Continuity of Operations Planning

Continuity Overview

Continuity of Operations Planning (COOP) is an institutional effort involving individual departments and/or units to ensure that critical functions continue to be performed during a wide range of emergencies, including localized acts of nature, accidents and technological or attack-related emergencies. The Environmental Health and Safety Office (EHS) is responsible for managing the institution’s continuity planning efforts, and engaging university units and colleges as necessary Continuity strategies for maintaining infrastructure, critical administrative functions, and academic activities are conducted at the institutional and department level. EHS is responsible for identifying operational interdependencies and engaging additional colleges, departments, and units in the COOP process as necessary.

Department Level Planning

EHS maintains a continuity planning software application (Mason Ready Continuity Planner) that is remote hosted and available to all university administrative and academic colleges, departments, and units.  The university’s continuity planning software has two independent formats – one for administrative units and another for academic colleges and departments.  EHS provides guidance and assistance during the initial department level planning process and reviews new plans when submitted. Each year thereafter, EHS conducts a routine review of all COOP plans, and assists users with establishing realistic recovery time objectives based on upstream and downstream operational dependencies.  If you have questions about how to begin continuity planning for your function or the status of existing continuity plans, please contact EHS. All units that are members of the university’s Emergency Operations Group must maintain COOP plans.

Research Continuity Planning

Given that research is complex, highly specialized, and typically managed by one or more Principal Investigators (PI), research continuity planning is conducted at the PI level and is intended to supplement department level plans.  Given the unique nature of each research activity, only the PI and associated researchers and support staff are capable of documenting strategies to preserve their research activities.  EHS has developed a Research Continuity Template to assist PI’s in planning for disasters and making their research programs more resilient so that are able to preserve or quickly recover when a crisis affects the university, If you have questions or need assistance to complete this template, please contact EHS.