Employee Flu Plan

H1N1 Flu Overview
The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) warns that a severe pandemic would put millions of Texans at risk of serious illness and many at risk of dying. A pandemic, as most of us are now aware, is a global outbreak of disease that occurs when a new flu virus appears that can spread easily from person to person. A pandemic may come and go in waves, each of which can last months at a time, as the Spanish Influenza did in 1918.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), H1N1 (also referred to as “swine flu”) is a new influenza virus. This new virus was first detected in people in the United States in April 2009 and is spreading worldwide, probably in much the same way that regular seasonal influenza viruses spread. The H1N1 virus is not an airborne virus but spreads locally by droplet and touch (uncovered sneezing, coughing or touching of contaminated hands to the eyes or nose). To date the virus has not mutated. Because people have not been exposed to H1N1 before, they have little or no immunity to the virus and illness severity has ranged from mild to severe. While the great majority of people who have been infected have recovered without needing any medical treatment, hospitalizations and occasional deaths from infection with this virus have occurred.

Purpose
For purposes of this plan, the H1N1 influenza is the primary focus. The University’s intent is to minimize the impact on faculty, staff, and students and operations in case of an outbreak. Campus officials are closely watching H1N1 developments and are monitoring federal, state, and local public-health information to make decisions about the best steps to implement.

This plan is intended to addresses campus response through various stages of a declared pandemic. Guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control have been followed in the development of this plan. Because there are so many unknowns with a new virus, planning and execution will be flexible. Therefore, the information in this plan may be updated as new guidance from the CDC, Department of State Health Services and other authorities becomes known.

FLU RELATED RESOURCES

  • Lessen or prevent morbidity and mortality among employees and students through use of good personal health and work practices including social distancing strategies and other preventative practices;
  • Maintain continuity of essential university operations, to the extent possible, through the various stages of the pandemic.

Plan Components

This plan addresses:

  • Responsibility and Authority
  • Prevention
  • Pandemic Leave Plan – Human Resources
  • Communications
  • Pandemic H1N1 Flu Phases and Responses

RESPONSIBILITY AND AUTHORITY

  • State Level - Texas Department of State Health Services
    • Declaration of a public health emergency at the state level
  • Local Level - The County of Victoria County Judge and/or City of Victoria Mayor
    • Declaration of a public health emergency at the local level
  • University of Houston-Victoria - President (or Chain of Command designee)
    • Activation of UHV’s pandemic influenza plan and Business Continuity Plan
    • NIMS Incident Command System Incident Commander
  • Educational Partners in Preparedness – Office of Emergency Management PIP Program

The educational Partners in Preparedness (PIP) program is comprised of educational partners, including Victoria ISD, Bloomington ISD, The Victoria College, University of Houston-Victoria, and other parochial and private schools that meet before, during, and after emergency situations to insure the needs of community educational partners are met. The educational PIP program provides the most critical members/organizations of our community with an opportunity to voice concerns, ask questions, and get real answers from the local government about pressing issues during emergencies. The program is coordinated by the Victoria Office of Emergency Management and meetings are hosted by the University of Houston-Victoria.

Pandemic Flu Plan Contributors
In addition to the President, the following individuals have roles in addressing pandemic influenza preparedness at the campus level. These employees will work with state and local health departments, UH System authorities and other community partners in the coordination and execution of this plan:

  • Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
  • Vice President for Administration and Finance (ICS Team Member)
  • Associate Vice President, Student Affairs
  • Dean, School of Nursing
  • Director of Facilities Services (ICS Team Member)
  • Director of Business Services
  • Director of Human Resources
  • Campus Safety and Risk Manager (ICS Team Member)
  • Communications Manager (ICS Team Member)

PREVENTION

Of primary importance is prevention. Accordingly, efforts will be made to impress upon students and employees acceptable flu etiquette including proper coughing and sneezing, the importance and need for frequent hand washing and other recommended preventative measures. As part of these efforts:

  • Each supervisor shall reinforce this message to all employees within their department
  • Students and employees will be directed to a special Flu Guidance webpage, www.uhv.edu/h1n1/
  • Facilities Services, through custodial staff, will take steps to provide additional Pandemic Sanitation Precautions1 throughout the pandemic phases, including but not limited to:
    • Providing disinfectant dispensers at exits of all bathrooms in all facilities
    • Providing disinfectant dispensers at all primary entrances to each facility
    • Conspicuous signage in all bathrooms showing proper hand washing
    • Providing countertop hand pump sanitizers for each department to use
  • Employees on the job and students attending face-to-face classes who are observed to have flu like symptoms or who have temperatures of 100° F or above will be asked to go home and seek care.

PANDEMIC LEAVE PLAN - HUMAN RESOURCES

The Human Resource department has provided H1N1 Flu Employee Leave2 guidelines for use when an employee is unable to work because of personal or family illness, school or daycare closure and similar reasons. Individual experiences may vary and the guidelines may not address each employee’s circumstances. Managers and supervisors are encouraged to contact Human Resources at (361) 570-4801 to identify solutions to unique situations that are not covered in the guidelines. Should an absence be questioned by the employee’s supervisor as to whether sick leave or emergency leave is available, a final determination will be made by HR and the Cabinet Level Supervisor.

COMMUNICATIONS

A special Flu Guidance resource page, www.H1N1flu.uhv.edu will be used to communicate general information, university status as well as federal, state and local guidance to students and employees throughout the various phases of the pandemic.

  • Email(s) to ALL UHV will announce this site to employees
  • Email(s) to the STUDENT LISTSERV will announce this site to students.

PANDEMIC H1N1 FLU PHASES

For purposes of this plan, the basic five color threat level scale used by the Department of Homeland Security has been used, adapted to show the campus H1N1 threat level.

PHASE FIVE
SEVERE

Severe Risk of Infection
Local Emergency Declared Operations/Classes: Disrupted
GO TO: www.uhvemergency.info

PHASE FOUR
High

High Risk of Infection
Widespread reports of flu within community/area counties.
Operations/Classes:
GO TO: www.uhvemergency.info

PHASE THREE
Elevated

Initial cases reported within the community/area counties
Operations/Classes: Normal
Status Evaluated Daily
GO TO: www.uhvemergency.info

PHASE TWO
Guarded

Moderate Risk. Some cases reported in state. Increasing number of cases in U.S.
Operations/Classes: Normal
GO TO: www.uhvemergency.info

PHASE ONE
Low

Low Risk. No reported cases of flu in local community or neighboring counties
Operations/Classes: Normal
GO TO: www.uhvemergency.info

PANDEMIC H1N1 FLU RESPONSES

PHASE ONELOW (no reports of flu in local community or neighboring counties)

  1. Communication – Use web site www.H1N1flu.uhv.edu to provide status updates, general information and flu guidance.
  2. Normal operations, classes and events.

PHASE TWOGUARDED (Some case reported in Texas; increasing number of cases throughout U.S.)

  1. Normal operations, classes and events.
  2. No emergency measures in place. Go to web site www.H1N1flu.uhv.edu for status updates, general information and guidance

PHASE THREEELEVATED (Initial cases reported in community and/or neighboring counties.)

  1. Normal operations, classes and events, unless otherwise recommended by the Victoria City/County Health Department or President.
  2. Unusual increases in class absenteeism to be monitored and reported by Provost’s Office.
  3. Faculty will work with individual students to ensure resumption of classes and grades are not adversely affected by absenteeism related to the H1N1 flu.
  4. Unusual increases in employee absenteeism to be monitored and reported by Human Resources.
  5. Campus Operational Status evaluated daily by Administration.
  6. Pandemic Sanitation Measures implemented.
  7. Employees and Students should use web site www.H1N1flu.uhv.edu for status updates, general information and guidance.
  8. A student or employee who is observed to have flu-like symptoms while on campus will be provided with an N-95 mask. The student or employee will be asked to wear the mask and immediately depart from the campus.
  9. Students exhibiting flu like symptoms or having a temperature of 100° F or above should not attend face-to-face classes.
  10. Employees exhibiting flu like symptoms or temperatures of 100° F or above at work will not be allowed to continue work. Employees are to follow H1N1 Flu Employee Leave Guidelines 2.
  11. Special Events, including athletic games will be evaluated on a daily basis and may be suspended at the discretion of the President (or designee).

PHASE FOURHIGH (Widespread reports of flu in the community and/or neighboring counties.)

  1. All precautions described in Phase Three continue in addition to the following:
  2. Business Continuity Plan3 protocol in effect.
  3. Emergency Management Team (ERT) meets initially, and then as necessary, to evaluate classroom and operational status and best way to proceed.
  4. Only in extreme situations where the pandemic is causing a significant disruption to the learning environment or other operations will classes be suspended and/or the university closed.
  5. Communications Elevated: Go to www.uhvemergency.info for latest university emergency advisories.
  6. In the event the H1N1 pandemic reaches Phase Four - HIGH, elevated emergency communications will begin:
  7. Campus Business Continuity Plan communication protocol will be followed

    1. Emergency Communications to students and employees will be transmitted through PIER communication mediums as necessary, including:
      1. Website messages (www.uhvemergency.info)
      2. Email Messages
      3. Text Messages to personal cell phones
      4. Phone Messages to home phones
    2. In the event of campus closure, departments will follow the assigned UHV Business Continuity Plan calling tree.

PHASE FIVEHIGH (Widespread reports of flu in the community and/or neighboring counties.)

  1. All precautions described in Phase Three and Phase Four continue in addition to the following:
  2. Some or all classes temporarily suspended.
  3. Some or all university operations disrupted.
  4. All Special Events including athletic games suspended.
  5. Employee Antiviral Distribution Plan4 subject to activation by declaration by the state or county public health officials.
  6. Campus closure likely or imminent:
    1. Emergency Communications to students and employees will be transmitted through PIER communication mediums as necessary, including:
      1. All employees are expected to remain in contact with their supervisors throughout any closure period.
      2. Employees must be available to return to work as directed.
      3. University will reopen at the direction of the President (or designee).

REFERENCES

  1. Pandemic Sanitation Precautions
  2. H1N1 Flu Employee Leave Plan Guidelines
  3. Campus Business Continuity Plan
  4. Employee Antiviral Distribution Plan

University Of Houston-Victoria
3007 N. Ben Wilson, Victoria, TX 77901
(361) 570-4848, Toll Free in Texas (877) 970-4848

Questions / Comments To: Webmaster@uhv.edu