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Guidebook

Operation Outbreak (OO): Immerse yourself in a fictional epidemic, where a Bluetooth-transmitted pathogen spreads across smartphones.  Take on real-world roles — government official, biomedical researcher, banker, healthcare worker, and more — as you battle the outbreak, gaining hands-on knowledge of society's response in a unique learning experience

**For Level 2 Advanced Simulation Only

01

Simulation basics

Overview

In this immersive simulation, the primary aim is to maintain society's health and functionality.  Participants must balance their assigned roles with everyday actions such as eating and taking medicine to keep their in-app avatars healthy.  Additionally, they have dynamic opportunities to combat the disease through QR-code-based interventions like diagnostic tests, vaccines, and masks.

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OO aims to replicate a dynamic society, emphasizing interactions among diverse social groups, with a focus on key aspects of outbreak response.  Participants fall into two categories: General Population, organized into Family Units (1-4 participants per Family Unit), and Workers, who are assigned to one of seven Work Units as follows:

  • Government Officials
  • Healthcare Workers
  • Bankers
  • Reporters
  • Public Health Officials
  • Store Clerks
  • Biomedical Researchers

Participants are encouraged to exercise autonomy in managing the outbreak, guided by specific rules and roles.  Stick to these guidelines for an immersive, educational, and creative experience.  Facilitator staffing of the various Work Unit stations is highly recommended.  Please thoroughly read this guidebook and associated materials beforehand.

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02

THE OO APP

About the App

The OO mobile app powers the simulation experience and is available on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.  The app complements a carefully-designed series of activities that will take place in the simulation and integrates well with the tools we’ve crafted for the facilitators.  Please take a moment to familiarize yourself, your fellow facilitators, and your participants with the following features and functions.

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App Details
  • The shape, color, and expression of the in-app avatar and surrounding visuals will change depending on its health and protection status (e.g. “masked”, “vaccinated”). Participants should closely monitor their avatar’s health, so they know when to visit the Healthcare Worker station or quarantine themselves when told to by the Public Health station to limit the spread of disease.
  • Via the “Scan” function on the app, participants can scan QR codes to vaccinate, mask, and/or run a diagnostic test on their in-app avatars. Testing is a key way to discover the spread of disease, even when their avatar shows no symptoms. The QR codes will be provided to the facilitators to print out via the Outbreak Creator (see sub-section d below).
  • Every user is assigned a unique username (e.g. Alpha Boston), which is viewable within the app. When visiting a Public Health Official station, participants will only share their usernames, not real names.
  • Using anonymous detection technology, the app gives participants an approximate real-time picture of the number of other phones the participant’s phone is in contact with. Note that because the feature scans infrequently, it may be slightly delayed when displaying the participant’s surrounding contact network. For now, this is an experimental feature that doesn’t play a key role in the simulation but that we wish to build further on in the future.
  • Outbreak creator (OC)

    Your exclusive playground as the Lead Facilitator, where you shape the simulation's parameters and starting conditions. It's where the magic begins, crafting a simulation-specific Join Code that participants will wield to fire up their mobile apps.

  • Outbreak Lookout (OL)

    Some Work Unit participants’ go-to web app (access via laptop is recommended) during the simulation. Think of it as a treasure trove of additional features, where Work Unit participants intake, process, and analyze real-time data from the simulation.

  • Outbreak Visualizer (OV)

    Once the dust settles post-simulation, head over to this portal. It's your window into the world of data visualization, where you can dissect and understand the outcomes of the simulation.

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03

Pre-Sim Checklist

04

Guidelines For family units & General Population

Every General Population participant will be randomly assigned into a Family Unit
  • 1 - 4 Participants per family unit
  • Each family is assigned an economic level, which represents the starting wealth of each family
  • Economic levels are: Level 1 • Level 2 • Level 3
All other participants (i.e., not General Population) will be assigned to Work Units. 
  • The Lead Facilitator will use a Facilitator-only tool called Outbreak Creator to receive these assignments.
Family Units are expected to travel together to different locations, such as the store or the bank, during the simulation.
    • Level 1
    • 7 tokens
    • 9 tokens
    • Level 2
    • 5 tokens
    • 7 tokens
    • Level 3
    • 3 tokens
    • 5 tokens

• starting tokens •

  • Tokens will function as a form of money during the simulation which can be used to purchase the items needed to keep the avatars healthy.
  • The number of tokens each family unit will start with will depend on the assigned economic level and the duration of the simulation (90 or 120 minutes) as outlined in the table here.

How to survive

  • Food
  • Masks
  • Medicine
  • diagnostic tests
  • Vaccinations
Scan QR codes and use tokens to buy interventions
Increasing chances of survival

Follow these actions to make sure your avatar survives the outbreak.

Feed Your Avatar
  • When your avatar is hungry, as indicated in the app, use tokens to buy food at the Store.  The OO mobile app will automatically notify you to eat every 30 minutes.  If you don’t feed your avatar, it will become more susceptible to the pathogen, meaning they will be infected more easily.
Get Masked and/or Tested
  • Visit the Store to use your tokens to buy masks and/or diagnostic tests.
Visit the Healthcare Worker Station when Sick
  • When your avatar is sick, visit the Healthcare Worker Station to get tested and treated. You may receive a physical prescription (Rx) for medicine to be purchased at the Store.
  • If anyone in your Family Unit is sick, accompany them to the Healthcare Worker Station.
Get Vaccinated
  • If a vaccine becomes available, it will be distributed at the Healthcare Worker Station.
How to Earn Tokens

The tokens you receive at the beginning of the simulation may not last long. To earn extra tokens, complete quizzes and exchange correct answers for tokens at the Bank. Multiple paper-based quizzes will be physically posted around the venue.  Travel with your family to locate a quiz and complete it on the paper provided to you.  Next, you travel to the Bank to cash your answers out before seeking the next quiz.  Depending on how many questions your family answers correctly, the Bank will award:

  • 1 TOKEN
    for 25-74% correct answers
  • 2 TOKENS
    for 75-100% correct answers
Simulation over

If you receive a ‘Simulation Over’ notification through the OO mobile app, your avatar has succumbed to the pathogen.  If this happens, please do the following:

  • Notify your family and give them your remaining tokens.
    • If there is no one else in your Family Unit, return the tokens to the Bank.
  • Report your death to the Biomedical Research Station and, then, report to the Reflection Station for further instructions.
05

General Guidelines for Work Units

Getting started

Every non-General Population participant will be assigned to one of the below Work Units. You are either in a Family Unit (as a member of the General Population), or you are in a Work Unit; they are mutually exclusive.

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    • Government Officials
    • 7 tokens
    • 9 tokens
    • Healthcare Workers
    • 5 tokens
    • 7 tokens
    • Biomedical Researchers
    • 3 tokens
    • 5 tokens
    • Public Health Officials
    • 3 tokens
    • 5 tokens
    • Bankers
    • 3 tokens
    • 5 tokens
    • Store Clerks
    • 3 tokens
    • 5 tokens
    • Reporters
    • 3 tokens
    • 5 tokens

• starting tokens •

  • Tokens will function as a form of money during the simulation which can be used to purchase the items needed to keep the avatars healthy.
  • The number of tokens each family unit will start with will depend on the assigned economic level and the duration of the simulation (90 or 120 minutes) as outlined in the table here.

How to survive

  • Food
  • Masks
  • Medicine
  • diagnostic tests
  • Vaccinations
Scan QR codes and use tokens to buy interventions
Increasing chances of survival

Follow these actions to make sure your avatar survives the outbreak.

Feed Your Avatar
  • When your avatar is hungry, as indicated in the app, use tokens to buy food QR codes at the Store. If you don’t feed your avatar, it will become more susceptible to the pathogen, meaning it will become more easily infected.
Get Masked and/or Tested
  • Visit the Store to use your tokens to buy masks and/or diagnostic tests.
Visit the Healthcare Worker Station when Sick
  • When your avatar is sick, visit the Healthcare Worker Station to get tested and treated. You may receive a physical prescription (Rx) for medicine to be purchased at the Store.
  • If anyone in your Family Unit is sick, accompany them to the Healthcare Worker Station.
Get Vaccinated
  • If a vaccine becomes available, it will be distributed at the Healthcare Worker Station.
SImulation over

If you receive a ‘Simulation Over’ notification through the OO mobile app, your avatar has succumbed to the pathogen. If this happens, please do the following:

  • Notify your family and give them your remaining tokens.
    • If there is no one else in your Family Unit, return the tokens to the Bank.
  • Report your death to the Biomedical Research Station and, then, report to the Reflection Station for further instructions.
06

Funding & Duration

    • Government Starting Fund
    • $243 million
    • $324 million
    • Funding per minute for Depts.
    • $1million/min
    • $1million/min
    • Cost to replace HCW, BR, PHO
    • $75,000/person
    • $75,000/person
    • Vaccine cost pre 20 persons
    • $500,000
    • $500,000
Understanding Funding

This table displays the base funds allocated to the Government at the start of the simulation. Tokens and Dollars are each their own separate system. The dollar amounts correlate to real governement spending and decision making during a pandemic on a large scale, while tokens simulate the very real disparity of finances in the general population. The graphic below gives an idea of how the funding can play out over the timeline of a simulation.

08

Group specifics

In this section

You can click the links below to go directly to that groups specific roles and responsibilities. We recommend using the print function on every page to distribute copies of these instructions to each participant in the respective group. Every page has a button to return here or you may use the table of contents to navigate to any of these pages freely.

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I Want to Make Learning Infectious

Tell us about your group, and a member of the Operation Outbreak Team will be in touch.