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Kent State Activates its Emergency Operation Center for H1N1

Posted Oct, 22, 2009

In response to widespread cases of H1N1 flu in Ohio and the increased activity on campus and in the community, Kent State University has initiated its campus pandemic plan by activating the Kent State University Emergency Operations Center (EOC). The goal of the EOC is to provide management as the university transitions from the pandemic mitigation and preparedness phases to a response phase of operations.

“We have been expecting H1N1 flu to reach our campus community and have been preparing for it,” said Mary Reeves, director of University Health Services and Student Accessibility Services. “Now that we know it’s here, we need a higher level of planning and implementation, which includes formalizing our planning process to distribute the H1N1 vaccine when we receive it.”

The EOC’s Incident Command Structure has been enacted to facilitate management of the current pandemic emergency on the Kent Campus in order to minimize institutional effects, enhance the effectiveness of recovery and maintain university operation with a minimum of interruption. These actions follow the lead of the Portage County Health Department which enacted its departmental emergency operations center and the state proclamation that a public health emergency exists.

University business will continue as usual. Activating the EOC is a management tool that allows the university to manage its resources and to respond and make decisions quickly.

“The Incident Command Structure is needed to ensure timely collection, analysis and dissemination of information for the university’s response to the H1N1 virus on the Kent Campus,” said Matthew Radigan, Kent State’s police support services manager who will lead operations for the EOC. “It is required at this time to accomplish operational strategies through accountability and unified decision making.”

Members of Kent State’s Incident Command Structure include:

  • Incident Commander – Mary Reeves
  • Deputy Incident Commander – Gretchen Julian, director of Recreational Services  
  • Public Information Officer – Tom Neumann, associate vice president for University Communications and Marketing
  • Safety/Service Officer – Dennis Baden, manager of Occupational Health and Safety
  • Liaison Officer – Chris Woolverton, professor of Public Health and director of the Center for Public Health Preparedness
  • Operations Chief – Matthew Radigan
  • Planning Chief – John Gosky, executive director of administration for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs
  • Logistics Chief – John Flasco, director of Procurement
  • Finance & Administration Chief – Jeannie Reifsnyder, associate vice president for Finance


Students, faculty and staff are reminded to be extra diligent about washing their hands and covering their mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing. The university encourages everyone to take advantage of the hand-washing stations found in university buildings and residence halls and to get a seasonal flu shot.

Those who get sick with flu-like symptoms are asked to stay home and avoid contact with other people except to get medical care. Most people with 2009 H1N1 flu have had mild illness and have not needed medical care or antiviral drugs. The same is true of seasonal flu.

For updates and more information regarding seasonal and H1N1 flu, visit www.kent.edu/flu.

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Media Contacts:
Tom Neumann, tneuman1@kent.edu, 330-672-8533
Emily Vincent, evincen2@kent.edu, 330-672-8595