Excerpted from the KANSAS SJI Project Conducted by NCSC- Court Consulting Services Division II.
A. The Supreme Court recognizes emergency preparedness planning and response to a pandemic or related event must be considered separately due to the unique nature of a pandemic.
B. The Judicial Branch ECO and other assigned staff will initiate the development of a strategy to be prepared to respond and recover from the unique emergency situation brought about by an influenza pandemic or related event.
C. The strategy for pandemic influenza will be designed to build upon the national, state and local efforts on pandemic influenza currently underway.
D. The strategy will build upon and perhaps modify elements of the COOP to deal with this unique emergency situation.
1. While 30 days is generally the accepted length of time for operations to be scaled back to mission essential functions, in a pandemic 90 days may be a more realistic timeframe. Plans should allow flexibility to adjust timeframes as more information regarding a possible pandemic becomes available.
2. Planning tasks should be established to modify the COOP to allow for 90 days of COOP activation and the performance of mission essential functions with no, or limited, face-to-face contact. These tasks may include:
a. Engaging state and local health officials in advance.
b. Preparing for the legal considerations brought about in a pandemic, especially those associated with issues of quarantine and/or isolation.
c. Ensuring court information technology resources are available to perform all appropriate mission essential functions with no, or limited, face-to-face contact.
d. Providing education to all judges and non-judicial employees regarding the threat posed by an influenza pandemic.
e. Ensuring all means of emergency communication are designed to function under conditions where there is no, or limited, face-to-face contact.
f. Strengthening the CSEOTs to ensure each member is prepared to perform their assigned mission essential function under conditions where no, or limited, face-to-face contact is available.
g. Considering the development of a work group made up of jury managers to develop recommendations for restoring jury trials under conditions where no, or limited, face-to-face contact is available.
PART TWO ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON PANDEMIC FLU
Planning for a Pandemic
A COOP plan typically assumes that a court facility is unavailable at least 30 or more days and essential functions must be performed by an emergency response team comprised of a small cadre of subject matter experts from each court office at an alternate site or sites.
During a pandemic, the courthouse or other court facilities may be intact, open, and available but internal resources, e.g., personnel, and external resources (law enforcement, counsel, jurors, and vendors) are unavailable. Essential functions could be performed in the court facility, through work-at-home telecommuting arrangements (aka alternate sites), through remote access such as video conferencing, or through a combination of locations and technologies.
The overall COOP plan governance and response structures apply to any disaster, but courts should consider the following assumptions when crafting COOP plan enhancements for a pandemic flu: Approximately 40 percent absentee rate at any given time due to:
Revised: April 29, 2009