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COVID-19 Rapid Response: Developing the Technology of Pandemic Responses for Garden Centers and Nurseries


The Spring 2020 COVID-19 pandemic has caused deaths and significant injuries to humans and the economy in the US and worldwide. The current situation is that no effective cure/vaccine is readily available, and the disease is likely to reoccur until 2024. Garden centers are essential businesses, and those with resources have implemented a series of measures, such as online/phone ordering, home delivery and curbside pickups. But for many garden centers in small rural towns, on-site shopping is the only feasible mode of operation. The goal of project is to capitalize on all the resources at TSU and our biotech partners to provide a workable system that will protect these garden centers from potential COVID-19 threats and provide a safe shopping place for customers. The project is divided into two phases. Phase I focuses on the following objectives: 1) Use diagnostic testing to ensure the safety of the employees and business sites; 2) Install automatic infrared temperature stations customized to the outdoor environment in garden centers; using temperature screening to prevent unintended entry of contagions; 3) Implement Best Management Practices to ensure businesses are in compliance with the guidelines from respective government agencies. Phase II focuses on extension activities involving development and distribution of technology-enhanced (VR/360° video) agricultural education packages.

Zhou, Suping
Tennessee State University
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