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USC Upstate Continuity Plan for Campus Disruptions due to Pandemic  Diseases

The following outlines the University plans to maintain all campus operations during a time of potential disruption due to a pandemic disease such as the H1N1 influenza.   

General guidelines for a Pandemic Influenza

Issues and recommendations concerning the flu are constantly changing.  Up-to-date information regarding the facts about H1N1 Flu Prevention is available on the University’s website at: http://www.uscupstate.edu/h1n1 and from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at: http://www.pandemicflu.gov/  

Employees are encouraged to follow the guidelines:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water
  • Use hand wipes and sanitizers
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth
  • Stay home if you are sick; stay away from people who are sick
  • Get 7-9 hours of sleep each night
  • Drink lots of water, and eat fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
  • Get an annual flu vaccine
  • Be physically active for at least 30 minutes most days of the week

Keep in mind that flu is spread from person to person and like most viruses, the less contact you have with others who are infected or who have been exposed, the less likely you will be exposed. You should also keep these same guidelines in mind for your family and encourage family members to use them.

Health Services

PREVENTIVE MEASURES:  

Immunization against the influenza virus is the BEST protective measure available to prevent infection!  Consult the University and Health Services web pages for dates, times, and associated costs of vaccine administration.  In addition to seasonal influenza vaccination, the H1N1 vaccine has been requested upon availability

  • Frequent and thorough hand washing with soap and water is strongly advised.  Waterless hand sanitizer may be substituted when hand washing facilities are not available for use.  Hands should be cleaned following contact with surfaces that may harbor viruses, such as door knobs, desk tops, computer keyboards, and other common-use facilities, including bathrooms, and before eating. 
  • If sneezing or coughing occurs, discard tissue and wash hands.  Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth.  When tissues are unavailable, cover coughs and sneezes with the upper sleeve.  Tissues should be discarded immediately after use in appropriate containers.
  • Avoid close contact with others while symptomatic.  Individuals may be contagious for seven (7) days or longer, dependent upon the severity of the illness.

 EVALUATION & TREATMENT OF ILLNESS:  

  • Appointments for evaluation of Influenza-like Illness (ILI) can be made by calling Health Services at (864) 503-5191.  A limited number of “walk-in” hours are available, and reserved for students ONLY.  Faculty and staff MUST schedule appointments in advance of arrival.
  • Please inform the staff of Health Services of symptoms when scheduling appointments/upon arrival.  Every effort will be made to minimize exposure to others to illness.  You may be asked to wait in a separate room and/or wear a mask until seen by a healthcare provider.
  • Laboratory screening for influenza may be requested, based upon symptoms.  An additional fee for this service may be requested to determine the need for anti-viral therapy.  If indicated, prescription medications may be ordered.
  • Recommendations for the treatment and containment of ILI will be made by the staff of Health Services.   Careful monitoring of disease trends will be communicated to the campus community as appropriate.
  • Over-the-counter medications may be recommended, with the first 24-hours of these therapies being distributed at the time of the visit, supplies permitting.  These medications can improve symptoms and control fever > 100 degrees F/38 degrees C.
  • The Dean of Students or the employee’s supervisor will be notified when absence from class or work is recommended.  Return to class or work should not occur until at least 24 hours after fever has sub sided without the use of ibuprofen or acetaminophen-containing medications.  
  • Health Services staff may recommend social-distancing/isolation measures to control infection.  Students may be sent home for care by family members, if possible, and cannot return to class until at least 24 hours after fever has subsided, without the use of fever-reducing medications.
  • Health Services will make recommendations to Housing Office and coordinate with Dining Services appropriate food preparation based upon the individual student needs and severity of illness.
  • No injectable medication will be administered outside of Health Services.
  • Health Services will make daily contact with students in isolation to evaluate needs, Monday through Friday during regular operational hours. 
  • Volunteer caregivers may be solicited from the University Community for after-hours care of students.

Human Resources

  • As the fall semester gets underway, the University community is faced with the possibility of coping with seasonal flu as well as the H1N1 flu (Swine Flu). The University administration is closely monitoring the situation and asks for your help as the Human Resources contact or Business Manager in your department. 
  • A very important element in our prevention efforts is making certain that faculty and staff who are sick remain at home so they do not infect students, co-workers, and colleagues. As your department’s HR contact or Business Manager, you should ensure that the faculty and staff members in your area understand the importance of following this recommendation, which is endorsed by the University’s administration.
  • In addition to staying at home if they are ill, it is important for faculty and staff to report any absences related to the flu through ITAMS. USC is required to report the number of flu-related absences to the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC).  DHEC will use our reporting and that of other entities in developing recommendations and distribution plans for vaccine and antiviral medication.
  • In preparation for this reporting, new time codes are being added to ITAMS, the University’s time and attendance reporting system. The new codes allow faculty and staff to select a code of sick with flu-like symptoms, or sick with H1N1 flu confirmed by a medical professional, or sick leave to care for a family member with the flu. In addition to these new sick leave time   

FAQ's for Employees from Human Resources - Pandemic Influenza  


1. What happens if an employee gets the flu and doesn't have enough sick leave accrued?
An employee could use accrued annual leave or accrued compensatory time to cover their absence. If an employee has a low leave balance, they should begin now to try to manage their leave so that they can build a reserve that is available for use in situations that require an absence.

2. Can sick leave be used to care for a family member with the flu or flu symptoms?
Yes. The University's Sick Leave policy allows employees to use up to 10 days in a calendar year of their accrued sick leave to take leave to care for an immediate family member. Immediate family members for the purposes of sick leave include an employee's spouse and children and the following relations to the employee or the spouse of the employee: mother, father, brother, sister, grandparent, legal guardian, and grandchildren.

3. What if I get the flu or need to care for a family member who gets the flu and I use all of my sick and annual leave? Do I have any other options?
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) covers employees who have a serious illness or who need to care for a family member with a serious illness. FMLA entitles an employee to up to 12 weeks of job protected leave. FMLA is unpaid leave, but the University allows sick and annual leave to be used concurrently with FMLA. If you start out using sick and annual leave but then exhaust all of your leave, you will likely be allowed to take leave under FMLA. A physician's certification may be required to confirm coverage under FMLA. Please check with Human Resources.

4. What about employees who are already immuno-compromised (cancer patients, those with existing illnesses, etc.) and thus need to avoid situations where they could be exposed to flu and other illnesses, can such employees telecommute during the pandemic to avoid contact with others in an effort to reduce exposure and risk?
The University recognizes that each department will have to consider making provisions for those employees who may already be at risk. There is a possibility that an employee who would not normally be approved for telecommuting may be approved for telecommuting during a pandemic. Also, an employee who is in a position that is not conducive to telecommuting may be approved to take leave time so as to avoid exposure from others.

5. Can my supervisor make me go home and use sick leave if they think I am sick?
Yes. A very important element in our prevention efforts is making certain that faculty and staff who are sick remain at home so they do not infect students, co-workers, and colleagues. Everyone should ensure that the faculty and staff members in your area understand the importance of following this recommendation, which is endorsed by the University’s administration.

In addition to staying at home if they are ill, it is important for faculty and staff to report any absences related to the flu through ITAMS. USC is required to report the number of flu-related absences to the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC).  DHEC will use our reporting and that of other entities in developing recommendations and distribution plans for vaccine and antiviral medication.


6. What happens if I do not believe I am ill but my supervisor believes that I am?
In a pandemic, sensitivities will be heightened, and supervisors and employees alike will need to exercise appropriate caution, reason and judgment. Erring on the side of caution and asking an employee to return home may be a prudent approach by a supervisor. The driving factor will be minimizing risk to you and others, and therefore employees are encouraged not to take offense when faced with such a circumstance. 

7.  If I am home sick with the flu when can I return to work?  

Employees who have been sick with flu will normally be allowed to return to work after at least 24 hours after fever subsides without use of fever-reducing medicine.  However, in some cases employees may be asked to certify that returning to work is now safe and this would not be a punitive request, but done in an effort to protect others.

8. If I would like to donate leave to a co-worker who has exhausted all of his leave due to his own illness or that of a family member, can I do so?
Employee-to-employee leave transfer is not currently allowed under state law.  Should the illness of the employee become long term, severe or life threatening they may apply to the University’s leave pool for a leave transfer.  Employees must meet the criteria in the Leave Transfer Policy, available at: http://hr.sc.edu/policies/hr110.pdf.

9. What happens if my child's school closes due to the pandemic and I need to stay home with my child?
Employees faced with this situation will be expected to utilize accrued annual leave and/or accumulated compensatory time.  Flexibility might be found in the form of modified work schedules, staggered work schedules, alternating days off among staff, and/or telecommuting. Departments are expected to apply flexibility fairly among all employees.  Employees are reminded they should not bring children into the workplace.  We appreciate the commitment to work and the hardship this causes for parents or caregivers, however, we ask that all employees be considerate of co-workers and our students and provide another means, such as those mentioned above, to manage a child's absence from school.

10. Is telecommuting an option?
Yes, it certainly could be. The first consideration for telecommuting is generally whether or not the job can be performed from off site. Telecommuting due to a pandemic may be an option that would be helpful to both our employees and the departments. Supervisors are encouraged to consider telecommuting when possible during a pandemic as a means of continuing essential services, even if telecommuting had not previously been considered for a position.  Additional information on flexible work schedules and telecommuting is available on the University’s website at: http://hr.sc.edu/announce/flexible_work_schedule.html  

11. What happens to me if I have been designated as essential personnel but cannot come to work either because I am sick, a family member is sick, or because I must care for my children whose school has been closed?
Employees who are essential personnel will not be required to come to work in such situations. Institutions are encouraged to set up systems to cross train employees so that even essential personnel have backups.

12. Should I provide my supervisor with contact information so that he can get in touch with me during the pandemic?
Yes, during a situation such as this, supervisors will naturally be concerned for their employees. If the University is still open and you are unable to work, your supervisor may have a need to reach you making contact information essential.  Employees are encouraged to make sure their contact information in VIP is current.

Academics

The Department of Instructional Technology is offering the following suggestions to assist faculty and teaching staff with planning for course continuity should the flu or other infectious disease outbreak cause significant student absences or should you need to be absent yourself:

Contingency Planning:

Consider establishing contingency plans ahead of time for how students can continue their work in the event of a flu emergency. 

Consider adding such plans to or amending your syllabus early on to explain how you might make unanticipated changes in your course should the need arise.

Use your course Blackboard site to create a contact point for students to receive updates on your plans.  Whether you currently use your course site or not, a Blackboard site is created for every section of every course listed in the Master Schedule through VIP.  Your Blackboard course site can be used for:

Maintaining communication  

  • Use the Blackboard Announcements and Communication tools to inform about and/or email students any course updates. Students registered in each course section are automatically enrolled in Blackboard, making emailing all students in the section simple and easy.  Click here for a short tutorial on posting an Announcement and using the email function in Blackboard:  

Updating syllabus information, course materials & class continuation policies  

  • Use your Blackboard site to post and update your syllabus as necessary.  This can include how your attendance expectations may be modified as a result of flu-related absence – yours or your students’.   Copies of lecture notes, PowerPoint slide decks, and other instructional materials can be easily posted for student use.  Select 'Adding Documents and Files' from the Video Demonstration collection here.

Continuing discussions  

  • The Blackboard Discussion Board offers a way to continue class dialogue in an online format where students can respond to you and each other; as well as attach images and other files to support their posts.  Learn how to create a Discussion Forum here. If you are new to using online threaded discussions, view suggestions and a brief introduction here.

Recording lectures/presentations  

  • Adobe Presenter enables creation and recording of narrated PowerPoint presentations. Instructions for downloading Adobe Presenter can be found here.  View a tutorial on getting started with Adobe Presenter here
  • Jing is a free program that lets you capture, save and share images, as well as audio and video from your computer screen. You can download and install it on a Mac or Windows computer by going to the Jing Project web site at http://jingproject.com.

Managing assignments & evaluating online student participation  

Several Blackboard tools can help to manage & evaluate student assignments online.  Documents and electronic materials can be submitted via the Digital Drop Box or as an email attachment, if you prefer.  In addition, the Assignment tool can be used for submission and marking of student work with an automatic entry into the online Grade Center.  For demos of several Blackboard Assignment and Grade Center functions, visit the Video Demonstration Collection here.

Additional Resources:

Tutorials and Handouts - for many of the campus applications are available on the university network “S” or shared drive in a folder entitled Faculty and Staff ITS Info. 

Blackboard Training Course - An extensive collection of materials and demos on teaching and learning with Blackboard is available on the Blackboard Training Course.  For access to the course, email Tom Davis.

For further assistance and information, email Cindy Jennings or phone at 503-5470 or Tom Davis or phone at 504-5502.

For more detailed resource material on teaching and learning online, visit the Upstate Teaching Online wiki and request an invitation to join.

Athletics

Will follow same plan as the University and any NCAA directions that may be issued.

Facilities

  • Hand sanitizing units have been installed for use in each building on campus.  Building managers are responsible for filling and replacing batteries.
  • If specific areas are identified where there has been a suspected infection, a work request should be sent to us, and we will respond and clean the area(s) in an appropriate manner.
  • Please know that in the event of an outbreak of infectious disease that resources in facilities management will be stretched and you are asked to assist in maintaining the cleanliness of your respective area.
  • Continue to use air filters that are treated with an anti-bacterial agent.
  • An isolation area will be established on campus as necessary and may be in one of the Villas.  Announcement of the designated area will be made at the appropriate time.

Housing & Residential Life

When Housing and Residential Life is notified by Health Services that a resident has symptoms of the H1N1 virus and recommends social-distancing measures be implemented the following action will take place.

  • The resident will be asked (verbally and in writing) to leave the campus and return home until cleared by medical personnel.  At this time it will be highly recommended that the resident notify their parents or guardians of their infliction.
  • If the resident can not return home due to distance or other circumstances Health Services will work with the Housing Office to determine where the resident should live while the laboratory screening for influenza takes place.  The results of the laboratory screening may take up to a week.  If it is determined the resident does not have this virus and is no longer deemed a health threat to those around them, they will be allowed back into their normal living arrangement.  If determined they in fact do have the virus they will remain in isolation until they are no longer contagious.
  • Until the results arrive from the laboratory the resident will be placed in some form of isolation for a time specified by Health Services so as to control the infection. 
  • During this time the Housing Office will contact Health Services and Sodexho to arrange for the preparation of meals and their delivery.  Housing will also handle all requests by the resident for items needed to main their academic standing.    Further, Housing will have the resident’s room and living area cleaned and disinfected.
  • The Dean of Students Office will contact instructors to inform them of why the student is absent and if anything can be done to allow them keep up their studies.
  • Students in isolation must follow all rules set forth by Housing and Health Service or face discipline sanctions.
  • Once the time of isolation has passed and Health Services determines they are no longer contagious the student will be allowed back into their normal living arrangement.

International Studies

  • All J-1 students will be partnered with at least 2 other international students who can provide language assistance as needed in emergency situations.
  •  Resident assistants in Palmetto Villas (through auspices of Housing Office) are asked to inform the International Office within 24 hours of any reported emergencies or sickness referrals made to Health Services.
  • Health Services are asked to inform the International Office within 24 hours of any international student’s assignment to quarantine. 
  • The International Office will provide additional informational sessions to international students regarding campus procedures and health recommendations related to the H1N1 situation. 
  • All J-1 students are provided with emergency contact cards that provide telephone numbers for key personnel to contact in the event of emergencies.
 

Information Technology & Services

Media Service H1N1 Departmental Plan  

Should an outbreak of H1N1 flu affect the normal operations of the University, Media Services will continue to support campus operations by instituting the following measures:

  • As long as staff are healthy, we will continue to report to work
  • If a staff member, or a member of the staff member’s family contracts the flu, they will be asked to stay at home
  • If the staff member is not sick, he/she will periodically check their email and be accessible by cell phone or home phone, if necessary
  • If a staff member or members are out, to maintain our level of service, we would utilize one or both of our student assistants, as needed

Information Systems

  • Information Systems has four employees, three of which have high speed internet access at home and can do most of their work from home if necessary.  The other employee without high speed will be loaned a device for wireless access if necessary.
  • Work will continue as normal.

Learning Technologies

  • The Instructional Technology Staff will continue to be available/work from home should they not be on campus.
  • They will communicate any event cancellations through appropriate electronic channels.

Network Services H1N1 Departmental Plan

Communication and connectivity from off campus.

  • Each employee has a University provided laptop computer. 
  • Each employee has VPN connection to USC and USC Upstate in the event he/she is unable to make it to campus. 
  • Office phones can be forwarded to University supplied cell phones.

In the case someone from Network Services is unable to work from the office or home, the following vendors can be contacted for emergency service.

Microsoft Exchange, Windows Server, AD , etc.  

Dell Computer Corporation
Laurie Tollison
Southeast Account Executive
Office  843-388-8778 
Cell      843-412-8676 
laurie_tollison@dell.com  

Network Infrastructure, Routing. Switching, Voice, etc.  

CompuCom Systems, Inc
Jed Shropshire
803-736-0796
jed.shropshire@compucom.com  

Robin Goolsby 
Principal Consultant
Office/Cell    864-631-9355 
robin.goolsby@compucom.com  

Cabling, fiber/copper repair, etc.  

State Budget and Control Board
Robert McCraw
Cabling Planning and Design
Office  803-898-8127 
Cell   803-513-5062 
rmccraw@cio.sc.gov  

Charles Seastrunk 
Manager Infrastructure Planning
Office  803-898-8121 
charless@cio.sc.gov  

Client Services  

  • The HelpDesk Coordinator and Director for Client Services have the means to effectively work from home.

If an epidemic occurs we will

  • staff the desk with one employee to minimize the number or people exposed to potential germs
  • encourage telephone calls and IM Chat sessions to reduce exposure 
  • remote control as many calls as possible to avoid as much physical exposure to others on campus
  • remote control can be used by the Technicians from home if they are exposed or taking care of a sick family member

Office of Vice Chancellor for Information Technology & Services  

The vice chancellor and assistant to vice chancellor have laptops, high speed Internet and cell phones and would be able to work from home if they are sick, exposed to or taking care of sick family members. 

Sodexho Dining Services

  • Use of Ecolab Oasis Pro # 14205 All Purpose Antibacterial Cleaner will be used on all public surfaces after being cleaned and sanitizer with Ecolab’s Quat Sanitizer. 
  • Employees exhibiting flu like symptoms will not be permitted to work or visit campus. 
  • Proper glove use will also be reinforced during production and service times.  Gloves will be used will sanitizing table tops, chairs, napkin dispensers, etc.
  • Alcohol-based hand-sanitizers are currently available for students, faculty and staff as well as dining service employees.  More emphasis will be placed on use of sanitizers during flu season or during the implementation of this action plan.  As usual, they are to be used after proper hand washing.    
  • Resident dining program will maintain operations  throughout any out breaks on campus.  Retail locations (Food Court, and Sandella’s) would be the first locations closed if staffing was reduced to a level that we could not serve the customer. 
  • Working with Residential life we will prepare and deliver to residential life pre packaged meals for students infected with H1N1 in groups of 10 or greater in situations of less then 10, residential life will make provisions to pick up to go meals for students.  All items will be prepared in disposable one use containers and utensils. 
  • If a full outbreak is encountered on campus, we will have a 5 day reserves of food brought in and distributed until the campus resident students could be evacuated.  All efforts will be made to utilize local Sodexo accounts to maintain services throughout the outbreak.    

University Police

  • All officers have a supply of rubber gloves for use with public contact. A supply of these gloves are kept in each patrol car.
  • The University Police Department is a cash receipting station. As such, student and full-time employees have been admonished to frequently utilize a hand sanitizer which has been installed near the front counter for their use. This is especially important after handling cash transactions.
  • Transactions with the public frequently occur at the front counter of the Police Department. As such, the area is wiped down frequently with a spray sanitizer.
  • Telephones and other communication devices are sanitized frequently, especially when the devices are used by more than one person.
  • All officers are equipped with N95 particle respirators which will be deployed for use in the event of a severe contagious disease outbreak.
  • In the event there is wide-spread sickness in the Police Department, we have developed a 12 hour schedule to meet staffing demands. We also have retained six additional part-time Deputy Sheriffs to assist with staffing shortfalls in the event such an outbreak occurs. 

 

University Communications

  • Should an outbreak of H1N1 flu affect the normal operations of the University, University Communications will continue to support campus operations by instituting the following measures:
  • All staff members (with the exception of one) have high speed Internet access at home and can do most of their work from home if necessary. This will be helpful in case of caring for a sick family member, a temporary closing of the University, etc. Due to the nature of the work by University Communications, telecommuting will allow us to carry on most of our work (with the exception of on campus meetings, proofs that require collaborative approval, etc.)
  • If one or more of the employees is out for an extended time due to personal illness but the university remains open, the work load of University Communications may be severely impacted due to the specific nature of our individual jobs.

 In Anticipation of An H1N1 Crisis, University Communications has:  

  • Established an H1N1 phone line (503-5569) for alert messages
  • Created an H1N1 Web site that is updated as needed and linked to official sites such as CDC, WHO, DHS, etc. for official information and alerts
  • Placed a section on the University’s home page to promote the H1N1 Web site 
  • Created an icon that notifies the campus community of “Classes Suspended” Status 
  • Updated the University’s Inclement Weather Policy to reflect “Classes Suspended” addition 
  • Tammy Whaley serves as the liaison to the Spartanburg County Emergency Management System and is a member of the Spartanburg County Emergency Management Joint Information Group   
  • Weekly information alerts will be included in The Register and E-Blast to share preventive measures