Procedures and Protocols in an Emergency

5.1. First Steps in an Emergency

The University Provost will activate the Academic Continuity Plan if the campus closes for at least a week because of an emergency. You should take the following steps.
  • Stay as calm and controlled as possible.Find out what RU systems are still available. Regular updates will be posted on the university web site as well as through the Office of Emergency Preparedness, assuming that the systems are capable of functioning. Obviously, if all systems are functioning, you can use WebCt and Adobe Connect to deliver your course (with supplementation from other methods, if necessary or desired). If not, you must choose one of the alternative methods. Decide on a delivery plan for the course.
  • Call your students. Find out where your students are located and what type of situation they are in. For example, does the Internet work in their area and are they on dial-up or hi-speed? While students provided this information to you prior to the emergency, the emergency may have altered some aspects of the students' situations.
  • Tell your students how you will continue teaching the course. Explain to your students what you expect from them during this emergency. Confirm with your students that they know how to contact you.
  • Post an announcement in WebCt.
  • Record an announcement on your office voice mail.• Send an email to all students at their FDU Webmail and non-FDU email addresses. Use the FDU-provided listserv if possible, to save you time.
  • Start making your course materials available.

5.2. As the Emergency Progresses

  • As the days or weeks progress, you may choose to move to a combination of delivery modes with your students. There might be several students who will not be able to access Webcampus, or you might find that other methods work better during the emergency.• Keep checking up on your students. If you don’t hear from a student, reach out with a phone call or an email.
  • If you weren't able to make contact with any student early in the emergency, keep trying periodically. The student may have been affected by the emergency early on but be available now.
  • Send personal email messages to students periodically. This is a tough time for everyone, and they will appreciate hearing kind words from you.
  • Have an open door policy. Make your students feel comfortable about contacting you for any reason big or small.
  • Be flexible with your students. Some may be affected by the emergency and unable to participate fully in your class. Some may experience delays getting assignments to you. The keys to your success and your students' success will be patience, flexibility, and a focus on the course learning objectives.
  • Be patient with yourself, your students, the technology, and the process.
  • Remember that the situation is not ideal, and you may have to make some compromises in your course delivery. Continuing instruction at all is an accomplishment – and perfection is impossible.
  • Don’t give up!
[This information on this page is based upon the Continuation of Instruction Plan developed by Farleigh Dickenson University.]