Continuity of Operations (COOP) Planning for Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs)

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http://rems.ed.gov

There are many issues to consider when faced with the possibility of short-term or long-term school closures or disruptions in providing business and educational services. A Continuity of Operations (COOP) Plan is essentially a program that ensures continued performance of essential functions across a full range of potential emergencies. COOP is not the same as an Emergency Operations Plan but rather supplements it, in the event the normal facility or human resources are not available.

This one-and-a-half (1.5) hour webinar focused on COOP as it pertains to colleges, universities, and other institutions of higher education (IHEs). Participants learned about the ten elements of planning for continuity of operations, including determining essential functions, ensuring continuity of communications, and the importance of testing, training, and conducting exercises to ensure a broad spectrum of capabilities following an emergency.

This webinar also discussed COOP activities as they occur within each of the four phases (prevention-mitigation, preparedness, response, recovery) of emergency management and highlighted key considerations for IHEs for planning to continue business and educational activities during a school closure.

The webinar was presented by our colleague, Andre LeDuc, Executive Director, Enterprise Risk Services, University of Oregon (UO).

Participants also learned about the planning, development and implementation of COOP to be prepared at any time to maintain business and educational continuity for up to 30 days. Specifically, this webinar was intended to help participants:
■ Define a Continuity of Operations (COOP) Plan
■ Connect a COOP plan to the four phases of emergency management
■ Provide an overview of Continuity Planning Team Development
■ Describe the ten elements of a viable COOP plan
■ Present challenges in implementing COOP specific to IHEs.

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