7,014: UNR Continuity Policy Statement

Revised: March 2020

Ensuring Business, Academic, and Research Continuity

1. Policy

Continuity planning is defined as ensuring the continuity or uninterrupted provision of operations and services for administrative, academic, and research departments of the University. Continuity planning is an ongoing process with several different but complementary elements, including disaster recovery, business recovery, business resumption, contingency planning, and crisis management.

The University of Nevada, Reno safeguards its critical business operations and protects the university’s essential functions of teaching, research, and public service during and after emergencies in compliance with all local, state, and federal laws and regulations including, but not limited to, industry standardized best practices, Federal Continuity Directive 1 (FCD 1), National Security Presidential Directive (NSPD) 51/Homeland Security, Presidential Directive (HSPD) 20, May 2007. National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1600, “Standard on Disaster/Emergency Management and Business Continuity Programs”; NRS 239C.260, Plan for continuation of state and local governmental operations in event of catastrophic emergency, Nevada Division of Emergency Management Continuity of Operations Plan.

Continuity Planning, led by Organizational Resiliency, protects the critical business processes needed to keep the University operating during and after an emergency or disaster by using a standardized planning tool, NevadaContinuity.com, to develop the response and recovery process.

2. Scope

 This policy applies to all University of Nevada, Reno locations including all campuses, jointly owned facilities, all other university-owned property, university-leased space, and temporary field operations and field trips that are under the control of university operations and staff.

The UNR Redfield campus has special considerations related to co-location with Truckee Meadows Community College. Consulting with TMCC on their operating procedures and programs for implementation details should be taken into consideration.

With regard to clinical and medical facilities or operations, this policy applies only to those clinical operations that are closely tied to academic and clinical missions of the University, even if managed through separate corporations (i.e. Integrated Clinical Services, Inc., the School of Medicine faculty practice plan). It also applies to the Student Health Center, although its accreditation processes and continuity planning requirements may exceed those of this document, and are acceptable substitutes. All plans generated for the requirements of this policy must be coordinated with those of the rest of the University. All Organizational Resiliency support and resources remain available to UNR School of Medicine and its clinical operations for assistance with the planning process.

3. UNR Compliance Responsibility

It is university policy that each vice president, vice provost, chancellor, dean, director, department chair, and supervisor is responsible for the organizational continuity in their respective units. They are entitled to receive guidance and direction from the Organizational Resiliency Manager as part of a cooperative effort for planning. All planning will greatly rely on the input from the staff and faculty of each department to ensure a proper level of consideration is given to all aspects of that unit’s critical functional operations. The actual plan will be written by a member of the department as designated by the unit leader. NevadaContinuity.com responsibilities apply to all units as follows:

A. Campus, Organizational Unit, and Department

All university administrative and academic units are required to have in place a plan that includes procedures for operational continuity to ensure the University is able to provide critical services. These plans include, but are not limited to:

  1. A prioritized recovery check list of critical resources and infrastructure needed to support the unit’s primary mission and function. This planning will be done in cooperation with Organizational Resiliency Manager and identified subject matter experts from within the unit or from other university units that have an interdependent relationship.
  2. An alternative staffing plan to allow for operations when greater than 25% of the unit’s staffing is unable to work for more than 72 hours. It is vital that such planning be in compliance with existing state laws, regulations, and university policies. Human Resources will be invited to partner with the unit to ensure all due consideration regarding employment practice is maintained. 
  3. An alternative location designated in the event the primary workspace is not available. This planning will occur in cooperation with the Office of Planning, Budgeting, UNR Real Estate Office, Organizational Resiliency Manager, and other appropriate units as agreed upon. Documenting vital resources required to maintain the unit’s essential functions is to be included.
  4. A plan to promote personal preparedness for staff and faculty.

Administrative/Business units include both centralized as well as distributed organizations, departments, and divisions that support the academic functions of the University.

Academic units include all colleges, schools, departments, programs, and centers that serve the primary mission of the University through its teaching/instruction and public service activities.

Research units include both centralized as well as distributed laboratories and research facilities that are affiliated with the University, including those located outside the United States.

B. Organizational Resiliency Manager

The Organizational Resiliency Manager provides expertise and oversight for the development and maintenance of the University NevadaContinuity.com program and creates a backdrop centralized location for documentation of all campus-wide department business continuity plans, training, and exercises. The primary location of such documentation should be in the respective units. Continuity planning training for best practices is also available to university units at least annually.

Business, academic, research continuity planning plays a vital role in the all-hazards disaster preparedness approach for the University. It is through NevadaContinuity.com planning that university entities will develop the necessary understanding of their core processes and interdependencies required for effective prevention of and response to operational disruptions.

4. UNR Compliance Procedures

A. Planning

All units will identify and protect their critical processes, operations documents, and functions that are necessary to the university’s daily operations through a business continuity plan.

Each unit will provide a reasonable amount of time and resources towards developing their unit business continuity plan, with oversight and direction given from the Operational Resiliency Manager.

Plans will be exercised by each unit, in cooperation with the Organizational Resiliency Manager once every triennium.

The current planning tool, NevadaContinuity.com, combined with the four minimum requirements listed in Section 3 of this policy, will be the minimum standard for compliance. At the discretion of each department, other planning tools may be utilized in addition.

B. Plan Activation and Communications

A business, academic, or research emergency may be declared by the unit director, department head, dean, vice president/provost, most senior administrative official, or a designated appointee in the absence of the other individuals.

This section does not grant the authority to declare university-wide emergency or disaster. Such a university-wide declaration can only be made by the University President or designee. Upon declaration of a business, academic, research disruption, or emergency and activation of the business continuity management plan, the unit director, department head, dean, vice president/provost, most senior administrative official, or designated appointee will immediately notify the Organizational Resiliency Manager. Once an emergency has been declared by a unit, the University Issues Management Team will be notified of the situation.

Communications being the most critical function of emergency response and recovery, all unit directors or senior management officials will oversee the development of communications plans that address the necessary information needs of the following groups:

  • Employees and their families;
  • Appropriate administrative management for their unit;
  • Organizational Resiliency Manager and the University’s Emergency Operations (EOC), when activated.

These communication plans will designate primary, secondary, and tertiary forms of communication. These plans will also designate a line of succession and delegation of authority if the unit director or the most senior administrative officer is unavailable.

C. Continuity Planning and Management – Normal Operations

During normal operations, unit directors, or the most senior administrative officials, or their designees, will take steps to ensure timely business resumption, in the event of disruption, through the use of:

  • Vital data protection and backup, through UNR Information Technology, and/or an independently managed data process and plan, including any automated business continuity systems.
  • The protection of vital paper records.
  • Alternative operating plans, including a flexible staffing plan.
  • Employee training and education with an emphasis on emergency preparedness and a business continuity mindset.
  • Identifying roles and responsibilities essential for continuity of operations and communication methods for employees to receive work-related information during or after a disaster.
  • Plans to recover from emergency operations and transition to normal daily operations.

D. Continuity Planning and Management – Large Scale

During an emergency affecting the entire campus or region, normal operating and business services may be interrupted. While the University Emergency Operations Center (EOC) will be coordinating and supporting the large-scale response, each organizational unit will be required to evaluate their operational status and determine if they need to activate their business continuity plan. Activation of the plan will be reported to the University EOC.

Additionally, early notification to the Organizational Resiliency Manager can be helpful in getting the assistance needed in a more timely manner.