Chapter 9

Pandemic Event


The purpose of the Pandemic Event Policy is to prepare and plan for the possibility of pandemic influenza. This document is to help BVU's pandemic planning by establishing a common set of assumptions. These are only assumptions; pandemics are unpredictable and there is no way to know the characteristics of a pandemic virus before it emerges.


The planning assumptions are reasonable worst-case scenarios. We all hope that the next pandemic is no worse than the one in 1968, which had a relatively small impact. However, our plans will be most useful if we prepare for the high risk pandemic predicted by reasonable public health experts. (*) An extreme 1918-like scenario is not considered here, nor is considered likely. So, keep in mind that these assumptions depend on the severity of a pandemic outbreak.

  • The assumption is that the first pandemic influenza outbreak will occur outside the United States, mostly likely in South East Asia. The pandemic's first impact will likely be to students and/or faculty who travel abroad, or plan to do so. WHO,CDC, and BVU will impose travel restrictions. BVU may call people back and cancel planned travel. As with SARS, international travelers will be subject to restrictions and screening.
  • The assumption is that, in the U.S., the pandemic influenza wave will last approximately 10 weeks, during which multiple community outbreaks will occur across the country. (10 weeks is the average of 8 to 13 weeks, which is the estimated wave length).
  • The assumption is the wave will occur during the fall or spring semester. (Historically, the largest waves will have occurred in the fall and winter, but the seasonality of a pandemic can not be predicted with any certainty.)
  • The assumption is the first U.S. outbreak will occur in major metropolitan areas where there is a high rate of international travel.
  • The assumption is that on their own initiative, BVU students may begin to leave campus when the first outbreaks occur.
  • The assumption is that the outbreak will last 6 to 8 weeks.
  • The assumption is that we should expect to suspend classes for 7 to 10 weeks if a severe outbreak occurs.
  • The assumption is that a pandemic will have an impact from a community outbreak to employees who will choose to stay home, and employees who need to stay home to care for children or family members.
  • The assumption is that absenteeism may reach 40 percent for periods of approximately 2 weeks at the height of the pandemic wave, with lower levels of staff absent for a few weeks on either side of the peak.
    • More Pessimistic Scenario: Employee absenteeism may be worse. Certain public health measures (closing schools, isolation of household contacts of infected individuals) are likely to increase rates of absenteeism. A study by Harvard School of public Health suggests that approximately 70% of the public will choose to remain at home in an influenza pandemic.
    • More Optimistic Scenario: Absenteeism may be less severe Public Health Officials are planning several measures to “quench” through “hotspot: control a pandemic, which would result in few infections.

(*) A pandemic's severity depends on influenza's transmissibility, morbidity, and mortality. H5N1 influenza appears to have a high human case fatality rate (over 50%), but experts believe that even a severe pandemic would have a much lower case fatality rate. CDC's pandemic model uses attack rates (people with clinical cases) of 15-35%, which compare to 20, 25 and 40% for seasonal flue, the 1057 Pandemic and the 1918 Pandemic, respectively. CDC's model uses case fatality rates of 0.2-0.4%, which compare to 0.008,0.2 and 2.5% for seasonal flue, the 1957 pandemic and the 10918 pandemic, respectively.

Continuity of Operations during a Pandemic

  • During the period of contagion (wave), assume there will be significant economic disruptions, including inventory shortages, shipment delays, and reduced business activity. Critical supplies may not be available. International shipments and travel may be severely curtailed.
  • For the purposes of fiscal impact planning, BVU assumes that there will be two 10 week waves, one each during the fall and spring semester. In each wave, BVU will suspend classes and be otherwise impacted for a period of 7-10 weeks.
  • Essential functions must continue. Personnel who support remaining BVU essential functions must report to work, if they have not been exposed.
  • Assume that contagious employees will come to work, both asymptomatic and symptomatic employees who feel compelled to work. Steps need to be taken to minimize this risk.
  • For planning purposes, assume that 20 percent of BVU leadership positions become ill, and can not perform their duties.
  • After the wave has passed, assume that resumption of normal campus activities will be slow and difficult. There may be losses of loved ones, friends, and coworkers. Those who become ill and survive may take months to fully recover. Exhausted caregivers will need rest, time off to get their affairs in order, and mental health support. Business will be slow to recover, slow to replenish inventories, and slow to replace labor. Economic losses during the pandemic may be severe.

Organization and Responsibilities

  1. Response to a pandemic event shall be carried out under the general direction of the EOT.
  1. The Director of Health Services will be responsible for monitoring current events and trends of a pandemic event.

  Concept of Operations

  1. Upon receipt of current information and recommendations by Government Officials, the University will refer to and implement established procedures. These will include but are not limited to the attached Checklist and Levels. Realizing the University may go straight to level (3).

Pandemic Event Check List

Level 1

  • Activate Assessment Team See Emergency Management Plan
  • Establish a structure for recording and reporting key activities, events, and decisions made during the crisis and a method for evaluating the effectiveness of the execution of the emergency response once in recovery.
  • Monitor situation through any an all means, I.e. public health etc. BVU Health Services Monitor all resources (CDC, WHO, ACHA websites for the latest developments and updates on planning recommendations & local public health department).
  • Contact Media Relations Director of Marketing and Communications
    • Calling tree
    • Means of communication with students, staff, faculty, parents & outside consistencies including Internet, landlines and cell phones, postering and hand radios.
    • Website: status of planning
    • Establish communication with Public Health
  • Monitor travel by Students, staff and faculty. Prepare lists and scheduled travel plans (includes international students) VPAA/Associate Dean of Faculty and VP Student Services and Dean of Students determine locations of faculty/staff//student study groups and travel schedules, advising appropriately. This includes incoming visitor groups to campus i.e. ACES.
  • Consider restricting movement on/off campus for activities/athletic events. Assessment team considers restricting movement on/off campus. 
  • Inventory and increase stockpiles of food, water, paper products etc. Sodexho Inventory and stockpile food. ($) & health services appendix A)($)
  • Ensure food delivery process and supplies are planned. Sodexho plan for ensuring food delivery process.
  • Ensure adequate supplies for health care. BVU Health Services ensuring adequate supplies ($) Appendix A N95 respirators (essential personnel i.e. health services, security)
  • Training/Information of Avian Flu BVU Health Services/UMC prepare website/training/information Appendix C ACHA, NCAA, Athletic Directors of other colleges sample #2 and FAQ's from American College Health Association guidelines
  • Initiate campaign on self-protection. UMC initiate campaign for self protection through website; Health Services through educational booths and trainings etc.
  • Create procedure on transporting individual(s) to hospital. Campus Security provide transportation to BVRMC when needed
  • Draft internal/external bulletins and announcements. UMC draft bulletins and announcements. Consider Appendix C sample #1
  • Identify potential rooms/buildings to be used for quarantined students. Facilities Management/Health Services/Residence Life ID potential rooms
  • Identify essential personnel. Emergency Management coordinator/Health Services/HR identify all possible personnel considered essential to a pandemic event. IE. maintenance, custodial, grounds, health services, security
  • Prepare a leave policy specific to Pandemic Influenza. HR to prepare a leave policy specific to PI
  • Essential personnel receive training on respiratory protection. BV Health Services train on respiratory protection.
  • Identify risk exposures for which insurance can and cannot be obtained, including associated financial impact. Business office ID risk exposures for insurance
  • Identify steps that must be taken to monitor and protect insurance coverage. Business office
  • Assess supplemental telecom/computing hardware/software needs. Information Technology assess supplemental telecom/computing needs
  • Develop webpage support.
  • Develop telephone trees for offices.
  • Develop plan for adding volunteers to public email addresses.
  • Develop plan for distributing incoming and outgoing communication including phone trees, webpage and list serve. Consider development of plan for distributing calls to homes or phone banks, updating webpage and list serve
  • PC to provide guidance to VPAA to initiate class management policy. Which learning experiences continue in face-to-face mode, which converts to online, which are temporarily suspended. Policy may vary from site to site.
  • PC to initiate Academic program chain of responsibility. VPAA, Associate Dean of Faculty/Associate Academic Dean External Programs, Dean School of Science, Dean School of Education, Dean School of Business, Dean School of Liberal Arts.
  • Develop communication to include Buena Vista University Centers, to ensure continuity and support.

  Level 2

  • Essential personnel receive N95 respirators. BV Health Services/Campus Security Fit test for and distribute N95 respirators to essential personnel
  • Implement policy on transporting individuals to hospital. Campus Security implement procedure for transporting to hospitals
  • Arrange for additional bio hazard waste pickups. Facilities Management arrange for additional bio-hazard pickups (GRP & Associates)
  • Write phone scripts for phone trees. UMC write scripts for phone trees
  • Write/update bulletins for website etc. UMC write update bulletins for websites
  • Require all faculty/staff to report all flu cases to the incident commander.
  • Set up housing needs for quarantined (separation and restriction of movement of those who are not ill but believed to have been exposed) students. Res Life set up housing needs
  • Identify meal delivery need and method for quarantined students. Res Life & Sodexho identify meal delivery needs and methods for students
  • Isolate (separating individuals with illness from the general population and restricting their movement within the general population until they are no longer contagious(16-19 days). BV Health Services isolate and monitor suspected cases (communication protocols for surveillance and reporting illness in the residence halls).
  • Identify contacts with suspect case if possible. (contact report)
  • Establish phone triage for health services. Health Services establish phone triage
  • Initiate pre-event counseling. Develop plan with counseling services for providing 24/7 counseling services for students, staff, and faculty including protocols for providing services via telephone and internet. BV Health Services & Counseling Center initiate pre-event counseling.
  • Communicate with insurance carriers on evolving campus issues. Business office communicate with insurance carriers
  • Purchase/contract for supplemental telecommunications/computing equipment. Information Technology purchase/contract for supplement telecoms.
  • PC to direct redirection of learning modes (transfer to online, individualized instruction, syllabus modification) and/or closing of selected activities

Level 3

  • Recommend close of campus and suspension of activities. Reduce the number of students remaining on campus by canceling classes and sending students home early in the pandemic may be the best strategy given the limited resources schools will have available to support those who remain. Note: Even though administration does not make the decision to cancel major aspects of the academic operation, the perception of risk and/or the presence of disease will result in high absenteeism from work and classes such that the decision is forced.
  • Ensure each area of operations functions are covered. Assessment team ensure each area of operations are covered
  • Secure buildings and post signage. Campus Security secure buildings
  • Be prepared to shut off utilities as directed if necessary. Facilities Management be prepared to shut off utilities
  • Activate plan to quarantine students in conjunction with the guidance from public health.Assessment team activate plan to quarantine
  • Isolation rooms (Negative Pressure) Facilities Management/Health Services to determine space.
  • Locate people who were in contact with patients if possible. BVU Health Services (contact information sheet)
  • Arrange for screening for suspected contacts. BVU Health Services in conjunction with Public Health or medical clinics.
  • Arrange Counseling services. BVU Counseling Services (24/7 via phone & internet)
  • Work with Government entities as required. Emergency Management Coordinator work with Government. Law enforcement, public health, hospitals etc.
  • Assess actual risk/insurance claim issues. Business Office maintain list of insurance claims/ loss
  • PC to direct VPAA, and others, to determine cost differentials for learning. Determining when to refund and the amount of refund to students; direction to faculty for modifying student expectations given the amount of time class was suspended and/or altered.

Recovery Phase

  • Establish the criteria for calling an end to the pandemic event and resuming campus business and activities.
  • Communication resumption of business to employees, students, and other partners and constituencies.
  • Develop the sequence and timeline for restoration of operations and essential services/activities.
  • Develop a plan to debrief faculty, staff, and students post-event, and provide resources for assisting those in need of psychological, financial, and social support.
  • Establish a post-event debriefing.