Pandemic Response Plan
One of the highest current risks to individuals is the possible emergence of an influenza pandemic – the rapid worldwide spread of influenza caused by a novel or mutated virus to which people would have no immunity, resulting in more serious illness than that caused by seasonal influenza.
During an influenza pandemic, the aim will be to encourage people to carry on as normal, as far as possible, if they are well, while taking additional precautions to protect themselves from infection and to lessen the risk of spread to others.
The main objectives of the response to an influenza pandemic will be to:
- Limit illness and death arising from exposure and infection.
- Provide information on treatment and care for those who become ill.
- Minimize disruption to essential services.
- Maintain educational continuity as far as possible.
- Reduce as far as possible disruption to classes/college functions.
One of the main challenges faced by those planning against an influenza pandemic is that the nature and impact of the pandemic virus cannot be known until it emerges. During a pandemic, governmental and non-governmental agencies will issue advice on the full range of response policies that should be adopted to achieve the objectives set out above, based on its understanding of the nature of the pandemic virus and its likely impacts.
Uncertainty about the nature and impact of the pandemic virus means that planning across all sectors’ need, for prudence, to be sufficiently flexible to cope with a range of possible impacts, including those arising from a pandemic virus.
Sources of Guidance
The following website should be accessed in the event of a pandemic:
- US government’s website on pandemic policies and procedures --
State of Hawai‘i’s website on pandemic policies and procedures --
Main Areas of Focus in Planning
- Planning so that the College can continue delivering essential services during a pandemic, taking into account the key planning assumption that medical and social countermeasures against pandemic influenza (antiviral drugs, vaccines, social distance, hygiene, and common sense) should not be overlooked during the first wave of a pandemic.
- Communicating with students, faculty, staff, and public to ensure everyone knows what social and hygienic precautions should be taken.
Staff absence from work
- The level of staff absence from work during a pandemic will depend significantly on the nature of the pandemic virus when it emerges. The planning assumptions set out below are based on current knowledge, analysis of past pandemics, published evidence and scientific modeling. Given the inevitable uncertainties, a range of figures is given in some areas. KapCC should ensure that its continuity plans have the flexibility to accommodate these ranges.
- During a pandemic, staff will be absent from work if:
- Staff are ill with the flu. Numbers in this category will depend on the established clinical attack rate. If the attack rate is 25%, a quarter of staff in total maybe sick and absent from work for the whole course of the pandemic. If a pandemic occurs over one wave, this level of cumulative absence could be experienced by employers over a period of around 3-4 months. But there may well be more than one wave, with absence from work being spread across those waves.
- Staff need to care for children or other family members who are ill with the flu.
- Staff need to care for (well) children because of local school closures on a regional basis during a pandemic. Regardless of whether or not the Government advises schools to close, it is likely that some schools will in any case have to close because of shortages of staff, or because parents are not willing to send their children to school.
- Staff have non-flu medical problems.
- Staff decide to absent themselves for other reasons.
In order to derive estimates for the total number of staff likely to be absent from work at the peak of a pandemic, employers should add data appropriate to their circumstances on:
- The average number of staff ‘normally’ absent from work.
- The proportion of staff whom will be advised to work from home.
Why does the college need to prepare for it?
Communities need to prepare for a pandemic because if a human-to-human transmission is identified, it has the potential to spread very quickly. An outbreak of this strain of the flu could significantly interrupt normal university functions for a period of two to four weeks or up to several months, and may require closure of on-campus housing and university operations. The university community is taking aggressive steps now to prepare for the potential of such a pandemic in the best interest of minimizing the risk of exposure among faculty, staff and students.
What can you do to avoid exposure?
Avoid being around others who are at risk for exposure. As a pandemic emerges, do not kiss, hug, shake hands or come in close contact with others, particularly in large gatherings. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, especially if you suspect that you may have been exposed. Check your temperature regularly for several days after you suspect possible exposure and, should your temperature rise, see a physician immediately.
The following steps will be taken when a Pandemic/outbreak occurs in accordance with the State of Hawaii Department of Health which follows the World Health Organization criteria:
Once the DOH issues Phase 1 – Risk of human infection with animal virus is considered low; and Phase 2 – Animal virus poses a threat, KCC should start preparation for possible human-to-human transmission. Phase 1 and Phase 2 are considered to be an interpandemic period.
Declaration of Phase 3 – Human Infection with new subtype but minimal human-to-human transmission; Phase 4 – Small clusters of human-to-human transmission, highly localized; or Phase 5 – Larger clusters of human-to-human transmission, but still highly localized. KCC will view this as a gear-up stage to ensure preparation is on the way and monitor reports for increased transmission.
- Step 1: First cases of human-to-human transmission internationally - Campus stays open with normal business functions and operation while establishing enhanced planning for Phase 6. Communication with the campus community and system community will increase to keep everyone informed of plans being implemented.
Declaration of Phase 6 – Increased and sustained transmission in the general public. KCC will work with System-wide office and DOH’s Department Operations Center to ensure that proper implementation of response plan is enacted.
The criteria or events that will trigger moving to Step 2 include:
- The World Health Organization declaration of Phase 6 in the pandemic period, reflecting an 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 recommendation to curtail/cancel public activities in county or state
- Falling class attendance and students leaving campus
- Rising employee absenteeism
- Other regional schools and school systems closing
- Transportation systems closing or curtailing interstate travel and (i) cases in the local
- Step 2: Verified cases in Asia and North America with one or more other triggering events – Social distancing measures will be adopted; steps will be taken to eliminate large gatherings, including the cancellation of classes and all other scheduled activities. Student Affairs will ensure that counseling staff are prepared to handle students concerns. The administrative staff will begin to implement emergency response procedures. Administrative departments, student service units and all academic programs will begin preparation for shutting down the campus in the event of increased outbreak.
- Step 3: Within 1-5 days of declaring Phase 6 and depending on national and local conditions – In the event that Kapi‘olani CC has a student housing program, all residences will close; thereafter, as soon as practical, most administrative offices and academic buildings will close. Dining operations will be reduced to support only an emergency infirmary. All administrative and academic support units will be shut down until the campus reopens.
- Step 4: As soon as practical following Step 3 – Campus closed. An emergency condition has been declared by the State of Hawai‘i Department of Health and the campus has been evacuated. All facilities have closed except skeletal services for the infirmary, temporary emergency shelter housing for students with extreme hardships, and essential research. Access to campus has been sealed off for vehicles and pedestrians (except for essential employees for tasks related to securing and maintaining the campus and its facilities), and closure is sustained. All service contracts and construction projects will be suspended.
Specific of what will the College do in the event of a pandemic and the declaration of Phase 6 condition:
Should an outbreak occur, the College will begin to activate its emergency response plan. The following actions will occur:
- Work with Human Resources and Student Affairs to help inter-island, domestic, and international faculty and students return home safely before national and international travel restrictions begin
- Maintain, within reason, a reduced level of pertinent campus operations through remote or online interaction
- Work with Human Resources to ensure wages and other payments are distributed through direct deposit or other electronic means
- Work with CELT to ensure communication contingencies are in place should phone or internet access become overloaded as a result of increased activity.
Once the pandemic has been controlled, the College will begin a recovery process in the following manner:
Once the pandemic is under control – Campus poised to reopen. Once the danger of the pandemic has passed, the campus will reopen for business. As services return to normal, accommodations for concerns that arose as part of the period of closure will be addressed.
Make Your Emergency Plan Now
Your ability to stay healthy and to respond effectively will depend in part on your advance planning. If a pandemic occurs, the university may have to evacuate for some period of time. To make sure you are ready to respond, think through your personal emergency plan and address the following considerations:
If you live near campus and have to travel some distance to your permanent residence, what are your primary travel plans? Do you have a contingency?If you plan to travel by air, do you have your travel agency or airline reservation information handy? Have you familiarized yourself with plans by university departments, including Student Affairs and Auxiliary Services, to arrange pick-up sites for shuttles to take you to public transportation destinations? If you plan to drive, do you have at least one alternate route? If you will be picked up, do you have contact information ready? If you cannot get home, is there a friend or relative who lives nearby who would agree to let you stay during a campus closure (for what could be an extended stay)? If you live in off-campus housing, check with your manager or landlord for what the evacuation procedures might be.
If you commute and an evacuation is ordered, do you have at least one alternative commuter route?
Familiarize yourself with local resources for traffic updates and road conditions.
Be Prepared: Steps You Can Take Now
Students and Faculty:
What should students and faculty prepare to have at home, in the event that the campus is closed, but academic activities continue remotely, through email or other communications?
- Laptop and portable technology devices
- Syllabi for your classes, including faculty and student contact information
- Individual course plans in the event of a campus evacuation
- Email access and on-line learning options
Faculty and Staff — Employee Considerations
What should staff prepare to have at home, in the event that the campus is closed, but continue certain business activities remotely, through email or other communications?
- Emergency contact information for your supervisor and colleagues with whom you will need to communicate, including email and mobile phone.
- For managers and supervisors, department closing checklist plans; a list of essential employees and contacts; and UH-KapCC website bookmarks on your home computer for staff directory and College home page, as appropriate.
- If appropriate, Internet access to email and university home page, through your home computer.
For Everyone — Other Important Considerations
Have you arranged for direct deposit?
- In the event of a campus closure, any earnings you are scheduled to receive will only be issued electronically. Checks cannot be issued until the university reopens.
- If you do not have a bank checking account, create one.
- To arrange for direct deposit of your paycheck to your bank account, contact Human Resources to complete the direct
Will the university be able to reach you once you have evacuated?
The College may need to rely on phone and internet communications to remain in touch with you during a pandemic. Please make sure your contact information is up to date (both email and phone) for students in the myUH portal: https://myuhportal.hawaii.edu/cp/home/displaylogin
Do you have a personal emergency kit?
As a result of social distancing, evacuation, closures, and travel restrictions, it is a good idea to anticipate what personal items you will need to take and keep with you in the event of a pandemic.
- Food and water: Preparation experts recommend at least a two-week supply of non-perishable items, so that you do not need to go to the store very often.
- Medications: Fill prescriptions and have over-the-counter items in supply.
- Heath and hygiene items: tissues, toilet paper, anti-bacterial (waterless) gel, soap, disinfecting cleaning solution, trash bags. Practical items: flashlight, portable radio with batteries, manual can opener. Contact information: Have phone and email contact information for loved ones, as well as a previously identified third-party contact, in the event that you cannot reach a relative directly.