Pandemic Health Plan | ACTC

Pandemic Health Plan

PLANNING OVERVIEW 

The Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS), having recognized the potential
threat of a world-wide pandemic, and the potential impact it could have on all KCTCS colleges, has
instructed all KCTCS locations to develop a plan to respond to the effects such an outbreak would
create.

In response to the request for the need to develop Pandemic Health Plans system wide, the Office
of the President for Ashland Community and Technical College (ACTC) has created the Pandemic
Health Planning (PHP) Committee. The PHP Committee was established to ensure that preparedness and
pandemic response planning occurs. The PHP Committee has been identified as ACTC’s authorities
responsible for the activation of the Pandemic Health Plan.

  • The PHP Committee will be responsible for the development of an Incident Command System
    within ACTC to manage the Pandemic Health Plan.
  • The PHP Committee will include input from faculty, staff, and employees representing various college operations and student representatives, as appropriate.
  • The PHP Committee collaborates with local emergency response and public health planners in the establishment and maintenance of the ACTC Pandemic Plan to insure coordination of response and communication with the representative agencies.
  • The PHP Committee reviews the Pandemic Health Plan at least annually to insure the response planning and program information is current and applicable.
  • The PHP Committee considers the provision of sufficient and accessible infection prevention supplies (soap, alcohol-based hand hygiene products, tissues and appropriate receptacles) as a means of reducing the spread of any virus.
  • The PHP Committee will communicate with the ACTC President’s Cabinet to maintain a surveillance mechanism to monitor and communicate substantial increases in absenteeism among students and faculty/staff. In the event of notable increases in absenteeism

ACTC will report the information with:

  • ACTC Office of the President
  • Boyd County Health Department
  • The KCTCS Office of the President and the KCTCS Homeland Security Office

This Pandemic Health Plan was written specifically for ACTC by the Director of ACTC Safety and
Security. It is the intent of this plan to identify key important actions ACTC may need to
undertake for the preparation of and response to an influenza outbreak resulting in business
operation interruption. Continued plan surveillance and updating will be required to ensure that
the Pandemic Health Plan effectively addresses the unique needs of ACTC.

BACKGROUND

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “An influenza pandemic occurs when a new
influenza virus appears against which the human population has no immunity, resulting in several
simultaneous epidemics worldwide with enormous numbers of deaths and illness. With the increase in global transport and communications, as well as urbanization and overcrowded conditions, epidemics due to the new influenza virus are likely to quickly take hold around the world.”

Influenza is a highly contagious respiratory virus that is responsible for annual epidemics in the
United States and other countries. Each year an average of 200,000 people is hospitalized and
36,000 die in the U.S. from influenza infection or a secondary complication. During an influenza
pandemic the level of illness and death from influenza will likely increase dramatically
worldwide. The impact of an influenza pandemic on the local economy and business processes could be devastating. It is estimated that 15-35% of the population will be affected. There is a potential for high levels of illness and death, as well as significant disruption to society and our
economy, making planning for the next influenza pandemic imperative.

ASSUMPTIONS

Predicted spread and severity:

  • Over a several month period, illness rates for population: 15-35%
  • Global spread in: 3 months
  • Vaccine availability: 6 months after initial outbreak
  • Anti-viral treatment: Likely to be in short supply and may not be effective 

Potential Effects:

  • Large percentages of the population may be unable to work for days to weeks during the pandemic.
  • Diminished numbers of people and expertise available.
  • Diminished emergency and essential services – fire, police, and medical.
  • Potential for mandatory school closures.
  • Delays in supplies shipments and mail delivery.
  • Delays in outside service work.
  • Disruption of utilities repairs and limited potential service losses.

School Operational Effects:

  • Large numbers of faculty and staff absent, difficult to maintain school operations.
  • Loss of services from suppliers (e.g. postal service, other essential products).
  • Large numbers of student absenteeism.
  • Operational breakdowns of facility and services.

PLAN PURPOSE

The purpose of this plan is to assist in managing the impact of a Pandemic at ACTC. The key goal of this plan is based on three main strategies:

  1. Reducing spread of the virus within the ACTC facilities; and
  2. Sustaining educational and activity functions; and
  3. Sustaining facility operational functions.

The plan addresses the following management elements for a Pandemic Health Plan response which include the following:

  • Communication to ACTC from external sources regarding the pandemic virus, and internal communications within ACTC.
  • Activities to reduce the spread of the virus:
    • Reducing risk of infected persons (students, faculty/staff, visitors) entering the facilities.
    • Student spacing (reduce person to person interactions) i.e. postponing school events or activities. (also called “social distancing”)
    • Cleaning and disinfecting of facilities.
    • Educating students, faculty and staff to address concerns.
  • Prevention/Treatment, related information regarding provision of and use of:
    • Influenza vaccine  Anti-viral medication
    • Antibiotics for secondary infections
  • Continuance of essential educational functions:
    • Identification of essential staff and faculty functions.
    • Planning for absenteeism of students and faculty/staff.
    • Communication with students/faculty/staff.
    • Pandemic Influenza education for students/faculty/staff.
  • Maintenance of essential facility operational functions:
    • Identification of essential staff and functions.
    • Planning for absenteeism of custodial staff.
    • Planning for absenteeism of maintenance staff.
    • Planning for absenteeism of supervisory and administration staff.
    • Planning for absenteeism of payroll, human resources and support business functions.
    • Ordering and stocking of essential supplies and support services.
    • Planning for absenteeism of support service providers and contractors.
    • Planning for interruption and failure of critical equipment operation.
    • Communication with and education of employees.

COMMUNICATION

Pandemic Health Communication to ACTC Administration

  • The ACTC Office of the President will disseminate Pandemic information received from the KCTCS Office of the President and other governing authorities to the appropriate ACTC officials. Information on the Pandemic will be reviewed by the ACTC Pandemic Health Planning Committee for potential effect on ACTC operational planning and action. It should be noted that the KCTCS System Office would determine when a college would close operations due to a Pandemic.
  • The Pandemic Health Planning Committee will advise the Office of the ACTC President of information due to potential or existing Pandemics which can, or does directly influence the operation of ACTC.
  • The Pandemic Health Planning Committee will monitor information from national, State, and local public safety and health agencies, and will forward pertinent information to the Office of the ACTC President as determined to be appropriate by the Committee.
  • The primary communication channels to be monitored by the Pandemic Influenza Planning Committee will be the public health websites. 

Communications to Public

  • ACTC has identified a spokesperson for communication of information to the public. This spokesperson is the Director of Public Relations.
  • ACTC will follow business interruption and closure procedures and will utilize outside communication resources to include:
    • Local Television News Services
    • Local Radio Stations
    • Local Newspapers
  • Communications will be via a dedicated website, telephone system, the SNAP alert system, or other communications systems that provide for the dissemination of information and advising employees, students, families and the general public as appropriate. Ensure that communications are language appropriate to reflect the needs of the diverse student body represented at the College.
  • Create a Pandemic Influenza website linking to other local, state and federal agencies to create awareness and educate people on pandemic flu prevention and plans for the College. 
  • Develop procedures for communicating with the media. Conduct media briefings as necessary. Coordinate with the KCTCS System Public Relations Office and the Boyd County Health Department, and other agencies. 

Communications to Employees

  • Communications to employees shall be managed per the ACTC operating procedures and the Pandemic Health Plan. ACTC will advise employees in advance where to find up-to-date and reliable information.
  • Communications will be via a dedicated website, telephone system, the SNAP alert system, or other communications systems that provide for the dissemination of information and advising employees, students, families and the general public as appropriate. Ensure that communications are language appropriate to reflect the needs of the diverse student body
    represented at the College. 
  • Create a Pandemic Health Plan website linking to other local, state and federal agencies to create awareness and educate people on pandemic flu prevention and plans for the College.
  • Educational communications will be provided to encourage employees to acquire and maintain personal, regular healthcare services.
  • Educational communications will be provided regarding school policies for employee’s compensation and sick leave absences that may be unique to a pandemic.

Communications to Students

  • Communications will be via a dedicated website, telephone system, the SNAP alert system, or other communications systems that provide for the dissemination of information and advising employees, students, families and the general public as appropriate. Ensure that communication is language appropriate to reflect the needs of the diverse student body represented at the College.
  • Create a Pandemic Health Plan website linking to other local, state and federal agencies to create awareness and educate people on pandemic flu prevention and plans for the College.

ACTC will utilize Nursing faculty to communicate and educate faculty/staff/ students about effective hygiene habits before any outbreaks occur to protect everyone now (promotion of frequent hand washing, cough/sneeze etiquette). The Office of the President will:

  • Disseminate information about the pandemic preparedness and response plan.
  • Anticipate the potential fear and anxiety of students and employees as a result of rumors and misinformation, and plan rapid and accurate communications accordingly.
  • Disseminate information for student, faculty and staff who have families and dependents about the potential impact a pandemic influenza outbreak can have and how to prepare their families to respond to school and community service interruptions.

Reducing the Spread of the Virus

  • Upon notification that a potential outbreak of a pandemic is occurring within the United States and or Canada, the PHP Committee will do the following:
    • Set up prominent notices at all entry points to instruct employees, students and visitors not to enter the building if they have symptoms of influenza.
    • Informational postings will be placed around the school (including entrances, notice boards, meeting rooms and restrooms) to educate employees, students, and visitors on how to stop the spread of the virus. Notices will contain information regarding hand hygiene, covering coughs and sneezes, and student spacing.
    • Ensure adequate supplies of tissues, hand sanitizing gels, disinfectant hand soaps and disinfectant cleaning supplies are available for employees and students.
    • Require the Office of the President/Director of Safety and Security/ Director of Human Resources to make available to employees and students a pandemic fact sheet containing information regarding stopping the spread of the virus and performing effective hand washing.
    • Cleaning of shared work areas (such as desktops, tables, door knobs, stair rails, etc.) with a disinfectant at least daily.
    • Consult with and prepare ACTC Administration to function with significantly reduced workforce.
    • Consult with and prepare ACTC Administration to implement policies and procedures for containment measures.
    • Consult with and prepare ACTC Administration to consider the implementation of alternative procedures to assure continuity of instruction, (i.e. distance learning methods (web-based, telephone trees, mailed lessons and assignments, instruction via local public radio or TV stations) in the event of large numbers of absenteeism or college closure.
    • Consult with and prepare ACTC Administration as a result of information received by local and state public health officials, and dependent upon the significance of the outbreak, considering if and/or when ACTC will close.
    • Consult with and prepare ACTC Administration to implement Student Spacing protocols (social distancing). [Student spacing refers distancing individuals and strategies to reduce the spread of the virus between people.]
      • Education on student spacing should be distributed to all employees and students.
      • Student spacing strategies may include:
        • Space students three (3) feet apart, in small pods or clusters.
        • Discourage prolonged congregation in hallways, cafeteria, etc.
        • Closure of TV and lounge rooms.
        • Limit or eliminate group activities and interaction.
        • Cancel school activities that place individuals in close proximity.

Maintenance and Cleaning

  • Disinfecting of shared work areas, counters, railings, door knobs and openers, stair rails,
    elevator buttons, and telephones should be performed more frequently during the influenza
    pandemic.
  • Filters of the HVAC systems should be cleaned and changed more frequently.
  • Telephones should not be shared whenever possible. Shared phones should be cleaned frequently by the users.
  • An individual’s computer keyboard and mouse should not be shared whenever possible. A shared computer keyboard and mouse should be cleaned / disinfected between each user using recommended treated wipes. (NOTE: Free liquids should not be used on electrical equipment. Use cleaning materials recommended by the equipment manufacturers.)
  • Where operationally possible, during the day increase ventilation to the facilities to decrease spread of disease. It is recommended that during the night hours when the buildings are secured rooms should be thoroughly ventilated by opening interior doors and turning up air conditioning/heating system air exchange units.

Educating Students/Faculty/Staff to Eliminate Concern

  • Recognizing that there will be anxiety regarding the pandemic influenza activities that may
    contribute to increased absenteeism and/or increased distress to staff, the PHP Committee will
    address this by:
    • Education of, and appropriate communication to, employees and students.
    • As more information becomes available, provide timely updates to employees and students.
    • As needed, communicate with local resources and local public health services the need to provide access to available support mechanisms, (for example: mental health, social services and faith-based resources).

Managing Illness in Faculty, Staff, Students or Visitors

  • The Director of Human Resources will post information on what to do if people get sick while
    at ACTC.
  • The Office of the President will educate faculty, staff and students regarding symptoms of illness.
  • If a person becomes ill, or if someone observes that another person is exhibiting symptoms of influenza at work/school, the ill person will be instructed to leave ACTC facilities as soon as possible.
  • Ill persons should be encouraged to seek medical care.
  • The Office of the President will report to the PHP Committee if influenza is likely present on the campus based on appropriate information or observation.

TREATMENT

Influenza Vaccine

Public health officials will make the best use of available vaccine and will inform schools and the
public on how any available vaccine will be used. It may take six months or more to manufacture the vaccine after the pandemic begins.

  • ACTC will encourage employees, and students, to obtain the annual seasonal influenza
    vaccines.
  • The Kentucky Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, and the Center for Disease Control will provide advice on priority groups for pandemic influenza immunization.

Anti-Viral Medication

Anti-viral medications may play an integral role in the treatment and prevention of pandemic
influenza; however, their efficacy against a pandemic strain of influenza is currently unknown.
Unlike the influenza vaccine, limited amounts of certain antiviral medications are already
available, though there may be barriers in attempting to use them as a treatment and prevention
tool in the event of pandemic influenza.

  • The Kentucky Department of Homeland Security and the Center for Disease Control will provide recommendations of the use of anti-viral medication.

CONTINUITY OF OPERATIONS

  • ACTC’s Administration will ensure that core functions, people and skills have been identified
    and that strategies are in place to manage these prior to the pandemic.
  • ACTC’s Administration will maintain a process for maintaining the operations of the business office (including budget, payroll), student services, maintenance and operations, and other pertinent departments within the College.

PANDEMIC HEALTH PLAN MAINTENANCE

  • The PHP Committee will review and revise the plan annually. The plan will also be
    tested/exercised on a small scale to determine effectiveness and improvement in the plan.

WEB-SITE LINKS

Pandemic Influenza Information:

Pandemic preparedness and prevention:

 

Pandemic influenza and its potential impact:

FEDERAL, STATE AND LOCAL PLANNING FOR A PANDEMIC

Pandemic influenza will take federal, state and local resources to respond. Roles vary at each
level, with general guidance provided at the federal level with detailed operational plans at the
state and local levels.

Federal Role

  • The federal government provides general guidance and laboratory support to states, supports
    vaccine research and conducts national and international disease surveillance activities. In
    November, 2005, the US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) released its latest
    pandemic influenza plan which can be found at http://www.pandemicflu.gov/ 

State Role

The state reviews federal guidance and develops plans for statewide implementation.

Local (Boyd County/City of Ashland) Role

The Boyd County office of Emergency Management (OEM) is the branch of local government that is
responsible for coordinating Emergency Operations in Boyd County, ensuring that the needs of the
public are met during an emergency or disaster. Information regarding emergency preparedness can
be found at: http://www.boydcoem.net/