Contingency Plan

Purpose:  The purpose of the Contingency Plan is to aid VMI Program Directors' decision-making process in the event of an illness, injury or other significant issue. 

Procedures:  The Contingency Plan cannot possibly address all of the potential issues that could occur during a study abroad program.  The intent is to provide Program Directors with simple guidelines for addressing the issue and reporting back to VMI.  The Program Director's common sense, experience and good judgment will result in the best possible outcome for any situation.  Circumstances in which you should contact the Director of International Programs include injuries, hospitalizations, complaints of discrimination or harassmentstudent misconduct, natural disasters, and arrests.

Preparation:  Prior to departing the US there are several steps that you can take to make your response to a contingency easier:

  • Create a file with copies of all participants' important documents (passport, medical insurance card, OIP forms, and any other documents you might need).
  • Make a contact list with names and phone numbers of important contact abroad and at VMI.  Complete and return to OIP the Emergency Information Worksheet so that we know how to contact you.
  • Review the information on the following State Department web pages:  
  • Review VMI OIP provided Country Crime and Safety reports and incorporate into your risk management planning and briefings.
  • Register yourself and your participants with the Embassy:
  • Use this checklist when reviewing your contingency plan with your students.  Once you arrive in country it is also important to practice your contingency plan.
    1. Share faculty cell phone numbers with students.
    2. Make sure students know what to do, where to go, and whom to contact if the faculty member is incapacitated or unavailable during any part of the trip.
    3. Convey local emergency numbers with students.
    4. Advise students of potential risks and any other safety and security issues (e.g. high crime areas to avoid).
    5. Obtain student cell phone numbers.
    6. Create a communications tree for students.
    7. Implement the "buddy system."
    8. Advise students to never leave their residence without ID and money.
    9. Designate a secondary meeting place.
    10. Know what you will do with the rest of the group in an emergency involving one student.
    11. Know how best to reach the insurance company, on-site medical providers and local authorities.

Responding to Incidents:

Illness or Injury:  At first sign of a significant illness or if an injury occurs, seek immediate medial attention for the participant.  Do not leave a student who has become injured or ill behind or unsupervised, even if this means changing the group's plans.  Complete a VMI Study Abroad Incident Report and contact the Director of International Programs as soon as possible.  A decision will be made about what subsequent steps to take, including notification of the participant's family.

Security Issues:  In the event of any activity or situation that is a security concern, take the immediate actions necessary for the safety of yourself and your participants, complete a VMI Study Abroad Incident Report and contact the Director of International Programs as soon as possible.

Other Issues:  In the event of any activity or other situation that is a concern (i.e. Student Misconduct, Sexual Harassment, Financial, etc.), complete a VMI Study Abroad Incident Report and contact the Office of International Programs as soon as possible.

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