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Avian Flu Pandemic Plan
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Areas of Institutional Response:

•Academic Programs
•Health and Safety
•Student LIfe
•Administrative Services
•Transportation and Controlled Access

Avian Flu Plan: Appendices > Appendix G <- You Are Here

Appendix G: Academic Instruction and Research Emergency Management Plan [PDF]

If and when the University closes for an extended time period due to pandemic flu, consideration will be given to the timing and duration of the closure. The best alternative is to hope the University calendar allows classes to be postponed during the flu closure and continue when the University reopens.

• All academic calendaring related issues would be resolved in concert with the University System of Maryland, other system institutions, MHEC and in concert with the common academic calendar.

• If the University were required to close during the spring or fall semester(s) for up to two weeks, there would be an opportunity to make up work missed and provide the required 15 contact hours per class credit without significantly altering the semester calendar/structure. (There is a different requirement for laboratory credit, and this will be more challenging. By October 1, 2006, the Provost will have a more detailed analysis which will specifically address types of class contact hours necessary for different categories of classes.)

• For any closure extending beyond two weeks—the University will consider extending the semester through the end of May (with Commencement held before the end of the semester), and/or through summer session I and II. If necessary the fall semester could be extended into the end of December and/or winter term.

• If the University closes near the end of the semester (within four weeks of semester end), the University could petition MHEC, based on the severity of the emergency, to make an exception to required contact hours and allow the award of grades based on the grade in place at the time of the closure. There is a precedent for this since it has been employed during other crises.

• By October 1, 2006, the Provost will develop plans for off-site programs and branch campuses.

Alternative Forms of Instruction

In light of federal recommendations that alternate forms of instruction be considered, an assessment of current University offerings revealed that slightly fewer than ten percent of all courses are administered online. Assuming internet systems are operable, these courses could continue. Seminar classes with ten students or fewer could continue through conference call classes- this accounts for 10-20 percent of undergraduate courses and 25-35 percent of graduate courses.

Some courses could be completed through independent study, directed reading, and written assignments via e-mail, blogs, podcasts, listservs, and mail. Depending on the health of faculty and students, an estimated 20-25 percent of courses could be completed through this alternative.

At this time fewer than 50% of faculty offer or have the ability to offer some aspect of their course online either through WebCT or Blackboard. There is a great deal of variation by discipline, department and seniority. Many faculty currently using Web CT are in the sciences. Blackboard is being utilized in the Business School. This number may improve once the new course management system is in effect. By December 1, 2006, schools and colleges, in concert with the Provost, will assess which of their courses could, in a crisis, effectively use these technologies.

Listed below are technology options that will be utilized in the Academic Affairs division.

Short-term Options

The following recommendations are based on the assumption that the e-mail system and course management system servers are functioning:

•Basic minimum: Use of listservs to communicate with students.
  • Schools and colleges will ask faculty to create listservs for all classes to be used if the University is closed for more than two weeks.
•Basic minimum: Telephone conference call support
  • OIT Networking and Telecommunications currently have support for setting up conference calls. Faculty without computer access or skills have the option to set up conference calls with their students to facilitate discussions. Faculty will receive instruction from OIT by October 1, 2006, for this technology.
•Mid-level support: A course space for every course in our course management system
  • A basic course space can be set up for every course that is being offered during the term affected. This space can support presentation of course materials, communications/ discussions with students, handling assignment submissions, etc. With the help from OIT, the faculty will receive instruction from the Provost by October 1, 2006, for this technology.
  • The development and use of podcasts and blogs as online course support systems.
  • Several guidelines for setting up online course support will be developed � they will be available as text, audio or video formats for faculty. The Provost�s Office will work with OIT to develop these guides by December 1, 2006.
•Mid-level support: Audio capture for every course
  • Software is currently available on both the Windows and Macintosh platforms that can capture audio and these programs do not require a high-end computer in order to work. Faculty will need computer microphones to use this option. The Provost and Deans will assess which courses are suitable for this technology by December 1, 2006.
  • OIT currently has a server that can house the audio, but will need to add a more powerful server to handle this offering.
Research Buildings/Animal Care

The following list of facilities has been identified as buildings that house critical functions. This list identifies core spaces for research that will be the most difficult to close when the rest of the campus is closed. The Provost�s Office will work with appropriate staff in the schools and colleges and the Division of Research to identify, by October 1, 2006, specific needs and solidify this list.

Evaluating building operations for critical facilities, the following buildings are identified,
• Building 001—Central Heating and Electric Power Plant (steam and electric)

• Building 140—Health Center (infirmary)

• Building 224—Computer & Space Sciences (data center)

• Building 115—A.V Williams (data center)

• Building 003—Police Station (security)

• Building 007—Pocomoke (security cameras)

• Building 092—Potomac (phone system)

• Building 004—Ritchie Coliseum (POD)

• Building 011—Motor Pool Facility (access to vehicular fuel)
Animal Care Facilities:
•Building 142—Animal Sciences Wing 3.0

• Building 142—Animal Sciences Wing 1.0

• Building 144—Biology/Psychology

• Building 091—Biochemistry

• Building 231—Microbiology

• Building 087—Central Animal Resources Facility (CARF)

• Building 036—Plant Sciences Building

• Building 046—Marie Mount Hall

• Building 795—Gudelsky Center

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