University Police

Emergency Procedures

Pandemic Influenza


An Influenza pandemic is an outbreak of a novel Influenza virus that has worldwide consequences. Influenza pandemics present special requirements for disease surveillance, public communications, rapid delivery of available vaccines and antiviral drugs, allocation of limited medical resources, and expansion of health care services to meet a surge in demand for care. This policy addresses strategies for screening and preventing the transmission of pandemic influenza, should personnel become ill with influenza. It is intended to be consistent with the guidance issued by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and will be updated as CDC guidance changes. Personnel are expected to comply with current and future guidelines. The rationale for the use of additional precautions for pandemic influenza includes the following:

  • The risk of serious disease and increased mortality from highly pathogenic avian influenza may be significantly higher than from infection by human influenza viruses.
  • Each human infection represents an important opportunity for avian influenza to further adapt to humans and gain the ability to transmit more easily among people.
  • Although rare, human-to-human transmission of avian influenza may be associated with the possible emergence of a pandemic strain.

»» CDC Website
»» U.S. Dept Health & Human Services Website


Definitions Applicable to Policy


“Travel Advisory” means notification by CDC that a disease is occurring in a particular area and a recommendation against non-essential travel to the area. The risk for the traveler is considered to be much higher because of community transmission or inadequate containment. “Travel Alert” means notification by CDC that an outbreak of a disease is occurring in a particular area. The risk for the individual traveler is felt to be definable and limited because transmission has occurred in defined settings or is associated with specific risk factors. There is no recommendation against non-essential travel to the area. The alert provides advice on precautions to safeguard travelers’ health. “Pandemic influenza affected areas” means areas identified by either the CDC or WHO as having a high risk of transmission of pandemic influenza “Quarantine” means restriction of freedom of movement of apparently well individuals who have been exposed to infectious disease. “Isolation” means separation of infected individuals (those who are sick) from those uninfected for the period of communicability of a particular disease. “Probable or Suspect Pandemic Influenza Case” means a case that meets the clinical and epidemiologic criteria; laboratory criteria confirmed, negative, or undetermined.


Personnel with Suspected or Probable Pandemic Influenza Cases will be restricted from work or classes.


Suspected or probable Pandemic Influenza cases involving MSU Billings students, faculty, or staff may be restricted from work or classes on campus as soon as identified and will be asked to follow guidelines supplied by the MSU Billings Health Services, Yellowstone County Health Department and the CDC.


Personnel with Suspected or Probable Pandemic Influenza Cases should be medically cleared upon resolution of symptoms.


Suspected or probable Pandemic Influenza cases involving MSU Billings students, faculty, or staff must be medically cleared upon resolution of symptoms to return to work or classes by MSU Billings Student Health Center in cooperation with and according to guidelines from the Yellowstone County Health Department.


Personnel arriving from a Travel Advisory area should contact Medical Director.


Any MSU Billings student, faculty member, staff member, prospective MSU Billings student or visitor arriving from a Travel Advisory area is encouraged to contact the Student Health Services office for medical clearance before arrival on campus to reside in University Residences, attend classes, work or other activities. Appropriate screening for symptoms must take place prior to arrival on campus for any purpose.


Medical Director has authority to ensure the health and safety of the campus community related to pandemic influenza


The Medical Director has authority to take appropriate action per Yellowstone County Health Department and Centers for Disease Control guidelines for screening, diagnosis, and monitoring of MSU Billings students, faculty, staff or visitors to ensure the health and safety of the campus community.


Preparing the University


Convene workgroup. Workgroup should include members of the University’s Emergency Crisis Communications Committee and may include:

  • Medical Director
  • Local or state health department consultants
  • Hospital consultants
  • Local emergency room consultants
  • International Studies Office (incoming international students from pandemic influenza regions)
  • Study abroad programs (students going to pandemic influenza regions
  • Environmental Health and Safety
  • Housing, housekeeping, facilities management
  • Information Technology
  • University police
  • Counseling and Psychological Services
  • Dining Services
  • Academic Vice Chancellor
  • Chancellor’s office
  • Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs
  • Dean of students
  • Office of University Relations
  • Legal counsel
  • Human Resources

Educate workgroups about the University’s Emergency Management Plan.


Workgroups should consider preparation of isolation units in on-campus housing for students requiring isolation who cannot be isolated off-campus or at home.

  • Isolation units should be identified in consultation with local and/or state health department.
    • Contaminated air in unit cannot re-circulate to other units
    • Private bathroom
  • The student should be transported to the isolation unit with a surgical mask in place to contain respiratory secretions.
  • Identify who will be responsible for monitoring isolation compliance.
    • University Police should work with the local/state health department to enforce isolation compliance.
    • Treating clinician and local/state health department should coordinate responsibility for monitoring of the isolated student's signs and symptoms.
    • Treating clinician and local/state health department and/or CDC should work together to determine when the 10-day isolation period is no longer indicated.
  • Prepare academic advisors, faculty and financial aid staff for dealing with student’s academic and financial concerns resulting from prolonged class absence (i.e., may need to take leave of absence or hardship withdrawal).
  • Workgroups should develop a support program for students who are quarantined or isolated.
    • Establish a system to provide mental health support for students and parents (i.e., mental health counselor to telephone students on a regular basis to see how they are coping).
    • Develop a system to help provide students with supplies as needed (i.e., food, toiletries, etc.).
    • Implement a note taking program for students while they are in quarantine or isolation.
    • Provide tutoring to those students after quarantine or isolation
    • On line course offerings
  • Workgroups should prepare a pandemic event communications plan.
    • Electronic communications:
      • Develop mass email capability to all students, staff, and faculty (assure 24/7 access to IT individual who has access to these lists).
      • Develop website announcement capability including timed updates and FAQs.
      • Develop designated email address for questions from university community (as well as parents).
    • Phone communications:
      • Plan hotline with appropriate staffing.
      • Plan answering machine messages to include timed updates.
    • Written communications. Identify individual to write and plan the printing of:
      • Patient education handouts
      • Flyers and posters
      • Student newspaper announcement
    • Spokesperson communications. Identify individual(s) to do presentations and answer questions in the following settings:
      • Residence halls
      • Classrooms
      • “Town meeting”
      • Employee work site
    • Plan media relations communication based on existing communication plans for emergency situations.
      • Identify university spokesperson
      • Funnel all media requests through designated spokesperson

Prevention/Precautions: Information regarding the potential spread of pandemic influenza on a college campus


Information disseminated on campus will be consistent with materials provided by the CDC and the local Unified Health Command. {information for brochure/handout/website in italics}


The primary way that pandemic influenza virus appears to be spread is by large-droplet transmission, which usually requires close person-to-person contact. However, the unusually rapid transmission of this disease in previous pandemic situations suggests that airborne transmission through droplet nuclei of < 10 microns in diameter can occur. The virus may also be transmitted through direct contact with infectious droplets. Infection control precautions for this disease therefore involve the use of standard, airborne and contact precautions. Hand hygiene, in particular, is extremely important in preventing the spread of influenza. For more information about hand hygiene, go to the CDC web site.


Human influenza is thought to transmit primarily via large respiratory droplets. Standard Precautions plus Droplet Precautions are recommended for the care of patients infected with human influenza. However, given the uncertainty about the exact modes by which avian influenza may first transmit between humans additional precautions for health-care workers involved in the care of patients with documented or suspected avian influenza may be prudent.