How will WMU compensate employees who are required to work providing critical services, while others are being paid and instructed not to work?
Critical employees will be provided alternate time off when the University reopens following a closure.

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Will my paycheck be delayed if payroll is closed?
As with other critical services of the University, payroll will make every attempt to pay employees accurately and on time.

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If the University is closed, will I get paid?
It is the intention of the University to continue to pay its employees as usual for as long as possible. No one can anticipate every possibility in an extended closure, and the University will keep employees informed of any anticipated changes.

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Will I be able to access my e-mail and the University’s Web site from home if the University is closed?
All resources normally available, including e-mail, the GoWMU portal will continue to be accessible from off campus.

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Will I be able to get my prescription refills through Sindecuse pharmacy if there is a pandemic?
Sindecuse pharmacy will remain open unless circumstances force its closing. Provided the pharmacy is open, drive-through service will be available for students and employees who are attempting to limit exposure to those who may be ill during a pandemic.

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Can a supervisor send an ill employee home?
Yes. Management has the right to protect the workplace. A supervisor should send home any faculty or staff member displaying the following flu-like symptoms: Fever. Cough, Muscle Aches, Sore Throat, Headache, Congestion. If an employee develops severe symptoms, such as becoming unresponsive, is in severe respiratory distress, is mentally confused, or having seizures, call 911. Western Michigan University will require employees who are ill with pandemic influenza to stay away from campus, preferably at home or in other isolation, until they have recovered and are no longer a threat to spread infection.

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In what ways can learning technology resources be available in anticipating closure and ramping up?
The Office of Information Technology's Faculty Support Services, Instructional Technology Center, as well as the Help Desk, will work with any faculty or staff member that comes to these resources seeking advice and guidance in preparing for enhanced instructional delivery from standard instructor-to-student classroom methods. They will make every effort to service all inquiries in a timely manner.

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Which employees should wear a respirator during a pandemic?
In planning for a future pandemic and for the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, OSHA recommends respirators to protect employees at high exposure risk. All respirators must be NIOSH-approved particulate (or higher protection) respirators such as a disposable filtering face piece (e.g., N95, surgical respirator), a reusable elastomeric respirator, or powered air-purifying respirator (PAPR).
Examples of employees at high exposure risk are the following:
  • Health care employees performing aerosol-generating procedures on known or suspected pandemic influenza patients
  • Health care or laboratory personnel collecting respiratory tract specimens from known or suspected pandemic influenza patients
  • Health care delivery and support staff working closely with or within six feet of people known or suspected to be infected with pandemic influenza virus
  • Staff transporting patients who are known or suspected to be infected with pandemic influenza virus (for example, emergency medical technicians)
  • br /> Employees whose jobs require that they wear respirators must be enrolled in WMU’s Respiratory Protection Program. For details, see www.esem.wmich.edu/resp.htm.

    The purchase and replacement of respirators is the responsibility of the employees’ department.

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Will medical verification of illness and recovery be uniformly required for employee absences related to pandemic flu, caring for family with flu, or quarantine? Will it be the responsibility of Human Resources to receive such documentation or will this be a department function?
A physician’s release to return to work may be required depending on the leave policies/agreements for the employee group. Employees should consult current University policy, collective bargaining agreements and departmental practice for actions to take when returning from sick leave.

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Will an ill employee be charged sick or annual leave if sent home?
The employee will use sick leave as outlined in the existing policies and collective bargaining agreements. Visit www.wmich.edu/hr.

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What needs to be done up front to be able to work at home?
Each department head should have a plan for who will be required to work from home based on critical services. Employees working from home will need to make arrangements for proper equipment with the department.

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Will there be limitations to accessing the Virtual Private Network (VPN) from home that will still require IT staff intervention?
No, once the client has been successfully installed, no intervention by IT staff is necessary. The Help Desk can provide assistance to anyone having a problem getting the client to install properly.

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Will Sindecuse offer a vaccine against pandemic flu?
There is no vaccine for pandemic flu. It is recommended that everyone be vaccinated for seasonal influenza unless contraindicated due to allergy or illness. Seasonal influenza vaccine is available at Sindecuse Health Center for a limited period of time during fall and winter.

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If the Payroll Office is closed to walk in customers, will I be able to change my withholding allowances, direct deposits accounts or other items that may affect my paycheck?
All payroll forms may be found at www.wmich.edu/payroll. Please mail or fax forms to (269) 387-2937.

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How soon should personal protective equipment be purchased for a pandemic?
Many scientists believe it is a matter of time until the next influenza pandemic occurs, although, the timing and severity of the next pandemic cannot be predicted. there is likely to be a shortage of personal protective equipment and disinfectants once a pandemic has begun.

OSHA is recommending that employers begin to stockpile respirators and facemasks in preparation for two pandemic waves lasting up to 12 weeks in duration or 120 days. They estimate that a health-care employee may use up to four disposable respirators during each shift.

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How will I be able to process my mail if the University Mail Center closes?
There will be no mail delivery. Arrangements will be made for an alternate site and/or provider to process University mail. Information will be posted on the Web in the event of major changes www.obf.wmich.edu/logistical-services.

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Do supervisors have the ability to reassign staff to critical functions?
Yes, as long as it does not violate a relevant collective bargaining agreement

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What measures will Custodial Services be taking to disinfectant my building?
Custodial Services will follow all requirements and assess all recommendations from federal, state, and local agencies that are involved in pandemic planning. Removal of trash, disinfection of restrooms and common areas will be the priority. There is no evidence to support the efficacy of widespread disinfection of the environment or air by spraying disinfectants. It is an unsafe practice and must be avoided.

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Can departments develop their own pandemic guidelines for sick and annual leave?
For fairness and consistency across campus, University policy should be followed

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I am an employee. How will I be notified that I am to return to work?
You should check the WMU Web home page periodically for the latest news and information. During any long-term closing, such as may be required in a pandemic, you will be expected to provide both your supervisor and Human Resources with any changes in your contact information. To the extent possible, you will be contacted directly when you are expected to return to work. Not all offices and areas will reopen at the same time.

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What will the outcome be if the campus is open and people refuse to come to work?
The existing policies and collective bargaining agreements provide the framework for addressing this matter. Visit www.wmich.edu/hr. Critical regular employees are required to report to work, except as directed by the responsible supervisor or departmental representative and are subject to discipline for not reporting.

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Some staff will be required to perform critical services during a University closure. How will I know if I am critical staff?
Critical functions will be defined in the departmental Pandemic Business Continuity plans approved by each unit’s vice president. A department's critical functions are those that are required to preserve either human or animal lives, maintain the physical infrastructure, or continue essential business services until the emergency is mitigated. Check with your department head to find out if you may be asked to fill a critical function during a pandemic closure.

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Will I be able to get disinfectant cleaners from Custodial Services to clean my office during a pandemic?
Disinfectant cleaners will not be available from Custodial Services.

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What does my department need to do ahead of time to prepare for closure during a pandemic?
  • Ensure a departmental communication plan is in place and all employees have been notified of the protocol. Employees should update telephone contact information, as necessary.
  • Identify how current staff will continue to process timesheet approvals and assure sufficient back-up approvers are created to process timesheets and any other payroll transactions in the event of extended or prolonged incapacitation of current employees.
  • Identify which and how staff will continue to review/approve procurement card for 4-12 weeks for those departments that completely suspend all activities, or for every month that critical departments continue to make procurement card purchases. Ensure that all procurement card transaction reviews and reallocations are made timely prior to closure.
  • Identify any service contracts that include terms for services on- or off-campus that must be curtailed once the temporary closure is announced.
  • Prior to the renewal of a service contract, work with purchasing to revise terms of the contract to allow for suspension of services with the temporary closure.
  • Departments that maintain network servers containing critical business databases and other files should determine the best means to continue these IT services to their staff (if critical access to department files remains necessary during the temporary closure) or to back up all data files and shut down its servers (if no critical services remain during the temporary closure).
  • Refer to Checklist for Temporary Closure of Offices and Checklist for Temporary Closure of Laboratories.
  • Encourage employees to enroll in direct deposit as on-campus paycheck distribution may be suspended.

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What do we need to do to ensure remote computer access for working off site? How can we test the system?
Employees need to work through their department's IT manager to use the virtual private network. Please refer to the question on "what is VPN and who could use it?"

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Will departments be responsible to pay for personal protection equipment or other items needing to be stockpiled or will the university providing funding?
Departments need to assess and provide a budget for their pandemic supplies to the Pandemic Planning Committee to present to the senior leadership to request funding.

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What guidelines will be followed for isolation or quarantine?
Sindecuse Health Center will follow isolation and quarantine guidelines established by the Michigan Department of Community Health. It is anticipated that individuals who are diagnosed with pandemic influenza will be directed to voluntarily isolate themselves from others. Individuals with known exposure to pandemic influenza will be advised to voluntarily quarantine themselves from others.

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Prior to a pandemic closure, will Custodial Services be increasing the cleaning of areas such as keyboards in computer labs or frequently touched surfaces?
Custodial Services under normal operations does not clean keyboards in computer labs or offices. During a pandemic but prior to a pandemic closure, Custodial Services will be cleaning and disinfecting surfaces as normal with some additional attention to frequently touched surfaces as their staffing levels allow. Cleaned surfaces can immediately become contaminated by someone touching those surfaces. Therefore, frequent hand washing, encouraging contacts to cough into their sleeves, and keeping hands away from the face and eyes are recommended.

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How will the priority be determined for the distribution of anti-viral medications and vaccines by Sindecuse Health Center?
During the early months of a pandemic influenza event, there will likely be more demand than supply of antiviral vaccine and medication. Sindecuse will follow specific recommendations for distribution of vaccine and medication as mandated by the Michigan Department of Community Health. Prioritizing the distribution of vaccines and medications to individuals within WMU community will follow guidelines issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and are outlined in the following websites: www.pandemicflu.gov/vaccine/allocationguidance.pdf www.pandemicflu.gov/vaccine/medantivirals.html

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Will worker's compensation cover me if I become infected with pandemic influenza while working?
All Workers Compensation determinations are made by the University's third-party carrier. Information about applying for Workers Compensation is available on the Web.www.wmich.edu/hr/ppm/12-2safety-workcomp.html.

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Which employees should wear a facemask during a pandemic?
For the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, refer to the FAQ on wearing respirators or facemasks in non-healthcare settings.

In planning for a future pandemic with unknown severity, OSHA recommends facemasks to protect employees at a medium exposure risk. Facemasks are not designed or certified to prevent the inhalation of small airborne contaminants. The term “facemask” is used in this guidance refers to surgical, medical, procedure, dental, laser and isolation masks that have been cleared by the Food and Drug Administration.

A medium exposure risk would be for employees with high-frequency close contact (within 6 feet) of the general population such as schools, high population density work environments, and some high volume retail. Since prolonged use of a respirator increases the physical demands on the cardiopulmonary system, alternate means to avoid close contact with the public should be explored.

Instead of facemasks, departments may choose to provide respirators if there is an expectation of close contact with people who have symptomatic influenza infection or to provide protection against the risk of airborne influenza transmission. Departments may consider providing a higher level of protection based upon the essential nature of their services or the difficulty of replacing employees whose job requires extensive training or licensing.

Employees whose jobs require that they wear facemasks must be enrolled in WMU’s Respiratory Protection Program. For details, see http://www.esem.wmich.edu/resp.htm.

The purchase and replacement of facemasks or respirators is the responsibility of the employees’ department.

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What will be the work-at-home guide for non-critical personnel?
In the event of a University closure, non-critical employees will not be working. The University will need to focus all available resources on maintaining critical services.

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If my office is closed, how do I get my paycheck?
Employees are encouraged to sign up for direct deposit at www.wmich.edu/payroll. If the employee does not have direct deposit, the employee's checks will be delivered to the department according to Logistical Services mail process scheduling during closure. If an employee's department is closed, the employee may not be able to obtain his or her checks until the University reopens. Visit www.wmich.edu/payroll for any changes to this process.

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How will services be delivered if significant absenteeism occurs?
In preparation for a University closing, offices that perform critical services must identify who would be designated as critical staff and also must identify back-up staff in the event that those originally designated are unable to continue. In some cases, offices performing critical services may need to look beyond their immediate staff members to employees in other offices to assure there are sufficient numbers of qualified back-up personnel identified. Offices performing critical services will have the ability to recall staff to fill service needs.

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When do we start preparations for a pandemic?
The time to prepare is now. Many of the preparations for a pandemic will prepare you to respond and recover to other emergencies. The experts agree that it is not a matter of if but when we will have the next pandemic.

The university asked all departments in 2007 to complete the Pandemic Business Continuity Survey . Supervisors should review their completed survey and begin to work with their employees on completing the WMU Departmental Pandemic Planning Guide for Closing Campus.

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Who are the telecommuters? What functions will they need to perform?
These are questions that need to be addressed at the departmental level based on business necessity. The Pandemic Business Continuity Planning survey could be useful in determining critical functions that must continue, and therefore, job responsibilities that warrant telecommuting

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During the closure for a pandemic, can I expect any custodial services if my area is not considered critical?
Buildings and departments that are not deemed critical during a closure will be closed and may be locked to prevent entry. Non-critical employees will not be permitted to return to campus until instructed to do so. These steps are essential to help reduce spread of infection and to reduce overhead costs to the University during a closure. If an area or building is deemed critical by the University, it will be serviced daily or as often and for as long as staffing in Building Custodial and Support Services allows.

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Will training be provided to managers to deal with employees who refuse to work because they do not want to be exposed to pandemic flu?
No, at this time there are no plans to change existing University policies on refusal to work. For guidance, refer to current university policy and collective bargaining agreements. Visit www.wmich.edu/hr. Information will be available on the WMU pandemic flu Web site on the measures to take to reduce exposure to the flu virus and to stay healthy during a pandemic.

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If the entire University is closed, will Accounts Payable still process weekly checks?
No, if the entire University is closed Accounts Payable will not process a regular check run. Payments will be arranged for critical services only.

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What if staff refuses to come to work and have exhausted all of their leave?
The existing policies and collective bargaining agreements provide the framework for addressing excessive absenteeism. Visit www.wmich.edu/hr

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What will happen when employees are sick and exhaust all of their leave?
The existing policies and collective bargaining agreements provide the framework for addressing absences. Visit www.wmich.edu/hr.

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What if public schools in the area close, and staff must be absent to care for children?
The existing policies and collective bargaining agreements provide the framework for addressing absences. Visit www.wmich.edu/hr.

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What will be the thresholds to alter methods of operation, such as instituting telecommuting, staggering work shifts, sending employees home during a pandemic?
This will be determined at the departmental level while the University is still open.

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What will be the protocol for the university to keep track of who is critical and receives priority service?
Each VP area will provide a list of functions, work locations, and staff for the critical services in their areas. Once approved by the Pandemic Flu Planning Committee, they will be distributed to departments providing critical services.

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When will managers be trained on the sick/annual usage protocols for employees who become ill?
At this time there are no plans to change leave provisions. The current University policy and collective bargaining agreements statements on sick leave usage apply. Visit www.wmich.edu/hr for information.

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How and what should I be using to disinfect my office during a pandemic?
Cleaning with a commercial product that is both a detergent and disinfectant is recommended for surfaces not visibly dirty. Alternatively, wash the surface with a general household cleaner (soap or detergent), rinse with water, and follow with a disinfectant. This method should be used for visibly dirty surfaces. Do not mix disinfectants and cleaners unless the labels indicate it is safe to do so. Clean surfaces that are frequently touched with the hands such as sinks, doorknobs, railings, and counters. Individual employees and students may want to consider regular cleaning of their phones and keyboards particularly if they are shared with others or used by the public. There is no evidence to support the efficacy of widespread disinfection of the environment or air by spraying disinfectants. Routine use of bleach should be avoided as it is corrosive to metals, damaging to environmental surfaces, has no detergent (cleaning) benefit, and is toxic. Personal protective equipment should be worn when applying cleaning products. This includes gloves as well as goggles if splashing or spraying is possible. Transmission of influenza from contaminated hard surfaces cannot be ruled out. Hand hygiene is the most important method to prevent the transmission of the influenza virus.

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Will supplies related to infection control be stockpiled by each department or will a central supply be established?
A location for a central supply is being considered.

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Besides a respirator what other personal protective equipment should I wear if I am caring for someone who is known or suspected to be infected with pandemic influenza?
GLOVES:
In healthcare settings, clean, non-sterile gloves must be used by medical workers when touching blood, body fluids, secretions, excretions, and contaminated items including linens. Gloves must be discarded after use, when contaminated or damaged. Hand hygiene, which includes washing with soap and water or use of alcohol-based hand rubs, is critical to prevent transmission.

EYE PROTECTION/FACE SHIELD:
In healthcare settings, eye protection must be worn by medical workers when there is a risk of contamination of the eyes from splashes/sprays of blood, body fluids, secretions, excretions during patient care (e.g., working within three feet of suspected or confirmed pandemic influenza-infected patients). Face shields provide an additional barrier but must always be worn with eye protection.

GOWN:
In healthcare settings, a clean, non-sterile gown may be needed by medical workers to protect skin and prevent soiling of clothing during procedures and patient-care activities that are likely to generate splashes or sprays of blood, body fluids, secretions or excretions. Soiled gowns must be removed as promptly as possible and hands must be washed to avoid transfer of influenza virus to others or to the environment.

SURGICAL MASK:
It is recommended that suspect or confirmed pandemic influenza patients wear surgical masks in public or during transport.

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Will health insurance coverage continue if I am no longer getting a paycheck?
Employees not receiving a paycheck will be billed for their insurance premiums. Health insurance coverage will continue as long as payments are received.

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Can employees make changes to a website from home or will all information go through the departmental OIT manager?
Employees need to work through their department's IT manager regarding their access to making changes on the website. All offices will submit communication needs to university relations, which will work with those offices and will be solely responsible for approving messages and determining the best ways to disseminate information.

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Should there be additional insurance for health care workers with close contact to patients with pandemic flu?
At this time there is no additional or special insurance for pandemic flu. Please refer to the Human Resource website for information on health insurance benefits.

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Will I be told if anyone in my department has been infected with pandemic influenza?
Notifying close contacts will likely only occur by the Kalamazoo County Health and Community Services in the early phases of a pandemic when there may be an opportunity to contain the spread of infection. The HIPAA Privacy Rule allows disclosure of protected health information when the disclosure is necessary to prevent or lessen a serious and imminent threat to the health or safety of a person or the public, and the disclosure is made to persons reasonably able to prevent or lessen the threat.

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What are the guidelines on wearing respirators or facemasks in non-healthcare settings for the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic?
Following is the June 2009 summary of the CDC recommendations specifically for H1N1 for facemask and respirator use in non-healthcare occupational settings: www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/masks.htm.

Use of N95 respirators or facemasks generally is not recommended for workers in non-healthcare occupational settings for general work activities. For specific work activities that involve contact with people who have influenza-like illness (ILI) (fever plus at least either cough or sore throat and possibly other symptoms like runny nose, body aches, headaches, chills, fatigue, vomiting and diarrhea), such as escorting a person with ILI, interviewing a person with ILI, providing assistance to an individual with ILI, the following are recommended:
  • workers should try to maintain a distance of 6 feet or more from the person with ILI;
  • workers should keep their interactions with ill persons as brief as possible;
  • the ill person should be asked to follow good cough etiquette and hand hygiene and to wear a facemask, if able, and one is available;
  • workers at increased risk of severe illness from influenza infection should avoid people with ILI (possibly by temporary reassignment); and,
  • where workers cannot avoid close contact with persons with ILI, some workers may choose to wear a facemask or N95 respirator on a voluntary basis.
Requirements for voluntary use of respirators in occupational settings are in the WMU respirator policy: www.esem.wmich.edu/resp.htm

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Will treatment be available at Sindecuse Health Center for pandemic flu?
There is no current remedy; however, antiviral medications used to treat seasonal influenza may be prescribed by a Sindecuse Health Center clinician if or when treatment is available for pandemic flu and as recommended by the CDC.

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How do we plan for resumption of operations?
Each department will need to complete the WMU Departmental Pandemic Planning Guide for Closing Campus to assess the time needed to prepare for the return of students. As a further step, departments may want to evaluate how operations might change if fewer staff were to return to work.

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Will there be a standard protocol for required personal protection equipment at each WMU alert Level?
The level of personal protective equipment is determined by the likelihood of occupational exposure to pandemic flu and the severity of the pandemic flu virus.

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Should I take my research notebook home?
No, the university data policy requires that notebooks remain on campus. Copies of notebooks should be made and the copies may be taken home. The faculty researcher should collect all original notebooks and data at the time of notice of closing of the University.

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Will mental health services be available?
A pandemic flu outbreak will create both a physical and mental health crisis. Clinicians from both Sindecuse Health Center and counselors from the University Counseling and Testing Center provide a critical service and will be available to students, faculty and staff even though WMU may close.

The goal will be to suspend day to day operations, implement on-call crisis management, and utilize various methods of communication between counselors and students, including face to face, telephone, and online counseling.

HelpNet, the University employee assistance program, provides confidential counseling and referral services to employees and their household members. To contact HelpNet call (269) 372-4500 in Kalamazoo or 800-969-6162 statewide. Information on their services is also available online at www.wmich.edu/hr/eap.html

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How will I know if hours of operation change at Sindecuse Health Center during a pandemic event?
Current information will be available by calling 387-3287. Any changes in hours of operation for any critical service will be announced on the WMU Web home page.

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My laboratory will be closed during the pandemic, what steps should I take to secure my lab?
The university may need to lock buildings to prevent entry during a pandemic. At the beginning of a pandemic, the administration may not know how long the university will be closed. You must assume that it could be several months before you might return. Besides attending to the items on the laboratory closure checklist, consider any equipment, chemicals, or agents particular to your lab that may require special handling.

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What will be the guidelines for curtailing or deferring medical care during a pandemic?
During a pandemic, health-care facilities and emergency rooms will be overwhelmed by the rising demand of medical care as infection sweeps across communities. In addition, medical centers may face staff shortages due to illness.

To manage the rising tide of pandemic illness, it will be necessary for medical facilities to defer routine care.

Sindecuse Health Center provides a critical service and will attempt to remain open even though WMU may close during a pandemic. Staff availability and patient volume will be assessed daily at Sindecuse to determine the need to defer routine, elective, or chronic medical care until the pandemic ends. Sindecuse will close as mandated by WMU leadership or if there are no health-care providers available due to illness or death. Students, faculty and staff will be notified of reduction of services or closure through notices on the WMU Web home page and other means, as available.

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If I am the only one working in my lab without contact with the public, can I continue my research?
Some researchers may be able to continue working during a pandemic closure, especially if they are working alone or in a small group in a large space. While researchers may be able to work in isolation on campus during early phases of a pandemic, at some point the University may decide that all on-campus facilities, except for critical services, will be closed for health and safety reasons. Faculty researchers may not ask or require that students or staff, other than those responsible for animal, plant or cell culture maintenance, come to the University. Gathering in these groups may promote the spread of the disease. Researchers who want to continue their research may need to secure a pass or appropriate security card to gain access to their buildings.

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Is my research area considered critical such that I can continue during closure for pandemic?
Critical research areas are those where live animal, plant or cell cultures need to be maintained. Researchers should take necessary steps to secure cell lines, cultures and animals. Any other research to be considered critical must be noted as such in the Pandemic Business Continuity Survey completed by each department and approved by a committee established by the offices of the provost and vice president for research.

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If my research is considered critical, how will custodial and physical plant know to provide support?
The University will endeavor to support the staff in those campus buildings where critical research is located, but service will be at a reduced level. Buildings with critical temperature sensitive freezers and animals will need to be maintained at the appropriate temperature range, but availability of custodial services is not guaranteed

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If I am a WMU employee, and learn that another person with whom I was in close contact was diagnosed with pandemic flu, what should I do?
Monitor yourself for the following flu-like symptoms: fever, cough, muscle aches, sore throat, headache, congestion. Seek medical attention if needed.

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Are there privacy issues that are overridden in a pandemic?
The Federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule contains a broad public health exception to its confidentiality requirements. It allows health care providers and organizations to disclose protected health information to a public health authority for purposes of disease reporting, public health surveillance, public health investigations, and public health interventions. The HIPAA Privacy Rule also contains an exception which allows disclosure of protected health information when the provider or organization believes that the disclosure is necessary to prevent or lessen a serious and imminent threat to the health or safety of a person or the public, and the disclosure is made to a person or persons reasonably able to prevent or lessen the threat.

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I need to purchase equipment for next semester. Will I be able to order during a pandemic closure?
During a closure due to a pandemic, purchases by non-critical departments will be restricted. Associated services such as delivery of purchased items will only be available for critical services. Departments which provide critical services will be given e-mail addresses and phone numbers so that orders can be processed utilizing the Internet. Information will be posted on the Web if there are major changes and when non-critical services can begin to purchase items. www.obf.wmich.edu/logistical-services

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If Purchasing is closed, how will I get purchase orders, vendor contracts and change orders processed?
Departments which provide critical services will be given e-mail addresses and phone numbers so that orders can be processed utilizing the Internet.

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If Purchasing is closed, how will I be able to make changes to my procurement card if needed, or order new ones?
Purchasing will be able to administer the procurement card program from off campus utilizing the Internet. Purchasing administrators contact information will be made available to campus customers providing critical services. Information will be posted on the Web if there are major changes. www.obf.wmich.edu/logistical-services

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Will buildings need to be disinfected before students and employees return?
Custodial Services will follow all requirements and assess all recommendations from federal, state, and local agencies that are involved in a pandemic response www.pandemicflu.gov/plan/individual/panfacts.html. There is no evidence to support the efficacy of widespread disinfection of the environment or air by spraying disinfectants. Surfaces that are normally cleaned with disinfectants such as all bathroom surfaces and health-care facilities will continue.

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What will be the WMU travel restrictions during a pandemic and how will they be determined?
Travel restrictions may include canceling travel to any location based on the severity of the pandemic, World Health Organization recommendations, and location of the pandemic if the University believes that any person is or likely will be in danger.

The medical director of Sindecuse Health Center and the executive director of International Programs will monitor the global patterns of pandemic influenza by reviewing the following Web sites on a regular basis:

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What is WMU’s scope of authority in the event of quarantines and border closures in another country?
WMU has no authority to get students, faculty or staff out of a quarantined area or to compel countries that have closed their borders to release our students, faculty or staff.

Every country has the right to quarantine infected, exposed, or potentially exposed individuals, thereby preventing them from leaving the host country. In extreme cases, a country may also choose to close its borders to prevent further spread of the disease. Therefore, there is a possibility that WMU students, faculty, or staff may be prevented from leaving a country experiencing an outbreak of an infectious disease.

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What is a VPN, and who could use it?
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) can be used to create a secure connection to WMU resources, such as departmental servers. The use of the VPN requires that a client (application) be installed on the computer system(s) that access WMU resources from off-campus. Users can download the client from the GoWMU portal by adding the VPN channel to their layout and following the directions provided.

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What are the guidelines for stockpiling non-pharmaceutical pandemic supplies?
There are various guidelines for stockpiling. OSHA has suggested a 120-day supply of respirators for health care workers with close contact to patients with pandemic flu. The federal government recommends that individuals and families keep a two-week supply of nonperishable food, water and other necessities in case there are disruptions in their availability: www.pandemicflu.gov/takethelead/article_stocking.pdf

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Will departments be financially responsible for stockpiling pandemic supplies or personal protective equipment?
Departments need to assess and provide a budget for stockpiles of pandemic supplies to the Pandemic Flu Planning Committee to present to the senior leadership for funding. Departments will not have guaranteed funding for stockpiled pandemic supplies if they have not received prior approval.

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If the receiving area closes, how will I receive packages and freight shipments?
If the receiving area closes, arrangements will be made for an alternate site to receive goods and have those deemed critical delivered or pick up arranged. Non-critical deliveries may be stored for distribution when the University reopens. Information will be posted on the Web in the event of major changes www.obf.wmich.edu/logistical-services.

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How will I obtain needed materials and keys from the Maintenance Stores if it is closed?
During a University closure, an off-campus site or vendor(s) will be designated to purchase materials to support critical services. Keys may be obtained from WMU Public Safety, but only by those areas providing critical services.

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How will I get fuel for my University vehicles if Maintenance Stores closes?
If the University closes, the fuel station will remain open, but only to support critical services.

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Which employees will be issued protective equipment and under what circumstances?
The supervisor determines what personal protective equipment is required to perform the job safely and will follow the OSHA guidelines that are outlined in the questions above on “Which employees should wear a respirator during a pandemic?”, “Which employees should wear a facemask during a pandemic?” and “What other personal protective equipment should I wear?”

Departments need to review the environment in which their employees work and first attempt if possible to continue operations with social distancing—no contact with people known to be infected with the pandemic virus, nor frequent close contact (within 6 feet) with the public. If social distancing can not be accomplished, departments should contact the Division of Environmental Safety and Emergency Management for assistance on selecting personal protective equipment.

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Is WMU required to supply personal protective equipment or infection control supplies to staff and student workers?
Workplace safety law requires employers to provide a workplace free from hazards likely to cause death or physical harm. Those same laws require the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) to reduce employee exposure to hazards when engineering and administrative controls are not feasible or effective in reducing exposures to acceptable levels. Engineering and administrative controls such as eliminating face-to-face contact should be evaluated first before a department assigns personal protective equipment. The department in consultation with the Division of Environmental Safety and Emergency Management must determine if PPE should be used to protect their workers. If personal protective equipment is required for a particular job, it must be supplied at no cost to the employee. Sufficient and accessible infection control supplies such as hand soap or cleaners will be provided. In addition to providing hand-cleaning supplies, educational material will be made available on promoting personal hygiene measures, minimizing face-to-face contact, cough/sneeze etiquette, and staying home when ill.

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What if I want to wear a respirator or facemask but neither my supervisor nor OSHA recommend or require?
Neither facemasks nor respirators are recommended for employees who have minimal contact with the general public or other employees.

The department/unit head may provide or permit use as long as it will not create a hazard to the employee. Possible hazards include use of a dirty or contaminated respirator or interfering with an employee’s ability to work safely (e.g., reducing vision while driving or operating heavy machinery.)

If a negative pressure particulate respirator with the filter as an integral part of the face piece or with the entire face piece composed of filtering material (e.g., N95, N99, and N100), is used, the department/unit head is not required to obtain a proof of medical ability to wear the respirator although employees should be encouraged to check with their health care provider.

If an elastomeric respirator--half or full face made from an elastic polymer and using a cartridge or filter--or a supplied air respirator is worn, the department/unit head is required to make arrangements to obtain a medical clearance for the employee.

The department/unit head must provide the employee with a written copy of the Instructions for Employees who Request Voluntary Use of a Respirator located at www.esem.wmich.edu/policies.htm. The employer must maintain a signed copy documenting that the employee has received and read the instructions that include the information for voluntary use of a respirator as mandated in the OSHA respirator standard 29 CFR 1910.134.

The department/unit head is not required to purchase the respirator but may choose do to so. Fit testing is not required for voluntary use.

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At what point during a pandemic, will departments be able to obtain financial assistance from the University?
It is likely that departments will be financially responsible up until the closing of campus and for their normal operations during a pandemic closure. Department planning should identify as soon as possible those items during a pandemic that would require additional funding outside of their normal budget and submit the costs to the Pandemic Flu Planning Committee. Departments will not have guaranteed funding for pandemic expenses if they have not received prior approval.

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How can I drop something off to payroll if its doors are closed?
Forms may be faxed to payroll at (269) 387 2937. A drop box is located on the west outer wall of the Payroll Office in Siebert Administration Building, but the building may also be closed.

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If my timekeeper is out how will my time data get into payroll for payment?
A Kronos correction form can be found atwww.wmich.edu/payroll/new_kronos/corrections.html for entry of missing hours. However, time data will still need to be approved by a supervisor before it can be paid.

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When should training of ancillary or reassigned staff occur?
As part of departmental flu planning, departments should identify qualified personnel for re-assignment, as necessary, to address critical service needs when classes are canceled or the University is closed. This planning should include training for staff that may be re-assigned.

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If a department loses its revenue source, would the staff of that department go on layoff status while other departments who are base-funded continue to work or be paid?
In a pandemic situation, the University will either suspend classes and remain open, or will close. Individual departments will not close while others remain open. Some functions in some departments may provide critical services during a pandemic closure

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How will the University coordinate all of the information going out to our constituents to ensure accuracy and consistency?
University relations will coordinate all communication from all offices of the University in any campus emergency, including pandemic. All offices will submit communication needs to university relations, which will work with those offices and will be solely responsible for approving messages and determining the best ways to disseminate information.

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If Accounts Payable is closed, how will I pay for my departmental expenses?
If Accounts Payable is closed, you will be able to pay for most of your expenses using your procurement card. You may need to make special arrangements with your vendors, if possible. Additional payment options may be available in the event of an emergency. These will be determined at a later date. Purchases for non-critical goods and services should be delayed until the University reopens.

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If Accounts Payable is not open, how will my procurement card be paid?
The procurement card is fed directly to the general ledger and payment is made using a wire transfer. Once the university closes for a pandemic, procurement cards should only be used to support purchases for critical services.

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I have invoices for more than $5,000 that will be coming in during the closure. How will I be able to pay them?
In preparation for closure, each department must ensure that invoices have been approved for payment. If you are aware of significant invoices that have not been received at the University, consider alerting the vendor that any payments other than by a procurement card may be delayed during the closure. Additional payment options may be available in the event of an emergency; these will be available at a later date and can be found at www.obf.wmich.edu/logistical-services

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If my department pays vendors through PeopleSoft, will the vendors still be paid.
Accounts Payable will not be issuing checks or paying vendors electronically during a closure. Each department who pays vendors by this method, should contact Logistical Services and request a temporary increase in payment levels on procurement cards.

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If the University is closed, when will I receive my personal reimbursements?
You will receive your personal reimbursement when the University reopens and returns to normal business operations.

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How can my department make a deposit if the University is closed?
If the University is closed you will need to assure that your deposits are kept in a secure location. Please check for updates at www.obf.wmich.edu/accounting-services/busfin_cashier.html.

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How long will it take to post a wire transfer and/or ACH payment if the university is closed?
Your deposit will be posted as soon as possible

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Will my normal Public Safety pick-up still occur?
If Cashiering is closed, Public Safety would suspend their money escort. Each department should have something in place (a safe) to secure their cash until it can be picked up. If cashiering is open on a limited basis, Public Safety will make arrangements to pick up cash bags during those hours of operation, assuming there is sufficient shift strength.

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How do I get information on cashiering operations if the University is closed?
Please check for updates at www.obf.wmich.edu/accounting-services/busfin_cashier.html for the status of cashiering operations. Please e-mail wmu-billing@wmich.edu with any payment concerns.

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How do we encourage all employees to direct all media questions to university relations?
University officials, public safety officers, WMU health officials and other employees in positions of responsibility for emergency preparedness and response receive periodic training, including how to respond to media. Media representatives frequently seek personal comments from students and other members of the campus community on a wide variety of issues. We would hope that all would exercise restraint and good judgment, especially in an emergency or campus tragedy. As a practical matter, however, the University cannot provide effective media training for 30,000 students, faculty and staff. In a regional disaster, such as a major tornado or pandemic, it is unlikely that WMU would be the focus of media attention.

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Will Human Resources have staff available to access emergency contact information when necessary?
Yes, Public Safety will have the emergency contact information for Human Resources.

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How will employees be able to access benefits information during a closure?
To access benefit information call (269) 387-3620, visit www.wmich.edu/hr, or use the dedicated e-mail address that will be posted on the Web site. To view your current benefit elections login to GoWMU. Under “My Self-Service”, click “My Benefits Elections." You will need your Employee ID Number.

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Will Sindecuse have a test to diagnose pandemic flu?
Pandemic flu testing may be available at Sindecuse Health Center by collecting a swab from the nose or throat during the first few days of the illness similar to seasonal flu.

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Phone: (269) 387-2154