Pandemic Influenza Plan

PLANNING OVERVIEW

The Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS), having recognized the potential threat of a world-wide influenza 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 Influenza Plans system wide, the Office of the President for Jefferson Community and Technical College (Jefferson) has created the Pandemic Influenza Planning (PIP) Committee. The PIP Committee was established to ensure that preparedness and pandemic response planning occurs. The PIP Committee has been identified as Jefferson’s authority responsible for the activation of the Pandemic Influenza Plan.

The PIP Committee will be responsible for the development of an Incident Command System within Jefferson to manage the Pandemic Influenza Plan.

The PIP Committee will include input from faculty, staff, and employees representing various college operations and student representatives, as appropriate.

The PIP Committee collaborates with local emergency response and public health planners in the establishment and maintenance of the Jefferson Pandemic Influenza Plan to insure coordination of response and communication with the representative agencies.

The PIP Committee reviews the Pandemic Influenza Plan at least annually to insure the response planning and program information is current and applicable.

The PIP 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 the virus.

The PIP Committee will communicate with the Jefferson Office of Administrative Services 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 Jefferson will report the information with:

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

This Pandemic Influenza Plan was written specifically for Jefferson by the appointed Pandemic Influenza Planning Committee. It is the intent of this plan to identify key important actions Jefferson 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 Influenza Plan effectively addresses the unique needs of Jefferson.

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 are 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 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 an Influenza Pandemic at Jefferson. The key goal of this plan is based on three main strategies:

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

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

  • Communication to Jefferson from external sources regarding the pandemic virus, and internal communications within Jefferson.
  • Activities to reduce the spread of the virus:
    • Reducing risk of infected persons (students, staff, visitors) entering the facility.
    • 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
    • Continuance of essential educational functions:
    • Identification of essential staff and functions.
    • Planning for absenteeism of students and 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 Influenza Communication to Jefferson Administration

The Jefferson Office of the President will disseminate Pandemic Influenza information received from the KCTCS Office of the President and other governing authorities to the Jefferson Pandemic Response Coordinator. Information on Pandemic Influenza will be reviewed by the Jefferson Pandemic Influenza Planning Committee for potential affect on Jefferson operational planning and action.

The Pandemic Influenza Planning Committee will advise the Jefferson Office of the President of information due to potential or existing Pandemic Influenza which can, or does directly influence the operation of Jefferson.

The Pandemic Influenza 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 Jefferson 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

The Director of Public Relations has been identified as the spokesperson for communication of information to the public.

Jefferson will follow business interruption and closure procedures utilizing outside communication resources to include:

  • Local Television News Services
  • Local Radio Stations
  • Local Newspaper
  • Communications will be via a dedicated website, telephone 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 is 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 Louisville Metro Health Department, and other agencies.

Communications to Employees

Communications to employees shall be managed per the Jefferson operating procedures and the Pandemic Influenza Plan. Jefferson will advise employees in advance where to find up-to-date and reliable information.

Communications will be via the Internet website, a dedicated website, telephone 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 is 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.

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 the College website, telephone 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 is language appropriate to reflect the needs of the diverse student body represented at the College.

Jefferson will utilize the Nursing and Allied Health 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 Student Services staff 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 influenza is occurring within the United States and or Canada, the PIP 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 Academic Affairs and Student Services office to make available to employees and students a pandemic influenza fact sheet containing information regarding stopping the spread of the virus and performing effective student spacing.
  • Will instruct that all shared work areas (such as desktops, tables, door knobs, stair rails, etc.) be cleaned with a disinfectant at least daily, and preferably more often if possible.
  • Consult with and prepare Jefferson Administration and Maintenance to function with 30% of the workforce potentially absent.
  • Consult with, and prepare Jefferson Administration to implement policies and procedures for containment measures (canceling social events and other mass gatherings).
  • Consult with and prepare Jefferson 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 Jefferson 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 Jefferson will close.
  • Consult with and prepare Jefferson Administration to implement Student Spacing protocols (social distancing). [Student spacing refers to 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 computer labs or monitoring for spacing.
    • Limit or eliminate group activities and interaction.
    • Cancel school activities that place individuals in close proximity.

Maintenance and Cleaning

Disinfection of shared work areas, counters, railings, door knobs and openers, stair rails, elevator buttons, and public 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.

Computer keyboards and mice should not be shared whenever possible. Shared computer keyboards 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/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 PIP 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 Staff, Students or Visitors

The PIP will post information on what to do if people get sick while at Jefferson.

Education of staff regarding symptoms of illness will be done annually.

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 Jefferson facilities as soon as possible.

Sick or ill persons should be encouraged to seek medical care.

Student Services report to the PIP Committee if influenza is likely present on the campus based on appropriate information or observation.

Educate staff and parents/students regarding standard baselines for staying home and when they may return to school.

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.

Jefferson encourage employees, and students, to obtain the annual seasonal influenza vaccines.

The Louisville Health Department, Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS), Department for Public Health (DPH) and/or 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 Louisville Metro Health Department, Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS), Department for Public Health (DPH) and the Center for Disease and the Center for Disease Control will provide recommendations of the use of anti-viral medication.

CONTINUITY OF OPERATIONS

Jefferson’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.

Jefferson’s Administration will maintain a process for maintaining the operations of the business office (including budget, payroll, and ongoing communications with employees and students)

PANDEMIC INFLUENZA PLAN MAINTENANCE

The PIP committee will do the following:

  • The plan will be reviewed and revised annually.
  • The plan will be exercised and tested annually.
  • The exercise results should be incorporated into the plan to improve effectiveness of procedures.

APPENDIX

FEDERAL, STATE AND LOCAL PLANNING FOR PANDEMIC INFLUENZA

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

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

Local Role
The Louisville Metro Health Department serves Jefferson County and surrounding area and works very closely with local agencies on issues dealing with natural disaster, bioterrorism incidents, and other public health emergencies. They are responsible for updating agency response plans and for developing, conducting, and facilitating trainings for both health department staff and the community. They also serve on community-based committees that deal with issues related to disaster preparedness.