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Meeting Summary

Communicable Disease Preparedness Committee
Previous Meeting

March 11, 2008

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Members Present: Anne Hubbell, Katrina Doolittle, Jose Gamon, Teresa Burgin, Lori McKee, John Balog, Manuela Quezada-Aragon, Angela Arvizo, Nancy Baptiste, Rene. Yoder, Mary Jaspers, Larry Olsen

Members Absent:  Michael Abernethy, Lorin Gobble, Teresa Brobeck, UComm Rep, Leigh DeRoos, Mike O’Larey , Stephanie Roybal, Carmen Gonzales, David Pearce, Joe Palmer, Esperanza Villanueva Joyce, Stephen Lopez , Benjamin Diven, Ruben Torrez, Julie Weber, Hugo Vilchis , Jeff. Witte

New Members: Tammy Anthony will represent Auxiliary Operations, replacing A. Throneberry. And Susan Grotevant will represent OF&S, replacing Jose Gamon.

The meeting began at 3:07 PM.

1.      K. Doolittle noted Tammy Anthony is a new member replacing Angela Throneberry, and that Susan Grotevant is replacing Jose Gamon. 1

2.      Old Business: K. Doolittle commented that the Business and Finance Office and OVPRGSIP are completing their respective COOP.  The recent changes to the CDPC membership highlight the need to update COOP plans at least annually.  L. Olsen said he had no feedback from HS Dept Heads on the training presentation.  K. Doolittle said she would make it shorter and add information on approvedHR policy per comments received from A. Hubbell.

3.       New Business: K. Doolittle stated the H. Vilchis will present his Community Preparedness training at the April meeting.  She them moved to the lone agenda item; the review and discussion of three HR policy drafts generated by R. Yoder entitled “Disaster Preparedness and State of Emergency”, “Social Distancing”, and “Telecommuting”.  R. Yoder presented a brief overview of each policy noting that the materials were retrieved from on-line sources.  She requested reviewers to reformat as they see fit and to “track changes” they make and send electronic versions of marked up documents as email attachments to ryoder@nmsu.edu.  She asked that you add your name to end of the file name i.e., Telecommuting Policy – Draft kdoolittle.doc.  She suggested it would be a good idea to post relevant HR policy documents on-line and require periodic review.  The draft policies were well-received and the committee unanimously thanked R. Yoder for her efforts.  The following are selected comments on policy development and implementation.

a.       R. Yoder noted that hand washing is an obvious priority for Student and University Health Center personnel and asked how can a requirement be implemented elsewhere on campus?

b.       J. Balog commented that implementing policy is necessarily a unit-level obligation.

4.       On the Telecommuting and Social Distancing Policy draft’s;

a.       N. Baptiste stated that telecommuting is not an option for her operation and that the Children’s Village would close during a pandemic outbreak.

b.      T. Bergin stated telecommuting is a viable option for her group to remain functioning during a pandemic and instructs personnel not to report to work when they are ill but is not certain other functions can be sustained by telecommuting.

c.       Hubbell stated that completing the necessary paperwork authorizing telecommuting may exceed the event duration and suggested a streamlined process for emergency conditions would be needed.  She noted that existing procedures are too management-intense to be implemented in a short-term emergency event. 

d.      R. Yoder commented that a two-week absence by any one or even a few personnel in a given unit should be a manageable situation.  And she suggested that perhaps two telecommuting policies would address the need for authorizing short-term and long-term telecommuting. She then noted that in order to be effective, policy should consider the long-term and not a two or three week interval.

e.       K. Doolittle noted that operations would be reduced to some minimal level, the university would not attempt to support normal operations.  She noted that the Social Distancing draft reads more like a guideline than a policy, and for “social distancing”; a guideline seems to be preferable to a policy.

f.        K.Doolittle distributed an example of travel policy for consideration since the Social Distancing draft did not address travel or research in countries that were under travel warnings.

5.      On Disaster Preparedness and State of Emergency Policy draft;

a.       R. Yoder admitted difficulty in drafting an all-inclusive policy.  She noted that positions rather that persons are designated “essential”.  And she suggested that primary contacts among the administrative and operating units would be the designated “essential “ position and they would need to communicate to other staff in the emergency in order to establish their respective assignments.  She said that the nature of the event would dictate the response i.e., an earthquake, flood or disease outbreak would each be handled in a different manner.

b.      T. Bergin suggested that policy attempt to anticipate pre and post event eventualities.  She asked what the policy might say to persons scheduled to travel at the beginning of an outbreak or who have arrived at their travel destination at the beginning of a disease outbreak.

c.       R. Yoder reminded everyone that COOP and training will be needed to flesh out each areas response.  She noted that under the revised policy manual a COOP is required for each administrative and support unit.

d.      A. Hubbell asked if faculty would be paid during an emergency, also what about graduate assistants.  The consensus was that faculty contract language would prevail, and that funding structure for paying graduate assistants is stipulated by the entitiy funding the assistantship.  R. Yoder noted that disputed issues in faculty contracts would be resolved by the Provost and that changes to the working conditions negotiated with the AFSCME would be bargained according to terms defined in the collective bargaining agreement.

e.       K. Doolittle was concerned that exempt employees would not have a mechanism to be compensated for extended overtime hours under the current or  proposed policy.  L. McKee said that NMSU may be able to apply for disaster relief funds from FEMA to recover payroll expenses incurred during an emergency.

f.        R. Yoder noted that the BANNER system does track attendance on a day to day basis, only data from established time and attendance reporting schedules are available, i.e., bi-monthly and monthly, as submitted by personnel and approved by their supervisor.  She said an alternative time and attendance method may be needed.

g.       T. Bergin suggested the internet based “Clock-Me” program may be a possibility.

6.      L. McKee said the Student Health Center used the RapidfluÒ diagnostic kit.  She noted that Dona Ana County Health Department requires a confirmed diagnosis for disease reporting purposes.  She also noted that many reports are based on a presumptive diagnosis.  As participants in the NM public health network, NMSU has access to disease reporting data.  She provided the following numbers for the first quarter of 2008.



University Health Center

Student Health Center



Mar ‘08



Mar ‘08








Upper Resp Infect’n






The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday April 8, 2008 at 3:0PM in the EH&S training facility.

The meeting adjourned at 4:16 PM

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