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Avian Flu Pandemic Plan
Introduction
Pre-Level 1
Level 1
Level 2
Level 3
Level 4
Recovery
Appendices

Areas of Institutional Response:

Communications
;Academic Programs
Health and Safety
Student Life
Administrative Services
Transportation and Controlled Access
 

Avian Flu Plan > Academic Programs <- You Are Here

Academic Programs

Continuity of instruction and research will be coordinated by the Office of the Provost. These efforts will be directed by Provost William Destler assisted by Dr. Robert Waters, Associate Vice President and Special Assistant to the President, and Dr. Phyllis Peres, Associate Provost for Academic Planning and Programs.

If and when the University closes for an extended time period due to Avian Flu, consideration will be given to the timing and duration of the closure. If the closure is less than two weeks, it will be assumed that the semester classes can be completed. If the closure is more than two weeks, the semester could need to be extended. If it is within four weeks of the end of the semester, the University would petition MHEC to accept grades at the point of closure. The goal, if at all possible, would be to recuperate the fall or spring academic semester. Alternate forms of instruction and contact (e.g., WebCT, blogs, podcasts, conference calls, etc.) will be pursued where feasible.

The University currently has an established refund policy on tuition, room, board, and fees. Any modifications to this policy would need to be determined based on decisions regarding length of closure, cancellation of classes/services, and granting of academic credit.

Modifications of the current refund schedule would require approval of the Cabinet, USM and/or the Board of Regents. It is likely that some coordination with the USM will be necessary on refund decisions.

During the closure period, access to the campus will be severely restricted for safety reasons and due to the absence of fully operational support systems. Most research activities that depend upon campus facilities will be temporarily suspended, with exceptions made for those having unique difficulty in closing. Examples might include labs where live animals are housed and failure to tend to them would cause significant loss of life.

PRE-LEVEL 1
•The Office of the Provost will work with colleges and departments to develop unit emergency plans, including plans for dealing with research and research facilities. By October 1, 2006, a complete list of research facilities that must remain open will be developed by the Office of the Provost.

•Each school/college will be asked to designate an emergency point person(s).

•Emergency contact information for critical/essential staff will be distributed through colleges and departments, then to the Provost.

•In the Fall of 2006, Deans will ask each faculty member to discuss class activities/actions (5-10 minutes in class) to be implemented in case the campus is closed due to an Avian Influenza outbreak. Faculty will also be requested to include a paragraph in their syllabi outlining how their courses would be continued/completed in case of an emergency. Faculty members will be asked to set up an e-mail listservs for their classes and to consider how online teaching platforms and other technologies could be used in their courses.

•Academic departments and faculty will be given some flexibility in how they approach working with their classes/research—solutions will vary by discipline and size. What works for a class of 10 might not work for a class of 200. Different approaches will be necessary for undergraduate and graduate students/programs. However, there needs to be coordination so that students are not required to do things for one class that will jeopardize their ability to complete another class.

•The Provost will provide training/incentives for faculty to move appropriate segments of classes online or to WebCT, and to learn how to use appropriate technology in cases of emergency so that their courses can continue.

•The Academic Affairs Division will develop simple, basic templates and general directions at this level that will be sent to Deans/Departments/Faculty. These directions will include: emergency contact information, lab protocols to be used in case of emergency, plans for animal care and protocols that would be implemented if the University were closed for more than two weeks.

•The Academic Instruction and Research Emergency Management Plan is found in Appendix G.
LEVEL 1

First cases of efficient human-to-human transmission internationally—Campus open, business as usual, enhanced planning

Academic Program:
•Preparations will continue for possible lapse in class schedule.

•Classes will continue on campus uninterrupted.

•Faculty will develop plans to address issues of student absenteeism.

•Faculty will consider experimental protocols and identify essential research and make plans for possible interruptions in research schedules.
LEVEL 2

First verified case in North America AND one or more other triggering events ( listed below)—Implement social distancing measures; cancel classes and other scheduled activities; prepare for closing; begin liberal leave for non-essential employees, healthy essential employees report

Decision criteria/triggering events:
•World Health Organization declaration of Phase 6—Pandemic period: Increased and sustained transmission in the general U.S. population

•Confirmation of a high rate of infectivity, morbidity (rate of infection) and/or mortality (death rate)

•Rate/speed of disease spreading

•Local public health recommendations to curtail/cancel public activities in county or state

•Falling class attendance, students leaving campus

•Rising employee absenteeism

•Other regional schools/school systems closing

•Transportation systems closing/curtailing interstate travel

•Cases in the local Mid-Atlantic area occurring early versus late in the overall U.S. experience with the unfolding pandemic
Academic Program:
•On-campus classes will be canceled.

•Alternative instruction methods will be employed where possible.

•Most research activities that depend upon campus facilities will be temporarily suspended. A checklist to guide the temporary closure of laboratories is found in Appendix Q.
LEVEL 3

Within 1-5 days of declaring Level 2 and depending on national and local conditions—All University residences will close; thereafter, as soon as practicable, most administrative offices and academic buildings will close

Academic Program:
•If the University is required to close during the spring or fall semester(s) for one to two weeks, students will make up work missed and fulfill the required 15 contact hours per class credit without significantly altering the semester calendar/structure.

•For any closure extending beyond two weeks, the University will consider extending the semester through the end of May and/or through summer session I and II. If necessary the fall semester can be extended into the end of December and/or winter term.

•Immediately, faculty can conduct coursework from off-site using listservs to communicate with students or telephone conference call support.

•Alternative methods of instruction will continue where possible.
LEVEL 4

As soon as practicable following Level 3—Campus closed; declared emergency condition; evacuation of campus; all facilities closed except skeletal services for infirmary, temporary emergency shelter housing for students with extreme hardships, and essential research; access to campus is sealed off; closure is sustained.

Academic Program:
•If the University were required to close during the spring or fall semester(s) for one to two weeks, students would have the ability to make up work missed and fulfill the required 15 contact hours per class credit without significantly altering the semester calendar/structure.

•For any closure extending beyond two weeks, the University will consider extending the semester through the end of May and/or through summer session I and II. If necessary the fall semester can be extended into the end of December and/or winter term.
RECOVERY Recovery Level: Recovery stage once pandemic is under control—Campus poised to re-open

Academic Program:
•In coordination with other response teams and with USM, Academic Affairs will coordinate the resumption of classes and other academic activities.






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