By: Tory Moore, firstname.lastname@example.org
Due to COVID-19, all pesticide license testing in Florida was suspended for more than six weeks. Now that the state has started to reactivate services, testing will resume at select UF/IFAS Extension offices on Monday, May 18.
Not all testing locations will open on May 18. Due to the number of COVID-19 cases in certain regions, some counties are opening services more slowly than others, and this will impact where UF/IFAS Extension can test. If your county Extension office is not yet open for testing, you may be required to travel to a county that is offering these services. Visit the UF/IFAS Pesticide Information Office’s website where the status of testing sites are monitored and updated in real time.
“We know that many of you are in great need of testing services so you can resume professional activities,” said Jason Ferrell, director of the UF/IFAS Pesticide Information Office. “We are working to address these needs while complying with both state and local ordinances. Please be patient with our staff as we reactivate these programs.”
Testing is currently operating by appointment only, and walk-ins will likely be turned away as a health precaution to control crowd size and maintain social distancing. There will also be requirements for your safety and the safety of others, which will be explained when you call to make your appointment. Participant safety is of highest concern, and it is highly recommended that you wear a face covering throughout the exam.
At the onset of COVID-19 closures, UF/IFAS and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) explored ways to move testing online, which would allow applicators to take the test without visiting a testing location.
“Online testing is still a priority for UF/IFAS and FDACS, but we could not make it a ‘right now’ solution,” Jay said. “This endeavor will take much longer than six weeks, but we are excited to begin reopening testing locations to keep you working.”