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Managing and responding to pandemics in higher educational institutions: initial learning from COVID-19

Takako Izumi (International Research Institute of Disaster Science (IRIDeS), Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan)
Vibhas Sukhwani (Graduate School of Media and Governance, Keio University, Yokohama, Japan)
Akhilesh Surjan (Humanitarian Response and Disaster Management Studies, Charles Darwin University, Darwin, Australia)
Rajib Shaw (Graduate School of Media and Governance, Keio University, Yokohama, Japan)

International Journal of Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment

ISSN: 1759-5908

Article publication date: 15 July 2020

Issue publication date: 4 January 2021

5669

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to understand the key challenges, approaches and lessons of the higher educational institutions (HEIs) in the context of COVID-19.

Design/methodology/approach

A survey was conducted to understand the key challenges being faced by the HEIs around the world during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. A total of 150 responses were collected from 65 universities, located in 29 countries.

Findings

The results show that 47% of respondents with defined universities believe their institutions lacked a permanent or dedicated emergency management office, and 41% said their HEIs lacked a general business continuity plan for an emergency. In universities with BCPs, 33% of the plans do not cover biological hazards and pandemic risk management, and 60% of the plans did not include conducting any advanced simulation exercises. More than 70% the responded said their instruction, information sharing and decision-making process were timely and open. The major challenges identified were a lack of adequate preparedness for pandemic and of pandemic-specific advanced simulation exercises. The next major challenges were the change in the mode of teaching to online lectures and working from home. Based on these challenges, a set of short- and long-term recommendations were proposed.

Originality/value

This was the first survey in academic institutions in post COVID-19 context. The findings will be useful for preparing for biological and other related hazards.

Keywords

Citation

Izumi, T., Sukhwani, V., Surjan, A. and Shaw, R. (2021), "Managing and responding to pandemics in higher educational institutions: initial learning from COVID-19", International Journal of Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment, Vol. 12 No. 1, pp. 51-66. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJDRBE-06-2020-0054

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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