Pandemic Flu Response Plan

The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art has established a Pandemic Flu Response Plan to guide the institution in preparing for and responding to an influenza outbreak. The goals of the plan are:

  • To protect the health and safety of students, employees, and visitors;
  • To minimize the adverse impact on college operations, students, personnel, and facilities;
  • To provide for continuity of college operations to the greatest extent possible;
  • To effectively communicate with all involved parties throughout the duration of a pandemic;
  • To recover following a pandemic as soon as possible.

The Cooper Union’s Pandemic Influenza Response Plan may be activated in several escalating levels and in accord with guidance received from the World Health Organization (WHO), the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and local health departments. A synopsis of our levels of response follows:

Level 1. First cases of efficient human-to-human transmission internationally.

  • The campus stays open, business as usual, more enhanced and specific planning steps will be taken to prepare for the next level. Communication with the campus community will increase to keep everyone informed of plans being implemented.
  • The Director of International Advisement will develop plans for communication and recommend policies related to study abroad including trip cancelation, restricted travel regions, repatriation, academic credit issues, shelter-in-place guidelines, and a review of students’ health status upon returning home to campus. The Director will also develop plans for communication and recommended policies for international students including providing assistance to students who want to go home and support to students who are not able to return home. The Director will review and plan for the consequences of travel restrictions on students as well as partnering organizations including related contractual obligations. The Director is responsible for continually monitoring travel restrictions and advisories from the CDC and WHO.

Level 2: First verified case is reported in the United States.

  • Elevated Risk. Limited immediate hazard to students, faculty, and staff.
  • The Pandemic Flu Response Team will meet to review necessary steps. This team consists of:
    1. Director of Campus Safety and Security
    2. Facilities Administrative Assistant
    3. Director of Human Resources
    4. Assistant Director of International Advisement
    5. Associate Dean of Students
    6. Campus-Wide Faculty Safety Coordinator
  • Send a communication to the Cooper Community detailing information about the flu and steps the institution is taking to protect students, faculty, and staff, including educating the campus community regarding self-protection information, hand washing, and seasonal flu vaccination.
  • The Facilities Manager will review protocols with the maintenance staff to prevent the exposure and spread of disease, including hygiene and cleaning of personal contact surfaces.
  • Cooper Union will procure, store, and provide sufficient and accessible prevention supplies.

Level 3. Suspected/confirmed case is reported within the New York City area.

The Pandemic Flu Response Team:

  • Will continue to meet, advice, and implement the response plan.
  • Follow recommendations of the New York City Department of Health and Emergency Management.
  • Provide information to cabinet and deans regarding status of preparedness.
  • Provide information to the President to determine if public or campus events should be cancelled or postponed.
  • Work with maintenance team to enhance sanitation efforts.
  • Ensure housing staff is trained to recognize flu symptoms and report immediately all ill students to the Director of Housing.
  • Make prevention supplies, such as masks and hand sanitizer available to the Cooper community.
  • Post signage with information on flu prevention.
  • Work with deans and supervisors to ensure monitoring of absences of students, staff, and faculty. Anyone who has been sick or out of class/school for longer than 5 days should be reported to either human resources for staff and faculty, or the Dean of Students for students.

Level 4: Suspected/confirmed case is reported on campus.

  • Monitor situation and respond as needed.
  • Update the Cooper community through the website and emails.
  • Dean of Students provides updates to parents regarding steps that the institution is taking to protect students.
  • Determine if certain university functions need to be modified and eliminated.
  • Consider possible restrictions to vendors and visitors.
  • Develop plan for reducing exposure of non-ill students, faculty and staff.
  • Promote work-from-home as appropriate/possible.
  • Gather and maintain employee absenteeism data.
  • Review capability to continue operations. Selected administrative offices and academic buildings may need to be closed.
  • Depending on national and local conditions, review plans necessary to close the University.

Level 5: Campus is Closed.

  • An emergency condition is declared, and the campus is evacuated.
  • All facilities close except skeletal services, temporary emergency shelter housing for students with extreme hardships. Access to campus is sealed off except for essential employees for tasks related to securing and maintaining the campus and its facilities, and closure is sustained. All service contracts and construction projects are suspended.
  • Secure buildings and post signage.
  • Academic departments develop and disseminate alternative procedures for completing course work.
  • Support remote access by those working from home.
  • Establish an information hotline.

Recovery level: The pandemic is under control.

  • Share communications for post-pandemic recovery and resumption of normal operations.
  • Plan for revised instruction calendar and completion of the semester.
  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.