Schools Should Review Pandemic Crisis Plans for Coronavirus

Based in Boston, Dr. Ari Betof is an established consultant who helps define strategic pathways for diverse private sector and nonprofit organizations. Reflecting the recent worldwide spread of a novel virus, Dr. Ari Betof authored the Medium article, “Coronavirus: 5 Steps Colleges & Independent Schools Should Take Now.”

First, Dr. Betof advises leaders not to panic, instead highlighting the need for an “agile, Goldilocks approach” that positions the planning continuum at just the right level between being proactive and taking a wait-and-see approach to see how the situation evolves.

In this regard, those institutions that developed Pandemic Crisis Plans (PCP) at the time of the 2009 H1N1 flu and integrated the PCPs within the broader crisis response have a built-in advantage. Those boarding schools and colleges with many international students residing on campus or placed in homestays have often been particularly detailed and thorough in their planning approach.

However, institutions that created plans that simply gathered dust after the H1N1 pandemic passed have more work to do in re-establishing an optimal crisis-response protocol. Dr. Betof counsels that it is not necessary to “reinvent the wheel.” Rather, as a concrete starting point, examples can be gathered and trusted peers consulted with experience in dealing with such situations.

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