Contingency Planning for H1N1

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"Stay home if you are sick" is the number one directive from the University in dealing with the H1N1 flu virus. Then, "stay home until you have been fever-free for 24 hours." Even if you don't catch the flu, perhaps your child will. Even if you and your children don't get sick, your child's school or day-care center may close. The chance that you will need to stay home at some point during this flu season is extremely high.

What does this mean for the OIP? It says to me a lot of people will be working from home. Doing your job remotely on a different computer doesn't always go smoothly. How can a 3-person technology department deal with an increase in support calls on computers we don't support?

Prevent the Spread

  • Put Purell bottles where people share computers. (LAC Resource Center, Confucius Institute Resource Center, student worker computers on Heller 2, Heller 6 and Dean's Office)
  • Encourage technology staff to use remote technology (Terminal, Apple Remote Desktop, iChat screen sharing) to trouble-shoot computers.
  • Encourage all employees to use the phone or internet (Skype, iChat, GoogleTalk) to communicate with co-workers.
  • Allocate space and resources for a quarantine where infected employees can work.

Plan for Absenteeism

  • Find out the typical absentee rate during the flu season and model for an escalating rate of absenteeism.
  • Identify critical and non-critical job functions then focus on the critical ones.
  • Have each employee prepare an individual contingency plan for how they would do their job remotely.
  • Identify resources employees need and how those resources will be allocated. (We only have so many laptops to lend. Who gets priority?)
  • Tell employees about the tools they need to work remotely (VPN Client, Remote Desktop Client, Skype).
  • Train employees to work remotely (connect to servers, check email, forward their voicemail, start a video chat).
  • Plan for a different kind of stress on the network. Do we need more computers to accept RDC connections?

Other Concerns

  • What about FERPA? If employees are working outside the network, they cannot email unencrypted private data!
  • We need to make clear we cannot support employee's home computers.
  • Read these guidelines for businesses on the CDC website.

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Read University State of Emergency: Human Resources Implications of Pandemic Influenza.