Continuity of Operations Plans

(Academic Affairs Emergency Plan)

 

Introduction

The Academic Affairs Continuity of Operations Plan (formerly called the Academic Affairs Emergency Preparedness and Recovery Plan) primarily addresses contingencies for suspension of on campus operations for periods of up to two weeks, with some strategies for addressing longer evacuation periods.

When the university has evacuated for a hurricane over the past 20 years, classes typically have been cancelled for 2-3 days before they are resumed with a normal schedule. Under these circumstances public announcements made via the media, on the campus Web site, and via campus e-mail are entirely adequate. Faculty have given assignments for the evacuation period and adjusted their schedules and assignments to accommodate this situation.

These general guidelines are based on the experiences of Loyola University's faculty, staff, students, and administrators in emergency situations both longer and shorter term. Obviously, no plan can cover every contingency. Each storm or emergency may present a different set of unforeseeable challenges for the city and the university. These guidelines are meant to be just that - a set of prescribed actions that are meant to cover the foreseeable scenarios and to help with decision-making in those unforeseen. As decisions and exceptions must be made as new challenges present themselves, persons at each level should make decisions that at least follow the intent of these guidelines, if not the exact directions.

For questions, please contact Desiree Rodriguez, Executive Assistant to the Provost, at Desiree@loyno.edu, or at x2281.

 

Complete Evacuation

In an evacuation, all on campus operations cease.  All faculty, staff, and students are instructed to leave campus.  An evacuation will be ordered at the suggestion of the Emergency Management Team (EMT) and direction of the President.

Evacuation may occur as a result of an imminent hurricane calling for a complete evacuation or from a more local, area-specific emergency such as a hazardous material (HAZMAT) scenario, for example , material (as flammable or poisonous material) that would be a danger to life or to the environment if released without precautions.

During hurricane-driven situations, the decision to evacuate will ordinarily coincide with the evacuation of the city or the neighborhoods adjacent to the university. The Loyola Offsite Recovery Team I (LORE), led by the university president, will travel to a designated offsite location, currently in Dallas, TX. 

During hurricane evacuation forcing the relocation of the student body, all campus buildings will be locked and access strictly prohibited until the threat passes and safety has been confirmed by the Emergency Manager, Physical Plant, Loyola Police, and the President. Depending on the storm’s trajectory, speed, and expected landfall, laboratory science faculty may be allowed access to labs until a specific time prior to landfall, provided access has been approved in advance by the dean, provost, and emergency manager in consultation with physical plant and university police. However, once the evacuation of the campus is complete, access will only be allowed once the storm passes and once safety is restored.

Faculty and students are expected to evacuate and be prepared to continue instruction by distance learning methods which may include Blackboard, other online methods, and completion of reading, writing or other assignments specified on individual course syllabi.

Online courses and programs will continue normal operations. Faculty teaching in online programs, in consultation with online program directors, will notify their students of changes in availability while faculty members are traveling to their evacuation destinations. 

 

Suspension of Campus Operations

Campus operations may be suspended when external conditions on or around campus may be unsafe, but not severe enough to evacuate. Faculty and staff will be directed to leave campus by a specific time. Only personnel designated by the EMT may remain on campus after suspension goes into effect.

Residential students will continue to be housed on campus in locations designated by the Office of Student Affairs in consultation with the EMT.

During a suspension of campus operations, all academic and administrative buildings will be closed and locked. Laboratory science faculty may be allowed access to labs provided access has been approved in advance by the dean, provost, and emergency manager in consultation with physical plant and university police. Access will only be allowed when it is safe. If power failure occurs, buildings must be checked individually to ensure life-safety equipment is fully operational before any access to any building is granted. 

On campus classes will continue instruction in distance learning mode utilizing Blackboard, other online methods, and completion of reading, writing or other assignments specified on individual course syllabi.

Online courses and programs will continue normal operations. Faculty teaching in online programs, in consultation with online program directors, will notify their students of changes in their availability.

 

Assumptions

  • The Office of Academic Affairs will be directed by, and its acitivites will be consistent with, the overall university emergency plan.
  • The university will not close during an evacuation or suspension of on-campus operations; academic instruction will continue in a distance learning mode as along as the academic term has begun.
  • Student enrollment and contact with students will be maintained.
  • Faculty and staff will check in with their deans or supervisors within 48 hours of an evacuation. All units will maintain and distribute current contact trees.  
  • All students and employees will have current alternative personal contact information on file in LORA and HR Respectively.
  • The university will maintain a robust Blackboard capability.
  • All faculty and instructional staff will maintain a level of Blackboard presence for each of their courses.
  • Students will be required to keep up with course assignments within 48 hours of evacuation or suspension of on campus operations.  
  • Each college will develop departmental instructional plans.
  • All campus buildings will be locked during an evacuation or suspension of campus oeprations. Except for lab science faculty that made advance arrangements, requests for building access will be denied until campus oprations resume.  
  • Direct communication with faculty, staff, and students will be made using voicemail, email, and text messages.

 

Instructional Responsibilities and Enrollment Policies

Normal tuition refund policies will remain in effect during an evacuation or suspension of on campus operations.

The university will adjust the academic calendar as necessary to adhere to accreditation and federal financial aid requirements.

Depending upon the length of time for suspension of campus operations in the fall, the university may normally extend the semester for one additional week in December.  However, exams will not extend beyond December 22.

If an evacuation or suspension of campus operations takes place in the first part of the fall semester, the university may use the Fall Break and some Saturdays may be designated by the university as make-up days.  Alternatively, faculty will conduct make-up classes via Blackboard or other alternative instructional methods.  For sample assignments and suggestions, faculty may consult "Alternative Instructional Resources" (AIR) on the Academic Affairs intranet.  In addition, all faculty have access to the AIR Blackboard site for more detailed assignment suggestions. 

  1. On Campus Instruction
    Instruction of on campus courses will continue during an evacuation/suspension through distance education and will be maintained in all courses as follows:

a. One week or less
Reading and writing assignments prepared in advance and as indicated on syllabus or other assignments made prior to the evacuation/suspension.

Blackboard or other online assignments such as watching a lecture/video and writing a paper.  See samples on the AIR page of the Academic Affairs intranet and the Alternative Instructional Resources Blackboard site.

b. One to two weeks
Faculty will continue instruction by holding a minimum of one class session via Blackboard or other distance learning protocol.  These sessions may include one or more video lectures, PowerPoint presentations, interactive Blackboard assignments, or reading and writing assignments emailed to students by the course instructor.

Additionally, homework assignments equivalent to one week of class work will be given to students.

c. More than two weeks
Instruction will continue in all courses via Blackboard or other distance learning protocol except those specifically designated by the dean, director or chair as inappropriate for extended distance education (e.g. lab courses, private music instruction, studio classes).

Students enrolled in courses designated inappropriate for extended distance education will be assigned a grade of IP in those courses.

 

2. Online Program and Course Instruction

Instruction in all online courses will continue on Blackboard given the guidelines for both faculty and students below.

a. Students in an area impacted by an emergency event:

As with traditional students, online students impacted by an emergency event will be required to keep up with course assignments within 48 hours.  Online students impacted by an emergency event will be given seven (7) days to contact the program if any additional support is required.  Students impacted by catastrophic events prohibiting communication will be addressed on a case-by-case basis at the program director's discretion.

In general, students will be allowed to redress their absence given the following:

Student miss 10-20% of an academic term directly due to event

Extensions will be granted to the student.

Faculty may have the option to waive particular assignments at their discretion.

A grade of "I" may be assigned if the event occured near the end of term.

Students will be allowed to enroll in subsequent courses even if the incompletes were not addressed.

A student success agreement must be filed with the program director to enroll in subsequent courses.

Student misses 21-30% of an academic term directly due to the event

A student with proper documentation may request a grade of "I" at the course instructor's discretion.

A student may have to finish this coursework before enrolling in new courses at the discretion of the program director.

A student success agreement must be filed with the program director.

Student misses 31% or mroe of an academic term directly due to the event

A student with proper documentation may request a grade of "IP".  This grade will be assigned at the program director or department chair's discretion.

Proper documentation: Provide proof of home address at the time of the emergency event.  This address must be within an area declared a Federal or State disaster area.

Criminal Justice:
10-20% = 1-2 weeks
21-30% = 2-3 weeks
31%+ = >3 weeks
 

LIM:
Fall/Spring
10-20% = 1-3 weeks
21-30% = 3-5 weeks
31%+ = >3 weeks

Summer:
10-20% = 1 week
21-30% = 2 weeks
31%+ = >2 weeks
 

School of Nursing:
14-Week Terms:
10-20% =1-3 weeks
21-30% =3-5 weeks
31%+ = >5 weeks

7-Week Terms:
10-20% = 1 week
21-30% = 2 week
31%+ = >2 weeks

Whenever foreseeable, it will be the responsibility of the faculty to give students up to two weeks of content to be accessed offline in case of internet disruption.  These materials must be given to students 24 hours before a foreseeable emergency event:

 

b. Faculty in an area impacted by an emergency event:

All faculty will have 48 hours to contact their supervisors.  Online instructors will contact their students within 48 hours to set their expectations immediately following an emergency event.  If there is a disruption of instruction longer than two days, it is the faculty's responsibility to contact their program director to report the outage.

Program directors will use their discretion to cover courses with absent instructors due to disaster/emergency events as per the Faculty Handbook.

 

Academic Administrative Responsibilities

Responsibilties listed below include direction for both pre-evacuation and post-evacuation responsibilities.

 

Adititional information can be obtained through the following links:

University Emergency Plan: http://www.loyno.edu/emergency

Emergency Announcements: http://www.loyno.edu/emergencyannouncement.php

Student Affairs Emergency Plan: http://studentaffairs.loyno.edu/emergency-preparedness-plan

Risk Management Emergency Evacuation Policies and Procedures: http://finance.loyno.edu/risk/emergency-management