Infectious Disease Preparedness Plan

Planning Context and Assumptions

  1. Factors to be considered as decisions are made related to infectious disease outbreaks may include the following:
    1. Proximity of declared disease cases to La Crosse
    2. Severity of disease (mortality rates)
    3. Number/percentage of students and employees who are ill or absent
    4. Ability to sustain operations
    5. Directives from the Governor, the state health department and/or the local health department, state and/or local emergency management
    6. Current pandemic phase 



      Interpandemic Period Phase 1

      Low Risk of Human Case

      Interpandemic Period Phase 2

      Higher Risk of Human Case

      Pandemic Alert Period Phase 3

      No or Very Limited Human to Human Transmission

      Pandemic Alert Period Phase 4

      Evidence of Increased Human to Human Transmission

      Pandemic Alert Period Phase 5

      Evidence of Significant Human to Human Transmission

      Pandemic Period Phase 6

      Efficient and Sustained Human to Human Transmission

      Post Pandemic

      Deceleration or Recovery


  2. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services asks that universities plan for “different types of community containment interventions” and “different outbreak scenarios including variations in the severity of illness, mode of transmission and rates of infection in the community.” These factors should be accounted for in plans. 
  3. The virus may spread quickly because of the high level of global travel. 
    1. Medical facilities may be overwhelmed.
    2. Vaccines, antiviral agents and antibiotics to treat secondary infections may be in short supply and may be unequally distributed.
    3. It may take several months before a vaccine becomes available.
    4. Widespread illness may result in abrupt shortages of personnel essential to community services
    5. The effects on communities may last longer when compared with other natural disasters as outbreaks may likely reoccur.
  4. Any combination of these methods of communication may be used for notification in the event of an infectious disease emergency
    1. Email Communication
    2. Employee Phone Tree - supervisors call employees, etc
    3. Media alerts (radio, newspaper, television, etc.
    4. Off-site hosted notification (City Watch
    5. Posters, flyers, signs, etc
    6. Public Address System in library and/or residence hall
    7. Viterbo University Web site
    8. WKBT News Channel 8 to Go Alerts (Voluntary Sign Up)
  5. Infectious disease preparedness and the initial stages of an outbreak may be managed by the Emergency Response Task Force. The task force may meet monthly, weekly, daily, or more frequently as issues related to the disease unfold. Email and/or conference call meetings may be established when large group meetings are no longer advisable or possible.
  6. If an infectious disease outbreak warrants critical incident activation, these procedures from the university emergency response plan may be employed: The University President may determine whether an occurrence may be declared a Critical Incident. (In the absence of the university President, the Vice President for Finance and Administration [VPFA] may make the determination.) A critical incident is one that requires immediate action to ensure a safe environment, and to ensure the maintenance or restoration of university operations.
    1. The declaration of a critical incident may specify the location of the Command Center for the particular incident.
    2. The Vice President for Finance and Administration may notify the President’s Cabinet members that a Critical Incident has been declared. 
    3. The President’s Cabinet members may be asked to meet to take whatever actions are deemed appropriate.
    4. The Vice President for Communications and Marketing may send out a notification of the Critical Incident by email, Web, telephone or other appropriate method.
    5. The Vice President for Communications and Marketing may contact the Critical Incident Response Team, or their designees, to manage the response. 
    6. The Critical Incident Response Team is comprised of the Vice President of Finance and Administration, the Vice President of Communications and Marketing, the Director of Campus Safety and the Director of Physical Plant. (To augment the Critical Incident Response Team and to handle the specific occurrence effectively, the Vice President of Finance and Administration may contact additional personnel.)
  7. The university may implement social distancing measures and evacuate many of its students and employees. Some continued infirmary operations, minimal student housing and selected research activities may also be necessary.
  8. Many students may want to be with their families and families may want them home.
  9. Essential employees may need to function from either remote or campus locations to maintain services. Options for limiting exposure of essential employees to the virus may be beneficial. Staff may be requested to work multiple shifts and critical staff may need to be on campus to service critical campus systems.
  10. Some loss of essential employees to illness or care for family members may require back up options for essential functions. Absenteeism may reach 40 percent or more due to illness, caring for others, fear of infection, closing of schools, quarantines and other measures taken in the community.
  11. Campuses are particularly susceptible to the effects of a pandemic because of the frequency of travel among university community members and the proximity within which we live and work. 
  12. Those affiliated with the university, even though they are not employed or enrolled, may require information on the university’s plans and implementation during the crisis. The health department, local emergency management and law enforcement, parents and families, the surrounding community, the Board of Trustees and elected officials may all require periodic updates.
  13. At all times, the health and safety of the campus community may be of paramount importance. Protocols for health and safety have been developed and included in this document.