Progress for tomorrow: Preparing for the next disaster
So I think there would be a lot of closures, but your point to what is the standard operating procedure and what are the triggers for closure, and how do we communicate with parents and students about what's sensible is well taken, and probably not as well done as we should have done by now.
HEALY: Do you have a plan for that at Emory?
KELLERMAN: We actually do. Again, we've spent a lot of time in the last three or four months discussing this, and a campus like Emory that has a major medical center, lots of laboratories, lots of professional and graduate students, as well as international students, yeah, a lot of kids will go home. They'll want to go home, their parents are going to call them to go home, and to that degree you can shut the campus down, but you really can't shut the campus down. You have cell culture lines to maintain, a hospital to operate, clinics to run, and lot of students, like Georges said, who are from Europe or Africa or Asia, there's no way they can go home. And so we have to have plans in place to meet the medical needs of those kids, make sure their food service is maintained, make sure that campus security is there. You've got to do very, very substantial contingency planning now.
Now, if you do that for pandemic flu, then it will work for lots of other issues as well. So it's time and energy well spent. Our university has even made the commitment that even if there is a major disruption on the campus they're going to pay their personnel. We're going to take care of our own. We're going to make sure that the community stays together because otherwise the whole place will fall apart.
ATKINSON: I would agree. I mean, I think you have to for any location, public or private, that involves large numbers of people, you have to have plans that are prepared to shelter in place all the way to send someone home, and to have that and to understand what that plan is not to create a plan and put it on the shelf and never look at it but to understand it and understand the dynamics and to make sure that the rank and file officers of that organization understand it, because the "person in charge," quote, may not be there at 3 in the morning most likely won't be or they're on a weekend. And it has to be something that the people who can make a decision are in place to make that decision. They need to know the options. And I think it's always going to come down to the leaders, the defined leaders in that community, making a call when the situation is approaching, if you have pre-warning, or after it happens to make that call.
And the best example I can think of, certainly in the South it may not apply to all parts of our country, but in the South is whether the superintendent makes a decision when it snows whether our kids are going to school or not and whether you're going to put buses on the road and whether it's too dangerous on the road to endanger kids from automobile accidents. I mean, that's what that's about. And that call is made at some time in the morning before the school day, and it's going to have to be the same scenario to decide what's best at the time, but whatever your answer is going to be, to have a plan to implement that, whether to shelter in place or to move those students or faculty or others to another location quite frankly, the whole community. And there is no better example than what we saw in New Orleans, and what happens when you've got a bad situation and lots of people are trying to make decisions. You can see the hesitation.