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Pandemic Crisis Response Plan

I consult for a UK based bank which just two weeks ago closed it's London office. The London office is in a shared building, and one case of a person who has been in close contact with a COVID-19 infected person has effectively shut down the building for cleaning. The Hong Kong, New York, and New Jersey offices are the only buildings left available for operations.

Since the client is a systemically important financial market utility, by design, none of their critical systems are remotely accessible. These critical systems are protected behind layers of firewalls and are only available via specific terminals at specific locations in New Jersey and New York City.

Let me be clear. These systems are systemically important to the global financial markets, and employees supporting those systems must be physically present.

As of last night, the company initiated it's pandemic and business continuity response plan.

The company will be enforcing CDC recommended social distancing restrictions of 6 feet between workspaces. The New York and New Jersey offices will have extremely diminished seating capacity.

Starting next Monday, 16 March, all staff working from the New Jersey and New York City offices will alternate being in the office. Group A will work in the office one week, then work from home for a week while Group B works onsite. Staff will sit in designated seats that are 6 feet apart.

Once the UK office has been sanitized, employees who work in a critical capacity will be the only ones allowed back into the building.

This operational mode is expected to be a temporary situation and is an attempt to balance the risk to staff against the company's responsibility to the global financial markets and US federal contingency requirements.

Schools and universities closings throw students into panic

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My eldest child is a junior at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. On 10 March, Rutgers University announced it was suspending all classes and students must leave campus and prepare to work online for the remainder of the semester. Beginning Thursday, 12 March at 7 PM Rutgers University will shut off student access keycards for residence halls. Students were given two days notice. I am working in New York City that day, so my wife is doing the heavy lifting. Because the dorms will be locked, my child will be returning with all belongings.

Beginning Thursday, March 12, through the end of spring break on Sunday, March 22, all classes are cancelled. Beginning Monday, March 23, through at least Friday, April 3, all course instruction will be delivered remotely. All face-to-face instruction is suspended. This includes any class meetings. Individual instructors are expected to be in contact with their students regarding their plans for remote instruction prior to March 23.

But wait, there’s more, the Rutgers University Biomedical and Health Sciences department is like “whatever”.

Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences -- the division at Rutgers that includes the medical, dental, pharmacy and other health-related schools -- is not cancelling classes.

Scaremongering and panicked decision making for sure.

Oberlin College (Ohio), where my second child is a freshman, has given students until 18 March, two days earlier than originally scheduled, to get the f**K out and also prepare to take classes online. Oberlin College is an 8-hour drive from where we live in New Jersey, and again, we will be returning with all belongings. What this means for us, instead of picking up our child for spring break on a weekend, we both lose two days of work time. I am an hourly consultant and Bjavana is an hourly office manager. Our child is also very stressed out about if she'll be able to complete all her coursework online should the school stay closed until the end of the semester. Do we get our money back for the food and housing we paid for?

We have a privileged life. My children will be able to return home and we have fast and reliable broadband. But what about all the students who do not?

International students and students from far-away States must be shitting their pants.

Students in poor school districts are even more f**ked.

This is a panic caused by panic.