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Pandemic Emergency Preparedness


Pandemic events are events that have a world-wide impact with an unpredictable timeline, comprising of multiple events or waves, and spreading quickly from one urban area to another.  They have a significant effect on people and with highly probable interruptions of their everyday life.   

In the event of a pandemic event major disruptions are likely for health care, transportation, infrastructure, education, suppliers, and other public services.  Higher education will be among the industries most severely impacted because of risks resulting from international travel by students, faculty and staff, and because our campuses are open and accessible to the local community at large.

Once a pandemic event emerges, it is too late to begin planning or begin collaboration.  While no organization will be immune from the effects of a global pandemic, we are presented with the opportunity to plan ahead and develop our response in a caring, compassionate and prudent manner, and continue the delivery of essential services that will allow Newberry to continue its mission of education.

The focus of this Pandemic Response Plan is to prepare the Newberry College campus to respond to a pandemic, potential curtailment of activities, and return to normal operations as quickly as possible. This plan is written to cover emergencies that involve widespread infectious disease outbreaks, which typically do not affect the facilities, but impact people. This Pandemic Emergency Operations Plan was developed to guide the response and recovery actions of the entire campus and to work in concert with the Newberry College Emergency Operations Plan and the Newberry College Emergency Response Business Plan.


This plan is guided by the following principles:

  • To protect and support the health, safety and welfare of our faculty, staff and students, as well as the assets and property of the college.
  • To maintain our commitment to fulfilling the college mission to provide education and service as long as possible.
  •  To recover from disruptions or suspensions of operations as quickly and efficiently as possible.
  • To establish a multi-modal method to communicate with the campus and community.
  • To establish benchmarks or “triggers,” in advance of a pandemic event to define college actions and the threshold for those actions.
  • To extend the services or expertise of the campus to our neighbors, in ways that provide mutual aid, recovery, service and benefit to the community (as is feasible).

Risk Assessment

Pandemic events occur when a new illness emerges for which people have little or no immunity and for which there is no vaccine. The following assumptions were used in the planning process:

  • A pandemic is a public health emergency that takes on significant political, social and economic dimensions, and will be governed by factors that cannot be known in advance.
  • Vaccinations and antiviral treatment are anticipated to be the most effective medical treatment, but they may be non-existent or in medical supply.
  • Non-medical containment measures (i.e. social isolation) will be the principal means of disease control until vaccinations are available.
  • Based on previous pandemics, the clinical attack rate (those persons becoming ill) is likely to reach thirty (30) percent in the overall population.
  • Mortality rates could be very high, sixty (60) percent, and potentially greater in certain high-risk groups.
  • If the pandemic is severe, the economic impact is likely to be significant, though predictions are subject to a high degree of uncertainty.
  • Once the pandemic has run its course, economic activity should recover relatively quickly, although a severe pandemic will have a more disruptive effect.
    • An influenza pandemic could last from 18 months to several years with at least two peak waves of activity.  In an affected community, a pandemic wave will last about 6 to 8 weeks.
  • Operational risks (high absenteeism rates) constitute the greatest challenge to local business operation and the global financial system.

Epidemic Alert and Response

The Office of Health Services routinely monitors the CDC website, the SCDHEC website, and maintains electronic and telephone communication with the SCDHEC regarding potential pandemic situations and alerts. In the case of potential pandemic situation, the Director of Health Services or designee will notify and maintain communication with the Dean of Student Affairs to assess and initiate appropriate mitigation measures to protect the campus from infection.  The office of Health Services will work closely with the Dean of Student Affairs using CDC, DHEC, and ACHA guidelines for the current recommendations.  The Dean of Student Affairs, in the role of spokesperson, will distribute notification of the recommendations to faculty and staff, via blanket e-mails, the telephone tree, and other methods that are deemed appropriate.

Additionally, if faculty or staff members become aware through legitimate/reliable news sources that a pandemic or possible pandemic situation is emerging they are required to notify the Dean of Student Affairs.  In the absence of the Dean of Student Affairs, the faculty/staff member should reach out to the next person in the notification tree until someone is notified:  the Associate Dean of Students, then the Dean of Academic Affairs and finally the Executive Director of Institutional Research and Effectiveness.

PLEASE NOTE:  The alert phase above is to alert the healthcare system that the POTENTIAL for a pandemic event currently exists. This is the observational phase and a time for teaching and distribution of hygiene and disease prevention information. This is also the time for preparing for further non-pharmaceutical measures, such as isolation, quarantine, social distancing and other basic measures should an outbreak occur on campus or in the local community

Newberry College Pandemic Operation Plan

Pandemic category levels in severity index to 2 and 3 indicate a need for the Dean of Student Affairs and the Newberry College Health Service staff to make recommendations to the President’s Council regarding actions up to and including school closure based on the CDC pandemic guideline’s severity index category, logistical considerations, and whether there is any identified infection on campus. At Pandemic Severity Index category levels of 5 and 6, CDC currently recommends “Dismissal of Schools” and school-based activities. Decisions for action during this phase of the pandemic will be based upon the most current information available from CDC recommendations:

Recommendations are updated several times daily and are available in the office of Health Services and through the Newberry College website.

Mitigation strategies are based on confirmed or probable
Pandemic cases on the Newberry College Campus


Level 1:  Percent Sick:   10%   

How this affects campus activities: 
a) Moderate concern across campus and among parents, b) Moderate faculty load leveling issues, c) Staff load leveling issues; athletic issues, d) Some key management and staff issues, e) Housing issues, f) Foreign student issues, g) Food issues, h) Moderate PR issues

Actions taken by Newberry College: 

  1. Maximize preventative measures (isolation & sanitization),
  2. Implement faculty stand-in measures for continued instruction,
  3. Continue instruction through the institutional Learning Management System (WolfDen)
  4. Develop/implement revised athletic schedule,
  5. Cross-train staff and develop/implement back-up plan,
  6. Develop/implement alternative management plan,
  7. Develop/implement sick student plan,
  8. Develop/implement food plan for sick students,
  9. Develop/implement housing and support plan for sick students who can't go home,
  10. Develop PR plan,
  11. Develop emergency budget plan,
  12. Develop emergency management plan,
  13. Develop emergency communication plan


Level 2:  Percent Sick:   30%  

How this affects campus activities: 
a) Serious concern across campus and among parents, b) Serious faculty load and staff load leveling issues, c) Athletic program seriously compromised, d) Serious management and staff issues, e) Significant housing issues, f) International student issues, g) Food issues, h) Major PR issues, i) Serious additional expense/budget issues.

Actions taken by Newberry College: 

  1. Vacate campus (approximately 4 weeks) except for key personnel, (President, VP Academic Affairs, Director of Operations, Director of Facilities, Director of Security.) *
  2. Continue instruction via remote means,
  3. Implement emergency budget plan,
  4. Provide key staff and faculty with remote access to college network,
  5. Conduct Cabinet and important staff/faculty meetings via webinar/teleconference,
  6. Suspend athletic events,
  7. Sanitize campus,
  8. Maximize/promote electronic access to Library assets,
  9. Establish frequent, on-line video presence for President to keep students, parents, faculty, staff fully informed.


Level 3:  Percent Sick:  60%                                                         

How this affects campus activities:
a) Very serious concerns across campus and among parents, b) Impossible to continue instruction, c) Impossible to continue athletic activities d) Management and staff capabilities severely diminished e) Campus housing impossible f) International students not supportable,
g) Food service not possible, h) Major PR issues, i) Very serious budget issues

Actions taken by Newberry College: 

  1. All campus operations shut down (approximately 4 weeks)*
  2. Emergency budget plans implemented,
  3. Conduct Presidents Council and important staff/faculty meetings via webinar/teleconference,
  4. Continue frequent, on-line video presence for President to keep students, parents, faculty, staff fully informed,
  5. Sanitize campus.


*NOTE:  The decision to vacate or shut down campus operations can only be made by the President or his/her designee.

Administrative Unit Responsibilities During a Pandemic


Health Services will provide assistance to the campus community in the event of a pandemic event through the following tasks:

  • Health Services staff will obtain the most up to date information from the CDC Websites. Contact will be initiated between the Newberry College Health Services, the College’s contract physician, and the local Health Department office in efforts to coordinate information and plan of action.
  • The College Health Service staff will supply information to the Dean of Student Affairs regarding alert Level and category level of the pandemic event. 
  • Updates and instructions from the CDC will be followed and coordinated with the Dean of Student Affairs to monitor the status of the pandemic event and implement recommended measures as published on CDC Updates. 
  • The Health Service staff will triage and categorize ill students according to CDC guidelines providing treatment or referral. 
  • Maintenance of medications and supplies for surge capacity will be based on resources available. Health Services will coordinate with the business department for financial authorization on additional emergency supplies. 
  • In the event that local emergency services, the contract physician or other health facilities are closed due to surge capacity, the Health Services staff will coordinate with the Dean of Student Affairs, the Director of Residence Life, the Director of Food Services, the Chair of the Department of Nursing, and the Director of Security to arrange for quarantines and the isolation of ill students unable to go home. 
  • The Nurse Practitioner or Health Services staff may enlist volunteers from the Nursing department to assist students with activities of daily living and provide basic nursing care until students are able to go home. The Nurse Practitioner and/or the Health Services staff will work with the Office of Residence Life on notification of parents or next of kin for safe transport home when able to travel.



Counseling Services will provide assistance to the campus community in the event of a pandemic event through the following tasks:

  • The Counseling Services staff will provide assistance to students, faculty, and staff to address issues of fear and anxiety by responding with accurate information and updates.
  • Counseling Services staff will provide individual and/or group treatment as indicated for those experiencing anxiety and grief related to concerns over illness and death. Tasks included depend on levels/phases of event. 
  • The Director of Health and Counseling Services or Director of Counseling will obtain regular updates from the campus Nurse Practitioner and Health Service staff to provide accurate information to those experiencing fear and anxiety. 
  • The Director of Health and Counseling Services or Director of Counseling will contact vulnerable students identified by existing psychiatric care and/or disabilities to establish levels of anxiety, social service needs, and provide assistance as needed. 
  • The Director of Health and Counseling Services or Director of Counseling Services will gather information from the Nurse Practitioner, Health Services staff and Director of Residence Life on students identified with moderate to severe levels of anxiety.
  • The Director of Health and Counseling Services or Director of Counseling will email campus about coping with stress, anxiety, and providing instructions on accessing counseling services.
  • The Director of Health and Counseling Services or Director of Counseling will request assistance from the Campus Pastoral staff and available local mental professionals (i.e. NC Mental Health Center, NC Memorial Hospital, West View Behavioral Health) to provide 24/7 counseling services for grief/anxiety issues.
  • The Director of Health and Counseling Services or the Director of Counseling will assist staff in the distribution of Oxy Personal Protective Equipment (eye shield, mask, gloves).



The Office of Residence Life will provide assistance to the campus community in the event of a pandemic event through the following tasks:

  • Identify rooms and facilities that may be used for quarantine purposes if indicated.  Facilities available will depend upon the level of outbreak and exposure.  If facilities are unavailable, the staff of Residence Life will work in conjunction with health officials and campus health services to clear one residential facility to establish a quarantine area.
  • Implement procedures for evacuation and closing of residential halls.
  • Implement procedures for the relocation of students on campus if necessary (i.e. move to Eleazer Arena).
  • Provide cots, linens, and pillows in the event relocation of students is necessary.
  • Assist students in evacuation plans to home when indicated.



The Office of Campus Security will provide assistance to the campus community in the event of a pandemic event through the following tasks:

  • Campus Security will follow the written plan in place for continuation of campus security if absenteeism starts to arise.
  • Campus Security will coordinate with the local police and sheriff for implementation and enforcement of quarantines, isolation and curfews as applicable.



The Department of Nursing staff will work with the College Health Services medical staff to:

  • Store and monitor vaccines and antiviral on campus.  
  • Assist with the administration of vaccines and antiviral to students, faculty and staff on campus within the scope of practice specified by the SC NURSES PRACTICE ACT.
  • Assist ill students on a voluntary basis with activities of daily living and basic measures for infection control as requested by the medical staff of the Health Services office.
  • Provide the Clinical Nursing Skills Lab as an infirmary and last resort for any remaining students, staff and faculty who are unable to return home following school closing. Any supplies and staffing will need to be obtained by the Health Services office.



The Office of Academic Affairs will provide assistance to the campus community in the event of a pandemic event through the following tasks:

  • The Office of Academic Affairs will implement the strategy in place for insuring continuity of instruction and learning with campus instructors. Course syllabi will provide alternative emergency protocols by which learning outcomes for the course will be met by all able students. Such alternative procedures may include the following:
  • Web-based instruction (discussion blogs, web-based lectures and assignments using the college learning management system-Wolfden)
  • Guided readings in which the professor would employ e-mail to pose questions, elicit responses, and inform students.
  • reconfiguration of the usual pedagogical model from one of interdependent engaged learning to independent study.
  • Students who are affected by the pandemic event may in some cases be required to take an “Incomplete” for the course.  If and when faculty members are stricken by a pandemic, their departmental colleagues may be asked to step into the breach.  In some instance, it may become necessary to suspend classes for a specific period of time.   



The Office of Athletics will provide assistance to the campus community in the event of a pandemic event through the following tasks:

  • Upon notification from the Dean of Student Affairs, the Athletic Director will contact the Head Athletic Trainer who will coordinate with Assistant Athletic Trainers and Head Athletic Trainers of all SAC schools in which Newberry College teams have competed against within the previous 72 hours.
  • The Athletic Trainers will treat student athletes and refer them to physicians as necessary.
  • The Athletic Director will contact all Assistant Athletic Directors for notification of home events to be cancelled/rescheduled.
  • If the Newberry College athletic team is on the road when a pandemic has been confirmed, that team will not be allowed to return to campus unless a member of the team begins to exhibit signs and/or symptoms of the illness.



The Office of Business Affairs will implement office plan for maintaining the essential operations of the College and maintain facilities management activities for employee coverage due to absenteeism, housekeeping and food services with allocation of financial resources for physical plant and food supply extending 12 weeks.



The Office of Human Resources will implement the office plan to maintain payroll, compensation of employees who are absent due to illness or the illness of family members for whom the employee is responsible for providing care.



The Office of Information Technology will implement office plans for support of faculty and students in utilizing technology for leaning and maintain a system for continual information and communication throughout campus and nationwide.

Background on the World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control

The role of the World Health Organization and recommendations for national measures before and during pandemics has redefined (2013) the phases of increasing public health risks as the:

Interpandemic Phase This is the period between influenza pandemics.

Alert Phase This is the phase when influenza caused by a new subtype has been identified in humans. Increased vigilance and careful risk assessment, at local, national and global levels, are characteristic of this phase. If the risk assessments indicate that the new virus is not developing into a pandemic strain, a de-escalation of activities towards those in the interpandemic phase may occur.

Pandemic Phase This is the period of global spread of human influenza caused by a new subtype. Movement between the interpandemic, alert and pandemic phases may occur quickly or gradually as indicated by the global risk assessment, principally based on virological, epidemiological and clinical data.

Transition Phase As the assessed global risk reduces, de-escalation of global actions may occur, and reduction in response activities or movement towards recovery actions by countries may be appropriate, according to their own risk assessments.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified various levels of

Pandemic severity and developed the Pandemic Severity Index. The Pandemic Severity Index must be considered as the preparedness, mitigation, and response strategies are implemented. The index uses case fatality ratio as the critical driver for categorizing the severity of a pandemic. In this index, pandemics will be assigned to one of five discrete categories of increasing severity (Category 1 to Category 5).

Pandemic Severity Index (PSI)



Category of Pandemic                               



Case Fatality Ratio

Projected Number of Deaths

SC Estimated Population 2006 (4,321,249)

Category 5



Category 4

1.0 – < 2.0%

12,964 – <25,928

Category 3

0.5 – <1.0%

6,482 – <12,964

Category 2

0.1 – <0.5%

1,296 – <6,482

Category 1



Per CDC interim Pre-pandemic Planning Guidance, these figures assume a 30% illness rate and unmitigated pandemic without interventions.

Pandemic Severity Index

Mitigation Strategies

Level 1

Levels 2 and 3

Levels 4 and 5

Voluntary Isolation (or mandated by DHEC): Consider isolation of ill students, faculty and staff at home or within the residence halls (combine with use of antiviral treatment as available and indicated).




Consider quarantine of exposed students, faculty and staff at home or within residence halls and those living with a suspect or confirmed case (consider combining with antiviral treatment and prophylaxis if effective, feasible, and quantities are sufficient).

Generally not recommended



Advisory of Risk Reduction Strategies and Personal Hygiene: Educate campus community on the strategies to reduce the spread of disease and the need to remain aware of changing conditions of Pandemic not only on campus but locally, regionally and nationally. Continue pandemic planning and mobilization of response efforts.




School Social Distancing: Consider reducing and/or discouraging on and off campus social contacts and community mixing

Generally not recommended

<4 weeks

Strongly Consider:
<12 weeks

Workplace/Community Social Distancing: Consider decreasing the number of social contacts among employees and students (e.g., encourage teleconferences, alternatives to face-to-face meetings)
Consider increasing the distance between persons (e.g., reduce density in public transit, classrooms, meetings and workplaces)
Consider modifying workplace schedules and practices (e.g., telework, staggered shifts, work from home and alternate sites)

Generally not recommended



Workplace/Community Social Distancing:

Consider modifying, postponing or canceling selected public gatherings to promote greater social distancing as the pandemic increases (e.g., indoor and/or outdoor stadium events, theatre performances, graduations)

Generally not recommended


Strongly Consider

School Social Distancing: Consider alternative means for delivering instruction, dismissing or postponing classes and or school-based activities, and closing (or consolidation) of residence halls and child care programs.

Generally not recommended


<4 weeks

Strongly Consider:

< 12 weeks

School/Workplace Social Distancing- Consider closing school except for essential personnel and


Generally not recommended


Strongly Consider

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