4-H kicks off school year with added precautions

TRI-COUNTY — 4-H events in Presidio County are kicking off this week, with the goal of enrolling area students in 4-H clubs and getting them interested in animal husbandry and other agricultural issues. And as an added bonus, organizers are promising fun and games.

The Rio Grande 4-H Club will hold its event at the Presidio Activity Center Thursday, Sept. 24 at 5:30 p.m. Then, on Friday, Marfa 4-H will hold its own event at 5:30 p.m. at the Marfa Agriculture Barn. Both events will have snacks and drinks, and anyone with questions is asked to contact Matlin Sain, the county Agrilife extension agent for Presidio County, at matlin.sain@ag.tamu.edu.

In light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, both masks and social distancing are required at the events. (Though Governor Greg Abbott’s order bars mask requirements for children under 10, Agrilife is strongly encouraging all attendees to wear one.) Attendees will also need to sign a COVID-19 screening form with the goal of adding another layer of protection.

That form asks attendees to please adhere to social distancing protocols at the event. It also asks them to affirm that they haven’t had any coronavirus symptoms or been in contact with someone confirmed to have the virus.

“The virus that causes COVID-19 is still circulating in our communities,” the form warns. It asks people to acknowledge that coronavirus can spread even from people without symptoms — and that given the “the hidden nature of this threat,” everyone “should rigorously follow the practices specified in the DSHS protocols.”

The document also acts as a kind of liability form. “AgriLife Extension cannot guarantee that I will not contract the virus,” the form says, “even when implementing screening protocols.” It asks people to acknowledge that “safety is a shared duty, COVID-19 is a shared risk, and all community members, including visitors, must take steps to promote health and safety.”