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Emergency Management
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Plans and Procedures UNF Pandemic Emergency Response Plan


Organizations across the Nation perform essential functions and services that may be adversely affected in the event of a natural or man-made disaster. In such events, organizations should have emergency response plans to assist in the continuance of their essential functions. Continuing to perform essential functions and provide essential services is vital to an organization's ability to remain a viable entity during times of increased threats from all hazards, man-made or natural. Since the threat to an organization's operations is great during a pandemic outbreak, the University of North Florida has developed this Pandemic Emergency Response plan to ensure it can carry out its essential functions and services. While organizations may be forced to suspend some operations due to the severity of a pandemic outbreak, an effective Response Plan can assist in the University's efforts to remain operational, as well as strengthen the ability to resume normal operations. 


This Plan provides guidance to the University of North Florida (UNF) for maintaining essential functions and services during a pandemic disease outbreak. This Plan neither replaces nor supersedes any current, approved continuity plans, rather it supplements it, bridging the gap between the traditional, all-hazards emergency planning and the specialized planning required for a pandemic by addressing additional considerations, challenges, and elements specific to the dynamic nature of a pandemic. 

This Plan stresses that essential functions can be maintained during a pandemic outbreak through mitigation strategies, such as social distancing, increased hygiene, personal protective equipment (PPE), the vaccination of students, employees, contractors and their families, and similar approaches. Certain outbreaks may not require a traditional response, such as partial or full relocation of the University's essential functions, although this response may be concurrently necessary due to other circumstances. 


UNF's Incident Management Team (IMT) will monitor the severity of the pandemic and establish activation triggers to address the unique nature of the pandemic threat. This Plan will be implemented as needed to support the continued performance of essential functions. 


All University employees, contractors and students are to be informed regarding protective actions and/or modifications related to this Plan. Messaging and risk communications during an emerging infectious disease or pandemic outbreak will be conducted by the IMT. Guidance and instructions on established infection control measures such as social distancing, prophylaxis, PPE and work/school from home polices will be provided by the IMT to assist in limiting the spread of the outbreak. Social distancing measures could take the form of modifying the frequency and type of face-to­-face employee and student encounters (e.g., placing moratoriums on hand-shaking, substituting teleconferences for face-to-face meetings, staggering breaks, posting infection control guidelines); establishing flexible work hours or procedures, (e.g., telecommuting),· promoting social distancing between students, employees and contractors/general public to maintain three ­feet spatial separation between individuals, and implementing strategies that request and enable employees and students with an infectious disease to stay home at the first sign of symptoms. 

Frequent, daily contact is important to keep students, employees and contractors informed about developments in the University's response, impacts on operations, and to reassure employees that the University is continuing to function as usual. The IMT should include deliberate methods to measure, monitor, and adjust actions to changing conditions and improved protection strategies. These methods may include: 


  • Implement student, employee and contractor protection strategies.
  • Monitor and adjust protection methods, as needed.
  • Pre-position material and equipment onsite and at Residence Halls (i.e. food, water, Points of Dispensing, POD 's, etc.).
  • Ensure essential personnel are at the primary worksite.
  • Reaffirm that essential suppliers have their material and personnel on-hand and are able to respond and support as planned.
  • Coordinate with local public health and emergency response officials to ensure open, adequate communications.
  • Establish family communications, reunification m;d counseling services. 


  • Susceptibility to the pandemic disease will be universal.
  • Efficient and sustained person-to-person transmission signals an imminent pandemic.
  • Depending upon the type of outbreak, the clinical disease attack rate will likely be 30 percent or higher in the overall population during the pandemic. Illness rates will be highest among school-aged children (about 40 percent) and decline with age. Among working adults, an average of 20 percent will become ill during a community outbreak.
  • Some persons will become infected, but not develop clinically significant symptoms. Asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic individuals can transmit infection and develop immunity to subsequent infection.
  • While the number of patients seeking medical care cannot be predicted with certainty, in previous pandemics about half of those who become ill sought care. With the availability of effective drugs for treatment, this proportion may be higher in the next pandemic.
  • Rates of serious illness, hospitalization, and deaths will depend on the virulence of the pandemic and differ by an order of magnitude between more and less severe scenarios. Risk groups for severe and fatal infection cannot be predicted with certainty, but are likely to include irifants, the elderly, pregnant women, and persons with chronic or immunosuppressive medical conditions.
  • Rates of absenteeism will depend on the severity of the pandemic. In a severe pandemic, absenteeism attributable to illness, the need to care for ill family members and fear of infection may reach 40 percent during the peak weeks of a community outbreak, with lower rates of absenteeism during the weeks before and after the peak. Certain public health measures (closing organizations, quarantining household contacts of infected individuals, etc.) are likely to increase rates of absenteeism.
  • Persons who become ill can transmit infection for several days before the onset of symptoms. The risk of transmission will be greatest during the first few days of illness. Children usually post the greatest risk for disease transmission. 
  • On average, infected persons will transmit infection to approximately two other people.
  • A pandemic outbreak in any given community will last about six to eight weeks for each wave of the pandemic.
  • Multiple waves (periods during which community outbreaks occur across the country) of illness could occur with each wave lasting two-three months. Historically, the largest waves have occurred in the fall and winter, but the seasonality of a pandemic cannot be predicted with certainty.



  • The University will be provided with guidance and/or direction by Federal, State, and/or local governments regarding current pandemic status in the area.
  • Plans and procedures to control the spread of an outbreak may include social distancing, personal protection equipment (PPE), and temporary suspension of some non- essential activities.
  • Campus buildings will be accessible, but right of entry may be limited.
  • Essential operations may be forced to deploy to alternate facilities.
  • Essential functions, operations, and support requirements will continue to be people dependent. However, human interactions may be remote or virtual, resulting in the employment of appropriate teleworking and other approved social distancing protocols.
  • Travel restrictions, such as limitations on mass transit, implemented at the Federal, State, and local levels may affect the ability of some staff to report to work.
  • Additional funding will be considered for the acquisition of equipment required for a possible surge in teleworking capabilities.



The University's IMT will oversee the Pandemic Response to anticipate the impacts and assist with developing strategies to manage the effects of the outbreak. The IMT is comprised of the following: 

  1. Incident Commander/Unified Command
  2. Command Staff, including Public Information, Safety, Liaison and Police
  3. Planning, Operations, Logistics and Finance Sections.
  4. Other support functions, as deemed necessary.

The Public Information Officer will develop pandemic risk communications with internal and external stakeholders. This includes the use of existing notification methods for emergency information. 



Given the expected duration and potential multiple waves of pandemic outbreaks, the IMT will review and develop the processes involved for carrying out essential functions and services to mitigate the effects of the pandemic while simultaneously allowing the continuation of operations which support the University          essential functions, below. 


  1. Control the spread of infection through personal hygiene, prophylaxis, PPE, social distancing, telework on-line instruction, operational relocations, closures, cancellations and schedule changes appropriate for the specific pandemic situation.
  2. Provide basic business operations including safety, security, communications, technology services, controller functions, procurement functions, facilities operations, food service, housing and transportation as available staff and resources permit.
  3. Provide for academic instruction, research and support programs commensurate with the limitations of 1 and 2, above. 

Since a pandemic outbreak may affect absenteeism in areas of the University differently in terms of timing, severity, and duration, each essential function listed above should identify orders of succession and delegation of authority that are at least three deep per position while considering dispersing successors and delegates to differing geographical locations, as feasible and appropriate. 


The essential functions listed above, should identify, protect, and ensure the ready availability of electronic and paper documents, references, records, and information systems needed to support their operations during a pandemic outbreak. 


Testing, training, and exercising are critical to assessing, demonstrating, and improving the University's ability to maintain its essential functions and services. The IMT should conduct tests, training, and exercises to ensure sustainable social distancing techniques, and to assess the impacts of reduced staff on the performance of essential functions. Exercises are conducted to examine the impacts of pandemic outbreak on performing essential functions, and to familiarize personnel with their responsibilities. 


Reconstitution is the process whereby an organization has regained the capability and physical resources necessary to return to normal (pre-disaster) operations. The objective during reconstitution is to effectively manage, control, and, with safety in mind, expedite the return to normal operations. The IMT will systematically re-open the University, in conjunction with local and state health departments, to ensure facilities/buildings are safe. The IMT will assume that not all employees will be able to return to work at the time of reconstitution and that it may be necessary to hire temporary or permanent workers in order to complete the reconstitution process. 



Maintaining University essential functions and services in the event of pandemic outbreak requires considerations beyond traditional response planning. Unlike other hazards that necessitate the relocation of staff performing essential functions to an alternate operating facility due to physical damages, a pandemic may not directly affect University infrastructure. As such, a traditional response may not be required during a pandemic outbreak. However, a pandemic threatens the University's human resources by removing essential personnel from the workplace for extended periods of time. Emergency Response Plans for maintaining essential functions and services in a pandemic include implementing procedures such as social distancing, infection control, personal hygiene, and cross­training (to ease personnel absenteeism in a critical skill set). Protecting the health and safety of personnel, and essential functions must be the focus in order to enable the continued operation of essential functions and services during a pandemic outbreak.