Procedure 110: Class Cancellation and Emergency Closing

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University Procedure #110

Section 1.        Purpose

This procedure describes in detail the processes to be followed in making the decision to cancel classes and/or close the university due to weather or other emergencies.

Section 2.        Authority

This procedure relates to University Policy #1110, which is issued pursuant to the authority granted the President under Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board of Trustees Policy 4.4.

Section 3.        Effective Date

This university procedure shall become effective upon signature of the President and shall remain in effect until modified or expressly revoked. 

Section 4.        Responsibility

The responsibility for implementation of this procedure is assigned to Vice President for Administration and Finance, working with the Provost.

Section 5.        Implementation

In the event of adverse weather conditions, safety hazards, etc., it is the policy of Metropolitan State University to make every reasonable effort to ensure the safety and well-being of students and employees.

Cancellation of Classes Due to Weather Emergency

The president of the university or a designee has the authority and responsibility to cancel classes and other university sponsored activities and to close the university.  The responsibility may be delegated to the following persons in the following order:

President:  651-793-1900

Provost & Vice President for Academic Affairs:  651-793.1920

Vice President for Administration and Finance:  651-793.1912

Vice President for Student Affairs:  651-793.1522

In the absence of the four officers, the person acting as the chief operating officer at the time will have the responsibility for canceling classes and for closing the university.

Closure of the University

The authority to close the university when a weather emergency or other emergency exists resides with the president or the president's designee.  The closure of State agencies by the Governor or by the Commissioner of the Department of Employee Relations does not apply to the university or other MnSCU institutions.  However, the Governor may issue an executive order closing our institution and ordering employees, except for those designated as essential employees, not to report to work.  If a broadcast message is unclear or if an employee is uncertain as to whether or not he/she should report to work, it is the employee's responsibility to check with his/her supervisor.  Additionally, employees should also check the University web site for clarification.

Definitions 

Closing the University:  Closing the university means to close all operations other than those operations deemed essential to the protection of life and property.  Closing the university results in the cancellation of classes, student, faculty and staff activities, and meetings.  All general offices are closed.  All external events scheduled to be held in campus buildings during a closure of the university will also be assumed to be cancelled.

Closing a Campus: In extraordinary situations, it may be prudent to close one or more campus locations, while others remain in operation.   Closing a Campus means to close all operations other than those operations deemed essential to the protection of life and property at a specifically identified location.  Closing a campus results in the cancellation of classes, student, faculty and staff activities, and meetings that are scheduled to be held at the specified campus only.  All offices on that campus are closed, while other campuses remain open.  All external events scheduled to be held in specific campus buildings during a closure of a campus will also be assumed to be cancelled.

Delayed Opening:  Delayed opening refers to closing of all operations for a designated period of time other than those operations deemed essential to the protection of life and property.  A delayed opening will effect all scheduled operations for the designated period of time, including externally scheduled events held on campus

Action Steps—Weather Closings

  1. The Director of Safety and Security or his designee is responsible for monitoring weather forecasts for the Twin Cities metropolitan area.  The Director will determine when it is prudent to notify the following list of individuals of a possible need to alert for potentially hazardous weather.  The alert should be delivered to the recipients e-mail, work phone, cell phone, and home phone until the Director confirms the alert has been received or he has exhausted all potential avenues for contact.  The alert will request reliable contact information from the recipient for a specified length of time.
  1. Each individual on the Alert List will be responsible for providing the Director of Safety and Security with a mode of reliable contact for all times during the alert.  In their absence, a designee should be identified for the list who will act for them.  The Director will compose and distribute the alert contact list to all list members

Alert List:

1.  President

                     Cc: President’s Assistant

2.  Provost

                     Cc: Provost Assistant

3.  VP Administrative Affairs

                     Cc: VP Administrative Affairs Assistant

4.  VP Student Affairs

5.  VP University Advancement

6.  CIO

7.  Dean of Library

8.  Director of Communication & Marketing

9.  Director of Safety and Security

 

  1. The president or the president's designee will consult with the Director of Safety and Security to assess weather and travel conditions and confirm by contacting at least one state and one local authority from the following list:

National Weather Service             http://www.nws.noaa.gov/alerts/mn.html

The Weather Channel                   http://www.weather.com   

Mn/DOT                                                   http://www.511mn.org/index.asp        

(612) 582-1000

Traffic Cameras    http://www.dot.state.mn.us/tmc/trafficinfo/metrocams/mapindex.html

 

Road Condition Information:                   (612) 405-6038

St. Paul                                                      (651) 266-PLOW

Minneapolis                                               (612) 348-SNOW

 

  1. The Director of Safety and Security will convey his findings and recommendation to the Vice President for Administration and Finance, who will confer with the Provost, to reach agreement on a recommendation to the President. 
  1. The Provost will inform the President of that recommendation, and a decision will be made. 
  1. In the absence of one or more of the individuals listed in the prior steps, the President or the individual acting as Chief Operating Officer will be able to consult with others from the Alert List to aid in reaching a decision.
  1. The President or the President’s designee will communicate that decision to the presidents of St. Paul College and Minneapolis Community and Technical College, as well as the presidents coordinating the northern and southern regions of the Metro Alliance.  The Director of the Dayton’s Bluff Public Library will also be notified, so that the closure of the Library building can be coordinated.
  1. If the decision is made to cancel classes, determine if the university offices and service units should remain open or be closed.  Consultation with other MnSCU institutions in the region may also inform this decision.
  1. Once a decision is made, the Provost communicates that decision to the Director of Communications and Marketing.  The Provost will also notify the Dean of Library who will in turn notify the Director of the Dayton’s Bluff Public Library.
  1. The Director of Communication will draft, in consultation with the members of the Alert List, a message for broadcast to all constituents.  The message will include at a minimum:
    1. Date and Time of closure or cancellation
    2. Campus or locations effected
    3. Anticipated reopening or resumption of classes time/date
    4. Method for receiving or viewing updates
    5. Emergency contact name phone number and/or e-mail
    6. Employee reporting information

(Sample messages are being developed)

  1. The Director of Communications informs the CIO and IT of the message that should appear on the website and in the portal; the director also notifies WCCO-AM radio, Dial 830, WCCO TV, channel 4  (http://wcco.com ), KSTP TV channel 5 (http://www.kstp.com) and KARE TV, channel 11 (http://www.kare11.com). 

 

The institutional identification codes and related information required to access radio and television will be kept secure, accessible and updated by the Office of the President.  Summary copies of this information will be distributed to key university personnel as determined appropriate by the president or designee.  At a minimum, the codes will be given to the Provost, the Vice President for Administration and Finance, the Vice President for University Advancement and the Director of Communications and Marketing.

When notifying the radio station and receptionists, information will be made very clear regarding whether:

a. classes are canceled but employees should report to or remain at  work; or

b. the university is closed and employees should not report to or leave work by a specified time.

c. a specified campus is closed, but other campus locations are operating normally and all unaffected employees should report to their work campus

  1.  Employees and/or students that are on campus at the time the emergency closing is determined will be notified.  The president or designee shall inform employees at the time of closing via notification to the division heads, deans, department heads and appropriate announcement via e-mail (all locations), University web site and portal and/or the PA system (St. Paul campus).  Security personnel will be directed to walk the campus to insure that all staff, students, and visitors are aware of the closure or cancellation of classes prior to the closing.  Security will also be responsible to insure that all non-essential personnel and visitors do not remain on campus after the indicated closure time/date.
  1. Appropriate messages should be placed on the voicemail for main university phone lines, including:

                        a. Gateway Student Services Center            651-793-1300

                        b. Facilities Office                                          651-793-1700

                        c. Office of the President                               651-793-1900

                        d. Security Desk, St. Paul                              651-793-1717

  1.  Because of the structure of the University’s instructional programs, more than one decision point on class cancellation may occur—for evening classes, and for morning classes.  Every effort will be made to make the decision to cancel classes early enough so that the notice can be aired by 5:30 am for day classes and 3:00 pm for evening classes. 
  1. The Dir of Marketing or their designee will notify the MnSCU Public Affairs Office of the emergency or closing.

Action Steps--Other Emergency Closings

Ascertain the nature and extent of the emergency.  Using a consultation process similar to that outlined above, determine if the university offices and service units should remain open or be closed.

Once a decision is made, the communications processes outlined in #4 through #13 above will be followed. Students will also be notified through appropriate student support services and academic offices.

Also, if appropriate, the radio stations need to be requested to make announcements in the afternoon as well. 

Employee Reporting

Employees of Metropolitan State University who are declared weather or emergency essential employees will be required to report to work or to remain on duty during an emergency.  A list of essential weather or emergency essential employees will be maintained by the president (Who will develop this list?). 

Employees who report to work and then are sent home shall not be enriched through additional compensation, including compensatory time, or increased benefits as a result of an emergency situation.

Employee on approved sick or pre-arranged vacation leave shall not have such leave time restored to their balances.

Employees on any approved leave without pay shall not be paid for any emergency leave time.

Employees who call in on the day of an emergency, requesting to use vacation time, compensatory time or leave without pay will be credited with emergency leave from the point of the declaration of the emergency to the end of the scheduled shift, if the appointing authority ceases operations during their regular shift.

Employees using the positive time reporting system shall record emergency leave under "Other Authorized Leave Hours Taken" with an 'X' designating the type of leave taken.  Also note in the Remarks section "Weather Emergency" or "Emergency Situation" as appropriate.

An employee's absence with pay for emergency situations shall not exceed the timeframe of the emergency declared by the president or designee. 

Accommodations for Disabled Employees

Employees with disabilities are encouraged to determine their own preferred method of communication regarding emergency campus closure, to submit that information in writing to Human Resources, which will then take the necessary actions to assure such communications take place.  Example:  An employee with a hearing loss may prefer to be contacted directly through a TTY.  Human Resources would ensure that a member of the notification team was trained and responsible for notifying the individual directly by TTY.  Work units with employees with mobility impairments will designate persons who will assist these employees as needed to evacuate the premises according to local fire department recommendations.  See attached policy #1090.

Building Evacuation

Information is provided to new employees and is posted in all university centers.  It details emergency evacuation procedures, including the specific procedures for evacuation of employees who may have mobility impairments.

Class Cancellation and Emergency Closing

Individual Responsibilities

Director of Safety and Security

            (Prior to foreseeable Weather Emergency)

            - Monitors weather forecasts

            - Activates Alert List contacting all individuals listed

            - Compiles current contact information

            - Sends contact information to entire Alert List

- Compiles and prints a schedule of all University activities scheduled during the duration of the alert

            (After emergency closure or cancellation has been declared)

            - Send notice of closure or cancellation to all members of the Alert List

- Alert all security staff to closure or cancelation details

- Contact Telecommunications to have an appropriate voicemail message placed on all main university phone lines. (Gateway, Facilities, President’s Office, all security desks.)

- Monitor road conditions, plowing progress, and campus conditions to determine when operations may safely resume.

- Provide Alert List with updates as available

President or Designee

- Consult with Director of Safety and President’s Council to determine need to close the University, specified campus locations, or cancel classes.

- Contact MCTC President, St. Paul College President, Metro Alliance Presidents’ contacts, and MnSCU Chancellor’s Office.

            - Provide updates as needed to the Director of Safety.

Provost or Designee

- Contact the Director of Communication and Marketing with the decision and details.

- Contact Dean of Library to notify of closing. (Dean of Library will contact the Director of the Dayton’s Bluff Public Library to notify of building closure.)

Director of Communication and Marketing

(Alternate: VP University Advancement, followed by Director of Publications)

- Consult with members of the Alert List to create a single message detailing the specifics of the closure or cancellations.

- Contact CIO and IT to have a broadcast e-mail sent to all faculty, staff, and students including the closure or cancellation message.  Also have the message posted on the main web page and all portals.

- Contact the appropriate media outlets to announce and broadcast the closure or cancellations.

            - Contact MnSCU Public Affairs Office to notify of closure or cancellation.

Approved, 1st day of March 2008

 

William J. Lowe, Ph.D., Interim President