The core of this Employee Pandemic Event Preparedness and Response Plan for Southeastern Community College, which is an extension of the Columbus County Public Health Department Pandemic Plan, is communication and education. Communication with the internal and external stakeholders of the college before a pandemic event occurs will help key personnel know, in the case of a pandemic event, how and with whom they should communicate and respond. Internal stakeholders, such as the Board of Trustees, administration, employees, and students, will be brought to the table with local health department representatives. The public, as external stakeholders and family members of the internal stakeholders, must also know their perceived risk and how to respond. In order for all parties to act in the ideal manner, they must know their perceived risk and the appropriate best practice actions. Quality, credible and timely communication and education are the key resources to equip individuals to respond in the most prudent manner that will save lives and prevent negative impacts on the local economy. Advance planning and established and practiced procedures will help individuals respond in a manner that should reduce panic and fear. The Southeastern Community College Pandemic Preparedness and Response Plan will follow the US Federal Government’s three primary strategies and involve the following components:
The purpose of the Southeastern Community College Pandemic Preparedness and Response Policy is to have a plan in place to guide the college’s response to a pandemic communicable event. This plan will ensure that factual and clear informational materials are provided to students and their families, to college employees, and to the community. The overall goal is to stop, slow, or limit the spread of disease; mitigate disease, suffering and death; sustain infrastructure; and mitigate impact to the students’ learning, to the economy, and to the functioning of the community. The response to a pandemic event will be local since neighboring counties and usual support services may be unable to respond because of the high rate of illness in their own group or service area.
The College currently has email accounts (Ram Mail) for all students who have a distance learning component in at least one class. Instructors who teach any course with a distance learning component also have a Ram Mail account. Beginning with fall semester 2008, all students and faculty will have a Rammail (Google Mail) account. In addition, the ReGroup web-based emergency notification system allows the college to send out emergency messages to students, staff and faculty via voice, text messaging, and email. This system will be in place for use in fall 2008. The Southeastern Community College website also will highlight information related to a specific emergency. The college’s Webmaster will post any emergency notification on the front page of the college website.
The communicable disease policy has, in the past, primarily focused on minor and potentially major communicable illnesses. Many of the communicable diseases already have vaccines or have been communicable in more direct, traceable and controllable means. This pandemic preparedness and response policy covers all communicable diseases including catastrophic communicable disease emergencies that will most likely affect a high percentage of the population at the same time and that will recur in waves. This catastrophic communicable disease emergency is a Pandemic event.
The Communicable Disease Response Team will be comprised of the college president, senior administrators, division deans, student government officers and other appointed key personnel. The Communicable Disease Response Team will identify the college spokespersons for all communicable diseases including pandemic events.
Roles will be clearly identified for each Communicable Disease Response Team member. The college president will be at the head of the committee. In the absence of the college president, his or her designee will be in charge.
Education about communicable diseases will be expanded to include a stronger emphasis on the web of causation and methods to stop the transmission through activities such as social distancing, coughing etiquette, basic health care procedures, self-care, and care of family members. Employees will be provided information about a pandemic disease and its potential to move with great velocity about the globe thereby overwhelming all previously successful coping measures. Education will alert individuals that resources external to their home may not be available.
All educational resources will be made available in English and Spanish.
The Columbus County Public Health Department provides accurate, timely and consistent information to the public regarding preparation for a pandemic, including the impact of the outbreak, local response actions, and disease control recommendations. The College’s Communicable Disease Response Team will use this information to inform its stakeholders and to provide timely information on the college website, by telephone and through email services.
The College’s Communicable Disease Response Team will identify college spokespersons. These individuals will receive additional training through contact with the Columbus County Health Department personnel.
The college president, or his or her designee, will stay in communication with the Columbus County’s two school systems’ administrators regarding pandemic event responses, school closures, and health-related responses and information.
The Communicable Disease Response Team will work in cooperation with local law enforcement, as needed, to protect the health and safety of college employees and students.
The Communicable Disease Response Team will work in cooperation with the county’s emergency response teams, as needed, to protect the health and safety of the college’s employees and students.
The Communicable Disease Response Team will develop a method of distance learning for the greatest number of students possible.
The College’s Website and the Internet will provide information to individuals who have been required to maintain a social distance from the general public.
The College spokesperson will stay in frequent contact with county public health department personnel.
The Institutional Operations Committee of Southeastern Community College is charged with the coordination of the on-going educational campaign and with the notification to the president and appropriate vice president on individual cases involving communicable disease. The educational campaign is the responsibility of the entire institution and is designed to reach all constituencies. It conveys basic information in various ways, including, but not limited to, the distribution of printed material, posters, meetings, speakers, and electronic media. The campaign is ongoing and will accommodate the annual turnover in the employee and student populations.