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Continued Impact of Weather on Medical Center Operations, Classes

February 16, 2021

TO: All UMMC Faculty, Staff and Students

FROM: Dr. Jonathan Wilson, Chief Administrative Officer

SUBJECT: Continued Impact of Weather on Medical Center Operations, Classes

Jackson metropolitan-area roads continue to be affected by ice, and with the forecast of additional freezing rain into Wednesday, Feb. 17, non-essential travel is still not prudent.

Therefore, the Medical Center’s weather-related plan currently in place for the closure of in-person work activities for areas not involved in direct patient care or are not critical for continued clinical care operations has been extended through Wednesday, Feb. 17. This situation will continue to be evaluated on a day-by-day basis and will be shared via memo, so please continue to monitor your UMMC email account.

Supervisors of Medical Center departments and units not directly associated with patient care should arrange for regular operations to continue remotely, wherever possible.

All in-person classes and on-campus student activities are also cancelled for tomorrow, and will also be evaluated on a day-by-day basis. Program administrators will communicate directly to students to share any information related to virtual class or to update the status of any tests scheduled for a day where in-person classes are cancelled.

UMMC employees who have direct patient-care duties or who are in a position that provides critical support for clinical care should expect to report for their regularly scheduled shifts unless told to do otherwise by their respective supervisor. If you are unsure if your position qualifies as necessary for patient care, contact your supervisor.

Employees who are not responsible for direct patient care or who are in a critical clinical-care support role and are eligible to do their work from home under an already established temporary or flexible remote work arrangement should consider Wednesday, Feb. 17 a temporary remote work day and fulfill their regular duties under that arrangement, with supervisor approval. Employees who have not yet submitted and received a Remote Work Arrangement according to the applicable policy should do so immediately according to the procedure set forth under that policy in order to fulfill their work responsibilities from home. (The TEMPORARY FLEXIBLE WORKING ARRANGEMENT PROCEDURE may be found in this document.) Office and unit supervisors should diligently work through these requests as soon as possible to allow their employees to work remotely as allowable by the policy.

Under the Medical Center’s Severe Weather Policy, employees who are not able to fulfill their regular work duties remotely due to weather-related disruptions should either submit for Paid Personal Leave time off or for the time to be taken as uncompensated.

Adult and pediatric ambulatory clinics will be closed again tomorrow for in-person visits and non-essential care. Arrangements are being made to convert appointments to telehealth, where possible. Non-essential procedures will be cancelled for tomorrow. These weather-related disruptions will also be evaluated on a day-to-day basis. Ambulatory employees unsure of how they should proceed with their work schedule should contact their direct supervisor.

Employees unsure of their status as an employee in a critical support role for patient-care should contact their direct supervisor for clarification.

Because some members of our workforce may be personally affected by the emergency and may be unable to report to work, UMMC may need to draw staffing support from all areas of the institution to meet and sustain patient care operations and the support/infrastructure services on which our caregivers depend.

Many UMMC employees have been active during this weather event and I want to extend my thanks for their efforts and their diligence to “do whatever is necessary.” Some employees are even staying overnight in the Hope Lodge or taking advantage of other on-campus housing options. The first floor of the Rowland Medical Library is open, but unstaffed, for badge access for employees who need a place to rest. Much of our most critical health care systems rely on dedicated staff, and UMMC is fortunate to have a full workforce of them.

Hospital operations are being consolidated wherever possible to maximize available staff and make the best use of equipment and facilities. The UMMC Reserves, originally created in response to COVID-19-related staffing challenges, has been reinstated. All available staff and all labor needs will be coordinated through the UMMC Reserves. Kim Barrier, educator with Children’s of Mississippi, is serving as leader of this effort. Areas requiring assistance may email ummcreserves@umc.edu or call 5-8168 with the duty needed, the shift needed, a contact person and a phone number, and areas with staff available to help the UMMC Reserves may email or call with the staff members’ names, titles and availability.

Employees who will be driving to work throughout the rest of today or tomorrow should monitor local news, visit www.mdottraffic.com for road conditions, use extreme caution in traveling to and from the location where they work, and be especially careful on bridges and overpasses.

Those who may be concerned about their ability to drive to or return home from work should consider making accommodations to spend the night in the Jackson area. UMMC will have limited lodging availability on the Jackson campus and in area hotels for employees. Employees who may need to spend the night should consider bringing an overnight bag and food or snacks. Anyone who would like to request overnight accommodations should contact his or her direct supervisor who will coordinate that request with Health System administration.

Students with clinical assignments should report for duty as scheduled if they can safely reach the Medical Center. Otherwise, they should notify their respective supervisor.

Medical Center employees who must drive to campus for work are encouraged to follow similar parking protocols as during Jackson State University football game days. Employees may park in assigned garages or in open lots on campus as space allows.

Areas of the UMMC campus that rely on water from the City of Jackson, including the critical care tower helipad and systems related to fire response, are being affected by drops in water pressure. Contingencies are already in place at areas typically affected by Jackson water pressure disruptions to mitigate the negative impact on operations. The helipad on the Wallace Conerly Hospital for Critical Care is closed and AirCare is using the helipad at the Mississippi Center for Emergency Services. Most water systems on the main campus are not connected to the city system and would not be impacted.

UMMC’s Jackson locations are under a Fire Watch. All Medical Center faculty, staff, students and ancillary personnel should be aware of any potential fire-related issues, be vigilant in all fire safety measures, make sure there is not build-up of combustible refuse in any areas and make sure to review and follow the RACE procedures:

  • Rescue and remove any person that is in immediate danger;
  • Alert other staff members to the problem;
  • Confine the fire to the room of origin by closing the door after making sure all persons are safely out of the room and close all other doors in the area to prevent the spread of fire and smoke; and
  • Extinguish the fire, if possible, using a fire extinguisher. Do not put yourself in unnecessary danger to extinguish a fire. 

Report all fire emergencies by calling 4-6666 or 911 from a UMMC telephone.

Thank you.