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Emergency Closing

  Procedure No.  30.100
EMERGENCY CLOSING POLICY
Date Issued: 11/1/94
Date Revised: 11/17/10
Issued By - Human Resources

Purpose: To define the process to be used in determining when the university will cancel classes or close due to emergency conditions.

Policy:

Only under extreme circumstances which create a state of emergency will the university close.

It is the policy of Clarion University to maintain services on a normal basis throughout the year. In some instances emergencies arise which require the university to determine if it is prudent and reasonable to offer classes or require employees to report to work. In those instances a management team, headed by the Vice President for Finance and Administration, will follow the process as outlined in order to provide a recommendation to the President or designee regarding the need to cancel classes or close the university and whether nonessential employees are to report to work.

This management team will consist of the following individuals:

  • Vice President for Finance and Administration
  • Provost
  • Vice President for Student Affairs
  • Executive Dean of Venango College
  • Associate Vice President for Finance and Administration
  • Director of Marketing and Communication
  • Facilities Maintenance Manager *
  • Director of Public Safety *

*as needed based on determination of Vice President for Finance and Administration

Since the university is a residential campus, special consideration will always be given to the fact that a majority of students live on or in close proximity to the campus. This always requires that the university be certain that regular services, outside of classroom instruction, are provided for resident students in the event of an emergency.

The management team must work to ensure that recommendations to the President are provided in a time frame which assures adult and commuter students are aware of cancellations or closings prior to leaving home for the university. (See procedures sections which follow this section.)

Cancellations and closings at Venango College will be handled by the management team as a separate recommendation. This is due to the fact that Venango College is a commuter campus and the fact that conditions can vary between the two campuses. Due to this variation in conditions, the Vice President for Finance and Administration will be responsible for establishing a contact person from Venango College who resides in close proximity to the campus or for establishing a means of communications with personnel present on the campus.

Faculty members unable to meet a class because of weather conditions must notify their department chairperson or dean. Additionally, if the class is held at Venango College, the faculty member must notify the Executive Dean of the Venango College. This notification may be oral or in writing within one week of the cancelled class. The faculty member must provide the department chairperson with a written confirmation of the cancellation and a plan for making up the class.

Procedure:

The Vice President for Finance and Administration will be responsible for establishing means by which all necessary members of the management team can be contacted. Generally, each member of the group should have an up-to-date listing of all home and office phone numbers of other members of the group. The Vice President for Finance and Administration will determine the need for interaction with the Facilities Maintenance Manager and Director of Public Safety based on each emergency situation.

In the absence of the Vice President for Finance and Administration, the Associate Vice President for Finance and Administration will serve as the coordinator.

In all instances the coordinator should be present in the immediate Clarion area to assure the decisions related to any potential cancellation or closing are made based on conditions in the Clarion area as directly observed. The Vice President for Finance and Administration is responsible for designating another member as the coordinator in the event he/she is not on campus.

For weather related emergencies the coordinator should contact all members of the group, as appropriate, by 7 p.m. in order to make decisions regarding cancellations for the following day. This time is established to assure that any cancellations or closings can be carried on the 11 p.m. news of television stations.

In instances in which conditions do not warrant cancellations of classes or closing of the university in the evening but where conditions are anticipated to worsen overnight, the coordinator should attempt to contact all members of the group, as appropriate, by 5:00 a.m. of the day that the cancellation of classes or closing of the university may be necessary. The recommendation should be developed in a short time frame (within one half hour) to assure that the decision of the President can be relayed to local news affiliates prior to students and/or employees departing from home.

When conditions warrant cancellation of classes or closing of the university after the work and class day have started, the same process should be used involving all individuals available on campus at the time. Information should be conveyed on campus through use of the electronic mail system with special notations that the information should be shared with all individuals on campus. Additionally, the Human Resources Office will be responsible for having an up-to-date list of any campus offices which do not have electronic mail capability. Those offices will be called directly by the Human Resources staff. Human Resources will also maintain a listing of all campus buildings. In the event of a cancellation or closing, the Human Resources staff will contact one individual in each building and instruct that person to notify all classes of the closing or cancellation. The Vice President for Student Affairs will be responsible for developing a method of communication with all residence halls to inform students of the cancellation or closing.

When conditions during the day warrant the cancellation of evening classes an attempt will be made to make a decision by 4 p.m. This information will be relayed through email as well as to media per the communication plan.

The Director of Marketing and Communication will be responsible for assuring that all decisions regarding cancellations and/or closings are communicated to the appropriate members of the media. The Vice President for Finance and Administration will be responsible for communicating all decisions to the Director of Marketing and Communications.

In all cases where a decision is reached to cancel classes or close the university, the Associate Vice President for Finance and Administration will be consulted to determine if employees are to report to work. Additionally, the  Associate Vice President for Finance and Administration will be responsible in every case for communicating to employees policies and procedures related to time and attendance and leave time. In instances when employees are not required to report to work, a determination will also need to be made on what employees, if any, will be needed to deal with the emergency and to provide essential services to the university and students. These employees will be termed "essential employees" and will be required to report to work. Essential employees will be notified by their immediate supervisor that they are required to report to work.

If employees are not required to report to work due to an emergency, they will be paid their normal hours for the day. Essential employees will also be paid on a regular basis per the appropriate collective bargaining agreement.

This policy is designed to deal with any emergency condition which requires cancellation of classes or closure of the university. While the policy is geared toward weather related cancellations or closings, the same process should be applied in the event of other emergencies.