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JMU Infectious Disease Response Plan

The University requires an infectious disease plan that is current, clear and easily activated that can be used to protect the JMU community in the event of a public health emergency. The Infectious Disease Task Force is responsible for developing and maintaining this plan - the “JMU Infectious Disease Response Plan”. The Task Force is comprised of individual teams, with representatives from all divisions at the university. The group meets on a regular basis for training and to execute table top exercises and drills. Each team is responsible for the maintenance, review and updating of their specific plan. In the event of an emergency situation, the task force is activated and responds appropriately. The Task Force has an Executive Committee and is co-led by the Associate Vice-President for Wellness, Orientation, and Multicultural Engagement and the Emergency Management Coordinator.

Overall Plan Priorities

The JMU Infectious Disease Response Plan is a support plan to the Central Shenandoah Health District Emergency Operations Plan. The concept of emergency operations falls under four broad categories:

Preparedness: Actions and activities that develop public health response capabilities.
Response: Actions and activities that are focused on saving lives, protecting the public health and stabilizing systems affecting health and medical issues.
Recovery: Activities that assist systems return to normal operational levels that existed before an event.
Mitigation: Actions or activities that reduce or eliminate hazards after an emergency event.

Pre-Event Planning and Interagency Coordination

Pre-event planning is a critical component to timely and functional response during emergency events. Through pre-event planning and collaborations, relationships are established with partner agencies, and understandings of available resources are developed. Below are methods and actions to assist in the interagency coordination with JMU.

  • Conduct planning sessions with the JMU Infectious Disease Response Task Force to identify assets and clarify roles and responsibilities.
  • Host and facilitate joint drills and exercises.
  • Develop mutual aid agreements as needed.
  • Minimize public health impact through coordination with internal and external healthcare communities and their resources. When needed follow recommendations of subject matter expertise.  The Central Shenandoah Health District can function as a conduit for which JMU can send requests to the healthcare community.


Notification and Assessment

There are three general ways in which James Madison University may be alerted to an event requiring a response or activation of the JMU Infectious Disease Response Plan:

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH)/Sentara Rockingham Memorial Hospital (SRMH) notifies/alerts JMU of an event or request a specific course of action to be taken for an actual or potential illness or disease outbreak.

The City of Harrisonburg/Rockingham County notifies or request JMU’s assistance to an event occurring at the local level that has public health implications and/or requires ESF-8 support, or assistance.

James Madison University – May become internally aware of a developing or actual public health incident through day to day business operations. Event recognition may occur through case investigations, illness reports or heightened media interest in concerning a local health issues.


Infectious Disease emergency response issues should be reported to the Virginia Department of Health if they have not already been alerted.

  • During normal business hours: The Harrisonburg-Rockingham Health Department Staff should initially be contacted at (540) 574-5100. The staff will alert Central Shenandoah Health District (CSHD) personnel of potentially developing issues.
  • Outside of normal operating hours: The CSHD has an after-hours emergency contact number (1-866-531-3068) that is directed to the ell or home phone of primary staff.

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