if they’re going to offer that contest, then we’ll make arrangements for kids to meet the requirements,” Shook said.

It’s still unknown if events originally scheduled during the time period leading up to May 10 will be rescheduled.

Shook said the organization is doing it’s best to keep members informed as new developments occur and will continue to do so as long as necessary. “There’s still some uncertainty about how long it’ll take to get through this COVID-19, so we certainly want to be part of the solution and not the problem. We’re not facilitating or encouraging any of the 4H groups in Pearl River County to meet during that time,” Shook said.