Pandemic Plan 2006
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  • 1. Fitchburg State College Pandemic Planning Activities – Spring, 2006 Presentation to Central Links (Annual Meeting) June 1, 2006
  • 2. What is Pandemic Flu?
      • It is known as the H5N1 influenza virus
        • At present, has been largely confined to migratory birds and poultry stocks in Asia (and into Europe)
        • However, there have been isolated cases of bird-to-human transmission; victims generally have significant exposure to sick birds (butchering, etc.). Recent concern of “first human-to-human contact” in Indonesia.
        • Expectation is that virus becomes more “efficient” over time; increasing efficiency in bird-to-human contact, increasing efficiency in human-to-human contact.
        • Particularly dangerous strain of influenza – highly contagious, humans have no developed immunity
          • Starts out as typical flu symptoms
          • In 2-5 days, those struck are likely to develop significant complications (e.g., diffuse pneumonia) with potential for significant mortality rate.
  • 3. How Will Such a Pandemic Likely Play Out?
    • Likely to happen across Commonwealth and affect all regions simultaneously
    • Expected to occur in at least 2 waves of approximately 8 weeks duration each; potential (total) duration could be as much as 1-2 years
    • Projected numbers are spread across the wave, with a peak occurring mid-wave (normal curve model)
    • High attack rate among healthcare workers
    • High attack rate among those aged 15-35
    • Both vaccines and antivirals are expected to be in very short supply, particularly for college population
  • 4. Recent Pandemic Concerns
      • From Ten Things You Need to Know About Pandemic Influenza (World Health Organization, Oct. 14, 2005)
        • The world may be on the brink of another pandemic.
        • All countries will be affected (3 months from outbreak to worldwide prevalence).
        • Widespread illness will occur.
        • Medical supplies will be inadequate.
        • Large numbers of deaths will occur (WHO has used a relatively conservative estimate – from 2 million to 7.4 million deaths worldwide, though other estimates (e.g., U.S. government) suggest death toll in U.S. alone could rise to 2 million). Massachusetts DPH now estimating 30% attack rate with 1% mortality rate.
        • Economic and social disruption will be substantial.
  • 5. Recent Pandemic Concerns: Higher Education
    • “ Higher Education will be among the industries most severely impacted because of risks resulting from international travel by students, faculty, and staff; and with open and accessible campuses to the local community at-large.”
    • “ According to the CDC, those most susceptible to death from a flu pandemic are those aged between 15 and 35 and the very old…workplace absentee rates as high as 25% over a 4-9 month period.”
    • The impact on college or university operations may include unprecedented demands on student health services , relocation of students in residence halls, the establishment of quarantine sites , debilitating sickness among staff and faculty causing severe reductions in the work force, essential services hampered and perhaps unavailable, and significant loss of tuition revenues from closure of the institution and non-returning students.
    • (Gallagher Higher Education Practice Group, January, 2006)
  • 6. Recent Pandemic Concerns: Higher Education
      • There will be a 40% workforce reduction over several weeks or months due to:
        • A high level of illness (~ 30%).
        • Staff may be reduced by the need for workers to attend to family illness or school closures.
        • Staff may be lost due to mortality associated with the disease.
      • Congregate living and large group activities (classes, sporting events, etc.) place individuals at higher risk of exposure.
      • As many as 30% of students will become ill.
      • - Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Higher Education Pandemic Planning Group
  • 7. A Mandate to Prepare…
    • “ Failure to have a pandemic response plan may in of itself create liability for the institution, particularly given the amount of warning and guidance offered by governmental officials and the encouragement to develop such a plan.” (Gallagher Higher Education Practice Group, January, 2006)
    • “ U.S. companies must pitch in to help prepare for what scientists believe could be a devastating influenza pandemic.”
    • “ Avian flu, when it occurs, will severely test the best-laid plans…and many companies are not making any plans at all.”
    • “ We are overdue and ill-prepared. Local communities are going to have to take the lead. Those expecting the federal government to ride in and come to their rescue are going to be sorely disappointed.” (Mike Leavitt, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary, Feb. 14, 2006)
  • 8. Fitchburg State College Response The college as part of the larger city and regional community. The college as a specific and unique entity with corresponding responsibilities.
      • *It is unclear at present the extent to which the college will be expected or required to make autonomous decisions. It is further unclear to what extent the college will be expected to serve as a critical community resource (such as vaccination distribution venue) in the event of a pandemic.
    A Fundamental Question
  • 9. Working With the City and Region
      • The college is working in conjunction with local, state and federal authorities to participate in regional response planning.
        • Meeting convened at Fitchburg State on Jan. 5, 2006
          • Included Fitchburg Board of Health, HealthAlliance hospitals (Burbank, Leominster), directors of Emergency Planning for Fitchburg and Lunenburg, Fitchburg State College personnel.
        • Health Services staff connected with Massachusetts Department of Public Health, CHAND (College Health Administrators and Nurse Directors), attending trainings, updates, etc.
        • Fitchburg State faculty and administrators attended Massachusetts Regional Conference on Pandemic Preparedness (Worcester, May 1, 2006)
  • 10. Working With the City and Region
    • May 23, 2006 – Fitchburg State hosted a table-top exercise intended to improve communication and to test emergency response capabilities in event of a catastrophic health emergency.
    • Attendees included:
      • Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) which represents Fitchburg, Lunenburg and Leominster
      • Fitchburg State administrators
      • Fitchburg State police and local law enforcement
      • Local hospital administrators
      • Local emergency response personnel (fire, ambulance)
      • Fitchburg Mayor Dan Mylott
      • Massachusetts Emergency Management Administration
      • Massachusetts Department of Public Health
      • Representative(s) from the Strategic National Stockpile
  • 11. Working With the City and Region
    • Unfortunately, very little of the local, regional and state pandemic planning has addressed the concerns of higher education thus far.
    • As per Massachusetts Department of Public Health:
    • … your students are ‘low priority’ in terms of healthcare, vaccines…
    • … we do know that you’re there…we probably just can’t help you.
    • As per Massachusetts Pandemic Plan / U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:
    • … vaccines will be the cornerstone of prevention…local communities should have plans for administering vaccines to residents based on priority groups…
    • As per Strategic National Stockpile:
    • … we won’t be playing a large role in a pandemic…do not expect “coverage” (e.g., antivirals, etc.) for any healthy people…
    • As per Massachusetts Emergency Management Administration:
    • … rather than a burden, the colleges should be used as a resource…
  • 12. Fitchburg State College Response
    • We understand that emergency situations typically will have some degree of decision-making and response on the fly; however, one of the lessons from other public emergencies/catastrophes (like Hurricane Katrina) is that effective preparation leads to improved decision-making (and is now an expectation of public agencies).
  • 13. Fitchburg State College Response
    • Fitchburg State on-campus work
      • Campus committee assembled
        • Health Services
        • Dean of Student and Academic Life
        • Facilities
        • Environmental Safety officer
        • Campus Police
        • Campus Living
        • International Education
        • Counseling Services
    • Meetings held in February and March 2006
    • Reviewed Pandemic Influenza Planning Checklist (Deloitte – see next slide)
  • 14. Fitchburg State College Response
    • Pandemic Influenza Planning Checklist (Deloitte)
      • Develop a preparedness and response plan
      • Plan for the impact on business functioning
      • Plan for the impact on administration/faculty/staff/students
      • Enhance institutional wellness
      • Develop and cultivate partnerships related to planning, preparedness, and response
  • 15. President’s Office/Executive Committee
    • Develop preparedness and response plan
      • Identify pandemic team with defined roles, responsibilities within input from administrators, faculty, students and labor representation
      • Develop and plan for impact on institutional activities (such as cancellation of classes, public events, sporting activities)
      • Establish an emergency communication plan to include chain of command, tracking and communication business and employee status.
    • Plan for impact of business functioning
      • Develop capacity plans for institutional resources that may be used in community response
      • Develop a recovery plan to deal with pandemic consequences/disruptions
    • Plan for impact on administration/faculty/staff/students
      • Implement guidelines to modify face-to-face contact among employees, telecommuting
      • Consider administrative duplication (cross-training) for critical functions (payroll, etc.)
      • Establish policies for restricting travel to affected areas, evacuating employees, guidance for returning to work.
      • Considerations related to on-campus housing (such as mandatory evacuations, quarantine)
    • Enhance institutional wellness during pandemic
      • Disseminate information to college community about preparedness and response
    • Develop and cultivate partnerships related to planning
      • Consider hosting conference, share best practices developed by Fitchburg State
  • 16. Human Resources
    • Plan for impact on business functioning
      • Develop plan to assure continuity of payroll
    • Plan for impact on administration/faculty/staff/students
      • Identify essential faculty, staff, students, administrators needed to maintain business operations (may be different from current lists)
      • Forecast and allow for employee absences
      • Establish policies for employee compensation and sick-leave absences unique to pandemic, including policies of when ill person can return to work
      • Establish policies for flexible work shifts
      • Establish policies for all college employees who have been exposed, suspected of being ill, or become ill (immediate mandatory sick leave)
      • Identify ADA, FMLA, and other policy implications for preparedness
  • 17. Treasurer’s Office
    • Plan for impact on administration/ faculty/staff/students
      • Determine potential impact on revenues, costs considering tuition loss, reimbursement for withdrawals
      • Develop a recovery plan to deal with pandemic consequences/disruptions
      • Attempt to identify impact on institutional investments
  • 18. Facilities / Planning
    • Plan for impact on business functioning
      • Assure continuity of long-term and strategic projects
      • Identify essential inputs required to maintain business operations
  • 19. Grant Center
    • Plan for impact of business functioning
      • Identify implications of disruption of service on grants
  • 20. Health Services
    • Develop preparedness and response plan
      • Find up-to-date medical information to make sustainable links.
    • Plan for impact on administration/ faculty/staff
      • Assist in implementation of guidelines regarding face-to-face contact based on CDC guidelines.
  • 21. Information Technology in Conjunction with Academic Affairs
    • Plan for impact on administration/ faculty/staff
      • Identify alternative learning environments such as virtual classrooms
    • Enhance institutional wellness during pandemic
      • Plan communication to decrease fear and anxiety through variety of modes (phone trees, Web pages, published material).
  • 22. Disability Services
    • Plan for impact on administration/ faculty/staff/students
      • Identify students, faculty and staff with special needs; incorporate requirements for these people into college plan
  • 23. Fitchburg State College Response
    • Colleges and Universities Pandemic Influenza Planning Checklist (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
      • Planning and coordination
      • Continuity of student learning and operations
      • Infection control policies and procedures
      • Communications planning
  • 24. Fitchburg State College Response
    • Additional / unique considerations beyond those discussed in “Deloitte” document:
      • Stockpiling (non-perishable food and equipment)
      • Coordination of plans with BHE guidelines (if/when these emerge); ensure consistency with existing emergency operation plans
      • Operational plan for surge capacity (additional healthcare providers, nursing students)
      • Implementation of infection control policies and procedures that may help limit spread of influenza on campus
      • Consider incident command training for appropriate personnel
      • Ensure Health Services and clinics have identified critical supplies to support demand surge; take steps to procure
      • Develop and test platforms for information communication
      • Keep community informed regarding pandemic planning
  • 25.
    • “People have to understand this is not science fiction. Pandemics are going to happen. This is why a group of infectious disease experts are trying to wake the world up, shake them and say, ‘You’ve got to understand this.’ Even if the bird flu isn’t the one that does it, another one’s going to. Like the people of New Orleans learned, this is not the time to panic and feel hopelessness. It’s the time to be prepared.”
    - Michael T. Osterholm , Director, Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy