The Higher Ed Workplace Blog

Prepare for the Worst

prepared-blogIt seems that every few years something happens that prompts us HR folks to revisit our crisis management plans — a nationwide influenza outbreak, an unspeakable act of violence on a college campus, the threat of swine flu, a natural disaster, and recently, the Ebola epidemic.

Although the likelihood of the disease spreading in our country is extremely low, institutions would be remiss if they didn’t have a plan in place to address how they would deal with an Ebola-infected (or quarantined) employee or student. Several institutions have created new guidelines addressing travel to and from affected countries, and some have suspended study abroad programs in West Africa. The CDC has also issued travel and study abroad advice specific to colleges and universities. Other institutions have developed web pages to keep the campus community informed of CDC recommendations, Ebola facts and figures, and risk management approaches.

With the holidays right around the corner, which often means more staff, faculty and students traveling abroad, there’s no better time than now to take a fresh look at your crisis management and/or pandemic planning policies and procedures. Better to be prepared than caught off guard.

Revisiting your crisis management or pandemic plan? Be sure to check out the newly-added resources (including several Ebola-related resources) in the CUPA-HR Knowledge Center. Have plans or policies you’d like to share? E-mail There was also a recent discussion and sharing of resources around the Ebola virus and employee safety on CUPA-HR Connect, the association’s members-only online community (log in to access the site).