When the COVID-19 pandemic began spreading rapidly earlier this year, it sent people all over the world scrambling—and the Case Western Reserve University community was no exception. Classes moved online, events were canceled and many university operations moved to remote operations. Now, masks will become a common sight, classrooms will look vastly different and the academic calendar has been altered, all to help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. In the past few months, units all across campus have put in untold hours to keep the community safe and ensure scholarship can continue, despite unique challenges. To recognize those efforts, we will highlight some of the units across campus in a special Campus Spotlight series this semester.
The decision on when—and how—to return to campus safely is being informed by countless individuals from different areas around campus. The Office of Resiliency has been a major contributor to those discussions.
Under the umbrella of the Division of Public Safety, the Office of Resiliency is tasked with emergency management, business continuity and emergency communications—all important functions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The office has been responding to the pandemic since January, when it became apparent that it was only a matter of time before COVID-19 spread closer to home. As a result, the office’s staff has grown, with two new employees hired and others reassigned to join Megan Koeth, director of the Office of Resiliency, in emergency management and business continuity operations.
Koeth has been considering approaches to a pandemic since measles outbreaks began popping up on campuses across the country in 2019, but—despite this planning—she admits it’s something no one in any field could have completely expected.
In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the office has worked closely with University Health and Counseling Services to be a resource for other units across campus that are looking for support on what to do if someone is sick and how to disinfect and clean campus spaces as well as coordinating other services.
Throughout the process, the Office of Resiliency has been key in the decision-making process, evaluating each unit’s space to ensure safety before staff can return, setting protocols and distributing personal protective equipment.
Now, as students, faculty and staff look ahead to the academic year, the Office of Resiliency will continue to support the university community.
Have you been impressed with a unit’s response during the coronavirus pandemic? Nominate it to be potentially featured in our series by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.