BEATRICE - The National Park Service has modified operations, until further notice, due to the coronavirus. The Homestead National Monument of America's Education and Heritage Centers west of Beatrice are closed.

The NPS is focused on following the most current guidance from the CDC, and other state and local agencies. Homestead Superintendent Mark Engler says outdoor areas at the monument can still be used.

"Hiking trails, picnic areas and other outdoor spaces are open. The Homestead Education Center, Homestead Heritage Center and Palmer-Epard Cabin, right now, are closed. The health and safety of the National Park Service visitors, employees and volunteers and partners are our number one priority".

Visitor services, other than those of public and resource protection are limited or suspended. Engler said there will be some digital programming provided.

"We invite people to follow us on Facebook or on our website to learn more about program opportunities that people can participate in".

Engler says decisions have not yet been made about whether the monument will host upcoming events such as the Tallgrass Prairie Fiddle Festival, and Homestead Days activities.

When considering a visit to a national park, the National Park Service is asking people to act responsibly with regards to CDC, state and local guidelines to prevent the spread of infectious diseases.

For high-risk populations, such as the elderly and people with underlying conditions, Park service personnel ask that they take extra caution and follow CDC guidance for those at higher risk of serious illness.