Emergency Response and Recovery Plan - Pandemic Flu
Revised: September 16, 2009; September 28, 2011
New England Culinary Institute is adopting the following Pandemic Flu Preparedness Plan under the outline of the NECI Emergency Response and Recovery Plan. Given the catastrophic possibilities associated with a pandemic flu outbreak, and its impact on the NECI community, including severe illness and death, we are asking students and their families, and staff and their families to take specific steps in addressing the potential risk
Various historical accounts of the “Spanish Influenza” of 1918 may serve as a model for what might be expected from a novel influenza should it evolve into a severe pandemic. It is estimated that the 1918 event killed more than 600,000 in the US, and 20 million, or more, worldwide. Estimates by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) predict that the death toll in the United States in such an event today could reach 1.7 million, and 180 to 360 million worldwide. Of great concern is the likelihood that deaths will occur over a very short period of time, and like 1918, would primarily affect young, healthy people whose vigorous immune system might overreact to the flu. This population, of course, includes our college students.
Current information from the CDC and other sources, suggest that a severe pandemic, involving easy and rapid spread of an aggressive and lethal virus, could have a devastating effect on people who must live in close proximity to each other. The strategy of “social distancing” is recommended by the CDC to mitigate the spread of the virus. This strategy is intended to prevent large gatherings of people and would involve the closure of schools, churches, theaters, and restaurants. Of course, social distancing is difficult within a residential college setting where students live in close proximity in dormitories, eat in the cafeterias, and have frequent and close contact in their classrooms and other settings. It is believed that, in a severe pandemic, early, and radical, social distancing is essential to prevent the spread of disease, and allows for the greatest chance of avoiding the disease.
After assessing options regarding students housing and dining situations at NECI it is recommended that the safest and most responsible approach during a potentially severe pandemic would consist of three phases:
Phase I – NECI will coordinate and encourage all students and employees at NECI to be vaccinated for both seasonal flu. NECI will initiate a publicity and training campaign for students and staff using CDC supplied materials. NECI will stock (and distribute as necessary) hand sanitizer and respirator masks.
Phase II – The first cases of flu in the NECI community will be isolated at their place of residence, dormitory or at a local public quarantine facility. NECI will seek to acquire a number of isolated housing units where students with flu like symptoms can be housed and cared for.
Phase III – Upon recommendation from Vermont Emergency Management, and the Vermont Health Department, NECI would convene the Emergency Operations Group and evacuate the campus of students and all but essential employees. Ideally this closure would take place before any wide spread incidence of flu at NECI. Unlike short closures (term break, holidays, etc.), a pandemic could warrant a complete closure and all students and staff (except for emergency staff) would be required to vacate campus facilities until it was deemed safe to return. Best estimates suggest that closure could last for weeks or months.
In today’s global society a severe pandemic could erupt and spread quickly. In order for closure to be effective and quick, every student will be required to create a personal plan for rapid evacuation to a more isolated location. A student’s primary plan might be to simply go home. But, for those whose homes are far from campus, or whose home might be in an infected area, a student might need to travel to the home of another relative, or friend. It will be important for students (in advance of executing the plan) to inform those with whom they will shelter of their roles in the plan.
All enrolled students in residency will be required to identify and submit two personal evacuation locations. The two locations must be in different areas or cities, and one of the locations must be within a reasonable driving distance of Montpelier. Means of transportation will be of concern for some students, with public transportation being potentially disrupted. Insuring that a student can actually get to their chosen location is critical in the development of their plan. The closure of NECI due to severe pandemic would be a time when our community will need to work to together and assist each other.
NECI will be morally obligated to help students develop their plans. Those with special needs or disabilities will be offered support through the Student Services Department. With support of NECI, all students will be required to present their completed plans by the end of registration.
Pandemic Flu Preparedness Planning Assumptions
New England Culinary Institute will operate under the following assumptions regarding Pandemic Flu Preparedness once it has received guidance from Vermont Emergency Management and the Vermont Department of Health.
NECI will seek, with the assistance of the Red Cross and other public institutions, to isolate any students who show symptoms of flu. This isolation could take place on the NECI Campus, or at a public location. Isolation policy will continue until a critical numbers of cases have occurred requiring closure of the campus.
Closure Plan Details
NECI will immediately enforce closure of all campus buildings within six hours of Pandemic Flu guidance from Vermont Emergency Management and the Vermont Health Department, and the following steps will be completed:
- Students will evacuate the campus in a rapid but orderly manner to their pre-selected locations, regardless of the hour of the day, or the day of the week.
- Staff from the Student Services and Facilities Departments will monitor and assist students with an orderly, rapid evacuation of the campus for the duration of the six hour period following the official announcement of closure.
- The campus may be closed for a period ranging from several weeks to several months.
- RA’s living in NECI dorms will also need to evacuate campus. Resident Life Coordinators living in student housing may be allowed to remain in the dorms to provide security.
- Other staff from the Administration, Student Services, IS, and Facilities Departments may be allowed to remain on campus to ensure operational security and safety.
- All other NECI staff shall evacuate campus by the end of the evacuation day.
Personal Evacuation Plan, Student
- NECI requires all residential students, interns, and others living in student housing to develop and record a personal plan for sustained campus closure. The plan will include:
- A personal evacuation plan from current resident students, interns, and RA’s for each residential term.
- The name and address information for both alternate locations chosen.
- A student’s means of travel to both alternate locations.
- Willingness to transport (and possibly house) other NECI students during the evacuation.
- Students failing to submit a completed evacuation plan will not be permitted to register until such plan is submitted.
- NECI will share the student’s evacuation plan with parents and family. Students must keep their parents and families updated on their plans.
- Data from student’s plans may be used by NECI (and other local, state or federal agencies) for evacuation planning purposes.
- A NECI website or other means of communication may be created to assist in guiding students in creating an effective evacuation plan.
- NECI may support student initiatives in organizing shared transportation.
- Students are responsible for the validity and execution of their plans.
- NECI is not responsible for the validity or execution of any student’s individual plan.
- Failure of a student to execute a personal evacuation plan will not entitle the student to receive shelter or services from NECI after NECI is closed. If a personal evacuation plan fails, the student is responsible for quickly developing an alternate plan.
- Students, not NECI, are responsible for communicating with their families during an evacuation.
- NECI may not have immediate access to individual evacuation plans, and it cannot assume responsibility for communicating information about students’ plans or locations during an evacuation.
- Communications – The first phase of the NECI emergency alert system will utilize the existing Campus Management System platform to communicate school closure to the NECI students and staff by way of text messages and e-mails. The NECI website will include more detailed information.
The second phase will move the emergency alert system to an external service that can communicate via multiple modes, including pagers, cell phones, land lines, SMS, twitter, e-mail, and other communication systems as they become available. In addition to the external system, NECI may use any, or all, of the following means of communication:
- Announcement on the NECI website
- A dedicated campus telephone line.
- Staff face-to-face notification
- Local media
- The use of fellow students, regional alumni, and local citizens to temporarily house students in need.
- It is anticipated that 20-40% of all NECI staff may be unable to perform their duties due to death, illness, or family demands during the period of closure.
- The NECI infrastructure and facilities will remain intact so long as the required human resources are available. We will enact a facilities continuity plan, in the event of long term closure that will ensure the campus to be physically secure during any period of campus closure.
- NECI will implement an Educational Continuity Plan that, in the event of a long term closure will enable students to continue their education (to the degree possible) through on-line resources. Registered students will be expected to attend all of their on-line classes during a brief or extended period of campus closure.
- NECI will continue to honor the normal and customary system of reimbursement of fees paid for courses dropped as outlined in the Student Handbook.
- The college will attempt to continue meeting payroll and providing benefits to employees, although the severity of a crisis could limit the capacity to do this.
- NECI will reopen, and normal teaching and operational activities will resume as soon as it is considered medically safe to do so by government authorities taking into account the timing of the academic year.
- NECI will set up an annual pandemic planning and exercise event involving the EOG, faculty, staff and student representatives.
- NECI will coordinate its actions with the following partners before, during, and after a flu incident:
Vermont Emergency Management – 802-244-8721
Vermont Department of Health – 802-388-4678
Center for Disease Control – 800-CDC-INFO
World Health organization - +41 22 791 21 11
Montpelier health officer – Glenn Moore – 802-262-6170
Montpelier Emergency Management Coordinator – Robert Gowans – 802-223-3445
Montpelier City Manager – Bill Fraser – 802-223-9502
Vermont College of Fine Art – William Kaplan – 802-371-9287
Union Institute and University – Neil Meyer – 802-8228-8702
National Life Group – Fred Barnett – 802-229-1029
Fire Department – non-emergency 802-229-4913
Police Department – non-emergency 802-3445
Jeff Nick – (118 Main, 7 School landlord) 802-343-0155
Chip Hart – (La Brioche landlord) 802-343-0810