4000-3-6Pandemic Influenza Plan

Responsible Executive:
Vice-President, Finance & Administration
Director, Facilities Management
Issue Date:
October 21, 2010
Supersedes Date:
October 21, 2010
Last Review:
May 26, 2016
Last Revision:
May 26, 2016

Upon request, the college will provide a copy of this policy in an alternate format.

Influenza (the flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. There are three types of the flu viruses: Types A, B, and C. Influenza A and B viruses that routinely spread in people (human influenza viruses) are responsible for seasonal flu epidemics each year.

The emergence of a new influenza virus to which the population has little or no immunity can cause sudden, pervasive illness and death in all age groups on a global scale. Three to four times each century, for unknown reasons, a radical change takes place in the influenza A virus causing a new strain to emerge. A worldwide epidemic (outbreak) of influenza A is called an influenza pandemic. A pandemic may occur at any time, with the potential to cause serious illness, death and immense social and economic disruption throughout the world.

Having recognized the potential impact of an influenza pandemic at Lambton College the following Pandemic Influenza Plan has been developed to place the College in a position of readiness. It is the intent of this plan to identify key actions Lambton College may need to undertake for the prevention of, preparedness for, and response to an influenza outbreak that would threaten both the health of the community and the business continuity of the College.

The Plan is to be considered an active document which must be reviewed and updated on a regular basis as conditions change at the college, in the city, province, across the continent, and around the world.

Background

There have been three pandemics in the last century (1918-1919, 1957-1958 and 1968-1969) with the worst being the 1918-1919 "Spanish Flu" that caused 20-40 million deaths worldwide. In June 2009, the World Health Organization declared an Influenza Pandemic when a new influenza A (H1N1) virus emerged to cause illness in people and spread worldwide.

An influenza pandemic usually spreads in two or more waves, either in the same year or in successive influenza seasons. A second wave may occur within three to nine months of the initial outbreak wave and may cause more serious illness and deaths than the first. In any locality, the length of each wave of illness is likely to be six to eight weeks (Canadian Pandemic Influenza Plan, December 2003, Background, p. 3-4)

Assumptions

  1. Predicted spread and severity:
    1. Over a several month period, illness rates for population: 15-35%
    2. Global spread in: 3 months
    3. Vaccine availability: 6 months after initial outbreak
    4. Anti-viral treatment: Likely to be in short supply and may not be effective
  2. Potential Effects:
    1. Large percentages of the population may be unable to work for days to weeks during the pandemic.
    2. Decreased numbers of people and expertise available.
    3. Decreased emergency and essential services – fire, police and medical.
    4. Potential for mandatory school closures
    5. Delays in supplies shipments, mail delivery and outside service work.
    6. Disruption of utilities repairs and limited potential service losses.
  3. College Operational Effects:
    1. Large numbers of staff absent, difficult to maintain school operations.
    2. Loss of services from suppliers (e.g. food service, other essential products).
    3. Large numbers of student absenteeism.
    4. Operational breakdowns of facility and services.
    5. Potential evacuation/holding Centre for the County.

Plan Purpose

  1. The purpose of this plan is to assist the College in managing the impact of a health crisis (such as an Influenza Pandemic) while: maintaining our mission of promoting student and community success; and keeping academic excellence, student & community success, and technological & service excellence as a focus. The goal is based on three main strategies:
    1. Reducing spread of the virus within Lambton College facilities;
    2. Sustaining educational and activity functions; and
    3. Sustaining facility operational functions.
  2. In order for the goal to be met, it will be necessary to provide resources needed for protecting individuals and identify essential services within the College that must continue to be provided in a health crisis. Through effective leadership, organization, and participation by all members of the College community the plan will assist in continued College operation under difficult circumstances.

Leadership Structure

Pandemic Steering Committee

  1. Senior Executive (President & CEO; Vice-President, Finance & Administration; Vice-President, Academic & Student Success; Vice-President, Applied Research); Senior Director, Marketing, Communications & Brand Management; Director, Facilities Management; Director, Student Services; and Registrar are responsible for:
    1. Oversees college-wide pandemic plan and issues all directives
    2. Provides overall direction for creating and implementing the pandemic plan
    3. Collaborates with local emergency response and public health officials in the establishment and implementation of the Pandemic Plan to assure proper response and communication with the representative agencies (i.e. Blue water Health)
    4. Ensures that core functions, people and skills have been identified and that strategies are in place to manage these prior to the pandemic
    5. Maintains a process for upholding the operations of administration (including budget, payroll, and ongoing communications with employees and students)
    6. Will ensure a short- & long-term business continuity plan is developed in the result of a mandatory school closure

Pandemic Planning Review Committee

  1. Vice-President, Academic & Student Success (or designate); Director, Facilities Management; Director, Campus Services; Senior Director, Marketing, Communications & Brand Management; Director, Student Services; Senior Dean, International & School of Computer Studies; Registrar; S.A.C. Representative; Local 124 Representative; Local 125 Representative; Health Nurse, provide expert advice for the planning process and creation of a pandaemic plan and are responsible for:
    1. Identifying essential corporate services
    2. Approximate number of staffs needed to provide essential services
    3. Number of staff available for redeployment
    4. Skill set required to maintain services
  2. The committee will review the Plan annually to ensure the response and program information is current and applicable.

College Management Team (CMT) and Health Nurse

  1. Responsible for developing protocols for their specific departments in the event of a pandemic outbreak, (guidelines focus on management of resources and identifying responsibilities of administrators, employees, students, and others within the college community)
  2. Monitor and communicate substantial increases in absenteeism among students .and faculty at each campus location. In the event of notable increases in absenteeism, CMT will report to the Pandemic Steering Committee.

Communication Process (see "Communication Tree")

Medical Officer of Health (MOH)

  1. Legislated lead responsibility for the provision of emergency health services, control of epidemics, and response to large-scale adverse human health events (such as a pandemic).
  2. Power to identify, reduce, or eliminate health hazards and to issue orders if there is an immediate risk of an outbreak of a communicable disease.

Health, Safety & Environmental Coordinator / Health Nurse

  1. Must report cases of influenza to the local MOH or designate.
  2. Responsible for monitoring public health advisories (federal, provincial, and local) and reporting pandemic outbreaks to the Pandemic Steering Committee.
  3. Will circulate Pandemic Influenza information received from the Lambton County Pandemic Planning committee, and other governing authorities, to the Pandemic Steering Committee.

Pandemic Steering Committee

  1. Will advise CMT, Union Locals, & Lambton College Administrative Staff Association (LCASA) of information regarding potential or existing Pandemic Influenza which can directly influence the operation of the College
  2. Will monitor information from federal, provincial, and local public safety & health agencies and will forward pertinent information to CMT, Union Locals, & LCASA as determined to be appropriate by the Committee. Primary communication channels to be monitored by the Committee will be the Lambton County Health Unit website - Lambton Community Health Services Department
  3. Will direct CMT to activate the response plan for monitoring influenza activity and implementing guidelines outlined in departmental protocol
  4. Will manage all internal and public communications regarding the College Pandemic Plan status

College Management Team (CMT)

  1. Will inform all persons in their respective areas to implement pandemic departmental guidelines
  2. Ensure there is adequate coverage for all essential functions of their departments
  3. Report directly to Senior Executive when services must be disrupted due to inadequate staffing or resources

Employees

  1. Responsible for notifying their supervisor of any absence
  2. Requested to stipulate if the absence is due to flu-like illness

Students

  1. Responsible for notifying their instructor or departmental administrative assistant of absence
  2. Requested to stipulate if the absence is due to flu-like illness

Communication Tree

  1. 4000-3-6 Pandemic Influenza Plan - Communication Tree
    This diagram shows communication flow from clients/students, support staff, faculty and CMT through the pandemic committees to the Health Nurse and the Medical Officer of Health:

     

Communication to Public

  1. In the event of a pandemic outbreak:
    1. The Pandemic Steering Committee and / or appointed designates will be responsible for internal and external communications regarding operations of the College. The Senior Director – Marketing, Communication & Brand Management, or designate, is the official spokesperson for both internal and external communications.
    2. The Pandemic Steering Committee will meet on a regular basis to discuss and decide on key messages to be communicated to employees, students, families and the general public as appropriate. Educational communications will be provided:
      1. In a language appropriate to reflect the needs of the diverse population represented at the College
      2. To encourage employees to acquire and maintain personal / regular healthcare services
      3. Regarding College policies for employees compensation and sick leave absences that may be unique to a pandemic

Internal Communications:

  1. Will be made frequently utilizing at least one of the following delivery methods:
    1. Email
    2. Voice Mail
    3. Posters
    4. College Website: Pandemic Plan
    5. Departmental Mailboxes
    6. Departmental Meetings
    7. Home Mailings

External Communications:

  1. Will be made as necessary utilizing at least one of the following delivery methods:
    1. Local Radio: K106.3FM; Fox 99.9FM; CHOK 103.9FM & 1070 AM
    2. Local Television New Services: Channel 6, 13, 26 (Cable TV)
    3. Local Newspaper: Sarnia Observer
    4. College Website
    5. College Switchboard: 519-542-7751
  2. Lambton College will utilize County Public Health Services (and possibly nursing faculty / graduating nursing students) to communicate and educate faculty / staff / students about effective hygiene habits before any outbreaks occur to protect everyone (promotion of frequent hand washing, cough / sneeze etiquette) by:
    1. Distributing information about the pandemic preparedness and response plan
    2. Anticipating the potential fear and anxiety of students and employees as a result of rumors and misinformation, and plan rapid and accurate communications accordingly
    3. Distributing information for students, 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

Plan Overview

Lambton College will follow a 3-step approach to pandemic flu planning in order to protect all College members and preserve the function of the school.

Step 1: PREVENTION (No outbreak reported)

  1. Focus on education of students / employees and preventative hygiene measures. Activities involve:
    1. Ensure adequate supplies of disinfectant hand soaps and disinfectant cleaning supplies are available for employees and students
    2. Provide employees and students a Flu Prevention information sheet
      1. General hand washing & use of respiratory hygiene to prevent spread of infection
    3. Educate staff & faculty through internal communications
      1. Symptoms of illness, baselines for staying home and when they may return, general preventative measures, pandemic influenza facts, College Pandemic Plan, individual responsibilities in pandemic outbreak
    4. Encourage employees and students to obtain the annual seasonal influenza vaccines

Step #2: PREPARATION (Potential for Pandemic outbreak)

  1. Focus on administrative and departmental guidelines for all steps of pandemic plan. Activities involve:
    1. Development of Departmental Guidelines which include recommendations for actions that will need to be taken at various stages of a flu pandemic (plan for absenteeism) – HSE Coordinator will develop and distribute Template for Departmental Guideline
    2. Pandemic Steering Committee consults with the Planning Committee, CMT, and prepares the College to function with 15 - 30% of the workforce potentially absent
    3. Pandemic Steering Committee consults with and prepares CMT to:
      1. Develop policies and procedures for containment measures or social distancing procedures
      2. Develop Pandemic Attendance / Surveillance Protocol
      3. Keep records of all reported flu and flu-like illness during pandemic
      4. Work with HR and Wellness Centre to report illnesses
      5. Health Nurse will keep a log of staff and students who experience illness while at the College
      6. Ill persons will be instructed to leave the College facilities as soon as possible and seek medical care
      7. The department of People & Organizational Development will gather data on all employee absences
      8. It will be the responsibility of each and every employee to watch for potential sources of infection and report them immediately to the Wellness Centre
      9. Employees and students are encouraged to prepare their home and family in order to maintain optimal wellness

Step #3: RESPONSE (Pandemic outbreak reported in Canada/US)

  1. Focus on notification / communications and backing up essential services (potential closure). Activities may involve:
    1. 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
    2. Place Informational postings around the college (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.
    3. Inform College Community of internal Pandemic Status
    4. All shared work areas (such as tables, door knobs, stair rails, etc) be cleaned with a disinfectant at least daily
    5. Shared phones should be cleaned frequently by the users.
    6. Computer keyboards and mice should not be shared whenever possible. Shared computer keyboards and mice should be cleaned / disinfected between each use using recommended treated wipes. (NOTE: Free liquids should not be used on electrical equipment. Use cleaning materials recommended by the equipment manufacturers.)
    7. Where operationally possible, during the day increase fresh air intake to the facilities to decrease spread of disease.
  2. Outbreak reported in Canada/US
    1. Alert / notification announced by Pandemic Steering Committee
    2. No disruption of College business
    3. Increase use of protective measures
    4. Implement Attendance / Surveillance Protocol
    5. Reporting and treatment of symptomatic persons
  3. Outbreak affects 15-30% of College Population
    1. Initiate Departmental Guidelines (alternative plans for delivery of services)
    2. Back-up essential services (some non-essential services may be disrupted)
    3. Arrange for back-up personnel to be in place
    4. Continue increased use of protective measures
    5. Continue reporting and treatment of symptomatic persons
  4. Outbreak affects >30% of College Population
    1. Non-essential services interrupted
    2. Some essential services disrupted
    3. College closure and timing decision
    4. Information lines remain open

Recovery

  1. Pandemic Steering Committee meets to review and discuss return to business
  2. Essential & non-essential services restored
  3. College re-opens but remains on alert for another wave of influenza

Resources

  • Public Health Agency of Canada; CDC – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Lambton County Pandemic Influenza Plan; Canadian
  • Pandemic Influenza Plan; St. Clair College Corporate Pandemic Plan November 2006; Bluegrass Community & Technical College Pandemic Influenza
  • Plan; New York State Department of Health – Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Packet for Colleges and Universities

Pandemic Planning

Departmental Guidelines

Lambton College will follow a 3-step approach to pandemic flu planning (Prevention, Preparedness, Response) in order to protect all College members and preserve the function of the school.

It is the responsibility of College Management to review Lambton College's Pandemic Plan and develop pandemic influenza guidelines for their respective departments. The Health, Safety & Environmental Coordinator is available for consultation to ensure plans are consistent with goals and objectives of pandemic planning.

All managers are required to identify "Who is Responsible" and "Areas of Responsibility/Action" during each Step of the Pandemic Plan.

Step #1: Prevention

Focus on education of students/employees and preventative hygiene measures

Table 1: Prevention and Education
Who Is Responsible Areas of Responsibility / Action
Dean/Director/Manager
  • Review educational materials/posters on general preventive hygiene measures with all staff
College Nurse
  • Recommend influenza vaccinations to high-risk groups first then to general staff
  • Provide employees and students with a Flu Prevention information sheet (general hand washing and use of respiratory hygiene to prevent spread of infection)
  • Distribute educational materials/posters on general preventative hygiene measures throughout the college
Faculty/CICE Staff
  • Provide for in-class instruction with students in your program regarding preventive measures
Early ON Staff
  • Educate the Centre's families, staff and students on general preventative hygiene measures as well as signs and symptoms of the flu via posters, newsletters, etc.
  • Post free vaccination clinic dates and/or refer staff and families to family physician or college nurse for shots
  • Model appropriate hygiene/prevention strategies for children i.e. wiping noses, tissue disposal, hand washing techniques, etc.
Facilities Management Staff
  • Post educational posters regarding proper hand washing respiratory hygiene in all washrooms
  • Ensure adequate supplies of disinfectant hand soaps and disinfectant cleaning supplies are available for employees and students
Residence Staff
  • Share information about Pandemic Flu with residents (i.e. post signs throughout building to inform students of the signs and symptoms)
  • Post educational posters regarding proper hand washing/respiratory hygiene in hallways/bulletin boards
  • Encourage residents to stay in separate rooms or isolate themselves from others who are sick
International Education Staff
  • Review educational materials/posters on general preventive hygiene measures with all international students
HSE Coordinator & College Nurse
  • Educate staff and faculty via mandatory training (symptoms of illness, baselines for staying home and when they may return, general preventative measures, pandemic influenza facts, College Pandemic Plan, individual responsibilities in pandemic outbreak)

Step #2: Preparedness

Focus on administrative and departmental guidelines for all steps of pandemic plan

Table 2: Prepare Guidelines
Who Is Responsible Areas of Responsibility / Action
Dean/Director/Manager
  • Review Core Pandemic Plan
  • Create Pandemic Guidelines established from base template for department and review with all staff
  • Identify essential services in the department
  • Designate a representative in event that a dean, director or manager becomes ill or unable to carry out position
  • Identify skill sets for dean, director or manager 
  • Cross-train designate for dean, director or manager 
  • Designate a representative for support staff position in event that person becomes ill or is unable to carry out position
  • Identify skill sets for support staff position (review PDFs)
  • Cross-train designate for support staff position
  • Advise employees to prepare for possibility of limited access to goods and services
Administrative Assistant
  • Prepare telephone, address and email list of departmental staff
  • Create list of outside entities and contact information frequently used by the department
Faculty
  • Prepare alternate plans for delivery of course content in the event faculty become ill and are unable to attend class
  • Prepare alternate plans for delivery of course content in the event that students become ill and are unable to attend class
  • Prepare alternate plans for delivery of course content in the event that the school is closed
College Nurse
  • Order influenza vaccines
  • Schedule vaccine clinics
  • Create a list of healthcare entities and contact information frequently used or referred to by the Wellness Centre
  • Order extra stock supplies
Early ON Staff
  • Update part-time staff list
  • Update list of families
  • Maintain list of ill children, students, staff as well as symptoms and cause of absence
Facilities Management Staff
  • Essential Facilities Management tasks will include cleaning, sterilizing, equipment repair/maintenance, boiler/chiller/HVAC operation, and services deemed essential to the operation of other College departments (essential services shall be identified as those services required to maintain a clean, safe and fully operational facility – all work requests received will be assessed against these criteria and prioritized accordingly)
  • Order extra stock of essential expendable supplies
Food Services Staff
  • Create food preparation plans that do not require perishable goods
  • Order extra stock of essential non-perishable goods
Lambton Residence Staff
  • Send information letters to students, parents, and/or guarantors as needed
  • Educate residents to report illness to Front Desk as soon as possible
  • Prepare alternate plans for housing in the event that the residence must close
I.T. Staff
  • Identify services that can be run from home in event of closure
HR Staff
  • Assist departmental managers to access PDFs for their departments

Step #3: Response

Focus on notification / communication and backing up essential services – potential closure

Outbreak Reported in Canada / US

Table 3: Communication
Who Is Responsible Areas of Responsibility / Action
Dean/Director/Manager
  • Inform departmental staff to begin monitoring influenza activity
  • Report cases influenza-like illness absenteeism to HR on a daily basis
  • Ensure persons displaying or reporting symptoms of flu-like illness are sent to the Wellness Centre or their doctor
Administrative Assistant
  • Monitor daily the number of staff calling in sick due to influenza-like symptoms
  • Gather daily reports from faculty on the number of students who have called in sick with flu-like illness
  • Utilize increased preventative measures such as hand washing, respiratory hygiene, cleaning shared tools such as keyboards and telephones
College Nurse
  • Report cases of diagnosed influenza or influenza-like illnesses to the public health unit on a daily or weekly basis
  • Monitor daily the number of patients calling or coming in to the clinic with flu-like symptoms
  • Keep a record of daily reports from faculty and staff on the number of students who have called in with flu-like illnesses
  • Assess, diagnose and treat individuals for influenza illnesses
  • Designate a separate room for patients with flu-like illnesses
  • Dedicate equipment and supplies to isolation room
  • Postpone/reschedule non-essential clinic appointments
OEYC Staff
  • Isolate staff, students or children with flu-like symptoms until they can go home
  • Report cases of flu-like illness to the public health unit and college nurse
  • Alert parents to pick children up as necessary
  • Continue to maintain list of ill children, staff, and students as well as the symptoms and cause of absence
  • Prepare for possible closure
I.T. Staff
  • Post notices on website for internal and external communications as directed by Pandemic Planning Committee
People & Organizational Development Staff
  • Meet with college nurse/HSE coordinator daily to relay departmental data (i.e. absenteeism due to flu-like illness)
International Education Staff
  • Staff and students who have recently come from pandemic areas may be quarantined following advisories from Public Health
  • Travel to and from infected areas (domestic and international) is not recommended during a pandemic outbreak and may cause disruption of services in International Education – this would apply to students as well as recruiters
  • Communication with student's emergency contact person must be made to keep families apprised of situation
Facilities Management Staff
  • 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
  • Place informational postings around the college (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 students spacing

Outbreak Affects 15-30% of College Population

Table 4: Outbreak response
Who Is Responsible Areas of Responsibility / Action
Dean/Director/Manager
  • Prepare back-up system for essential services only
  • Reassign staff as needed to maintain essential services
  • Ensure all personnel have key contact information and understand reporting structure
  • Prepare to cancel / hold all non-essential services
  • Implement student spacing (reduce person to person interactions, postpone school events)
College Nurse
  • Cancel all appointments for non-acute illness
Facilities Management Staff
  • Ensure essential services are not interrupted by means of ongoing dialogue with College departments
  • Disinfect all shared work areas (e.g. door knobs, stair rails, etc.) at least daily
  • Increase fresh air intake to the facilities, where operationally possible, during the day to decrease spread of disease
  • Change the message on call pilot system - Switchboard
Food Services Staff
  • Use up stock of perishable goods
  • Prepare food menus from non-perishable goods when perishable goods have been used up
Lambton Residence Staff
  • Prohibit guests into residence - only residents allowed in building
  • Ensure residents sign in and out of building
  • Ask students to remain in their rooms if ill
  • Move healthy students to vacant beds where possible
I.T. Staff
  • Post notices on website for internal and external communications as directed by Pandemic Planning Committee
  • Discourage sharing computer keyboards and mice whenever possible. Shared computer keyboards and mice should be cleaned/disinfected between each use using recommended treated wipes
HR Staff
  • Reassign staff as needed to maintain essential services

Outbreak Affects >30% of College Population

Table 5: Outbreak Response
Who Is Responsible Areas of Responsibility / Action
Dean/Director/Manager
  • Inform essential staff to prepare to close department
  • Advise staff, students, families, etc to listen to local media or check the college website for the most up-to-date information regarding a re-open date
Administrative Assistant
  • Change the message on the phone (internal)
  • Ensure that all supplies and records are secure
  • Call off–campus staff and faculty to inform of closure
College Nurse
  • Call patients to cancel all appointments
Early ON Staff
  • Inform essential staff, parents, students, and college nurse that the Early ON Centre is closed
Facilities Management Staff
  • Change the message on call pilot system - switchboard
  • Advise all non-essential contract services of college closure
  • Hold departmental meetings to discuss facilities management activities during closure
  • Clean/sanitize entire campus upon closure (areas prioritized – Wellness Centre, washrooms, eating areas, fountains, Office of the Registrar & Financial Aid Services, computer labs, library and phones)
I.T. Staff
  • Post notices on website for internal and external communications as directed by Pandemic Planning Committee
International Education Staff
  • Arrange for emergency evacuation as required
  • Contact embassies as required by international protocol in special incidents
  • Keep strict records on international students and any unusual incidents including illness, hospitalization or death

Recovery

Table 6: Recovery Tasks
Who Is Responsible Areas of Responsibility / Action
Dean/Director/Manager
  • Meet with CMT and Pandemic Steering Committee to discuss re-opening of the college and essential services
  • Communicate to administrative assistant as to when department will re-open
Administrative Assistant
  • Call staff and faculty to inform them of departmental re-opening
  • Change internal voice message on the phone to reflect the re-opening date
  • Continue recording absences as well as symptoms and causes of absences (next wave of pandemic?)
Early ON Staff
  • Obtain clearance by Health Unit prior to re-opening the Early ON Centre
I.T. Staff
  • Post notices on website for internal and external communications as directed by Pandemic Planning Committee

For questions or concerns regarding policies, please contact the policy sponsor. See the phone list for contact info.

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