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Inclement Weather and Emergency Closing Policy

Inclement Weather and Emergency Closing Policy

Policy Number HRS-001
Effective Date November 01, 2007
Responsible Office/Person Human Resources
Related Policies
Additional History
Additional References

I. Policy Statement It is the policy of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth to maintain services, conduct business, provide instruction and research on a normal basis throughout the year without compromising the safety and welfare of our students, faculty, staff and visitors. In some instances emergencies arise which require the University to determine if it is prudent and reasonable to offer classes or require faculty and staff to report to work.In those instances, the Vice Chancellor for Administrative and Fiscal Services, based on input from the Emergency/Storm Management Team, will make a decision regarding the appropriate campus response. II. Purpose The purpose of this policy is to define the process, provide direction and provide guidance to be used when the University will cancel classes or close due to emergency conditions, inclement weather, natural disasters or other unexpected emergencies or hazardous conditions. III. Definitions

  • Emergency/Storm Management Team: University personnel responsible for managing and directing campus operations during inclement weather or other emergency.
  • Essential Personnel: Employees who are required to work to maintain campus operations around-the-clock including weekends, holidays, class breaks, etc. These individuals must report to work despite weather conditions or class cancellations.
  • Inclement Weather: Severe storms or weather conditions.
  • Main Campus: The buildings and grounds located at 285 Old Westport Road, Dartmouth.
  • Non-Essential Personnel: Employees who are not required to report to work when the University is closed.
  • Off-Site Locations: University staff who work in other areas outside the Main Campus.
  • Official Media Outlets: The media outlets utilized to communicate the operational status of the University.
  • Operational Status: The condition of the campus as communicated via the Official Media Outlets. These could include such conditions such as closure, delayed opening, or classes cancelled but University remains open.

IV. Procedures A. Categories of Closing/Delayed Opening

  • Closing the University – Evacuation of the Campus Everyone is to leave campus except for emergency/essential personnel.The University will cancel all classes and close all buildings, EXCEPT residence halls, resident dining facilities, the power plant, public safety, and fitness center (the fitness center operates 12:00 – 5:00pm when the University is closed), which are open for resident students use only. All University events are cancelled. This scenario will also apply when the Governor declares a weather-related "state of emergency," thereby prohibiting driving on Massachusetts roads.

If the campus remains closed for an extended period of time (due to an extended power outage or other natural disaster) the Residence Halls will also close and students will be required to leave. Students with extenuating circumstances (such as international students) may be allowed to remain in the Residence Halls upon request.

  • Delayed Opening of the University – 10:00 a.m. Classes will start at 10:00 a.m. (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) or 11:00 a.m. (Tuesday and Thursday). Employees should report at the 10:00 a.m. time of opening. Emergency/essential personnel should report as assigned.
  • Closing Mid-Day University will close at mid-day due to gradually deteriorating weather conditions, in anticipation of a storm or hazardous road conditions, power outage or other declared emergency. Everyone is to leave campus except for emergency/essential personnel or those engaged in academic activities that cannot be interrupted. The University will cancel all classes and close all buildings, EXCEPT residence halls, resident dining facilities, the power plant, public safety, and fitness center (the fitness center operates 12:00 – 5:00pm when the University is closed), which are open for resident students use only.
  • Closing for the Evening University will close due to gradually deteriorating weather conditions during the late afternoon or evening hours, or in anticipation of a storm or hazardous road conditions. Everyone is to leave campus except for emergency/essential personnel. The University will cancel all classes and close all buildings, EXCEPT residence halls, dining facilities, the power plant, public safety, and fitness center (the fitness center operates 12:00 – 5:00pm when the University is closed), which are open for resident students use only.
  • Classes are Cancelled but the University Remains Open Depending on weather conditions, the University may cancel classes but choose to remain open for operation. This scenario may occur when road conditions are deemed safe but the University needs greater flexibility in removing snow for the next day. Employees are expected to work their normal shift regardless of class cancellations.
  • Off-campus locations will adhere to the same procedures as the main campus for inclement weather situations.
  • Situations at Off-campus Sites Not Affecting the Main Campus This scenario may occur as a result of a power outage or other emergency situation at an off-campus site not affecting the main campus. The decision to close an off-site building should be made by the Senior Administrator in charge of the building.
  • Situations at the Main Campus Not Effecting the Off-Site Locations This scenario may occur as a result of a power outage or other emergency situation at the main campus not effecting the off-campus locations. The decision to close the main campus will be made by the Vice Chancellor for Administrative and Fiscal Services based on the recommendation of the Emergency Management Team.
  • University Events For non-emergency situations, the Vice Chancellor or designee of the sponsoring department shall confer with the appropriate administrator to determine whether an event shall take place. The ability of the Facilities Department to clear appropriate parking lots and walkways, the ability of campus departments to provide the necessary support services required for the event, the weather forecast, and road conditions will be considered in making decisions regarding University events. The sponsoring department is responsible for communicating the status of the event to all participants.

B. Timing of Announcements The Vice Chancellor for Administrative & Fiscal Services will make a decision based on input, as appropriate, from members of the Emergency/Storm Management team. The Vice Chancellor for Administrative & Fiscal Services is responsible for ensuring the University notifies television and radio stations in time for broadcast announcement deadlines. (See Attachment 1.) C. Responsibility of Campus Community Members We expect all employees to verify the operating status of the campus (by utilizing the official media outlets specified on Page 6) prior to reporting to work in inclement weather situations. We realize that our employees and students sometime commute from long distances and we acknowledge weather conditions in your home area may vastly differ from the Dartmouth area.We expect all members of the campus community to exercise good judgment in his/her decision to commute to campus, reporting to duty and/or leaving early. Employees with early shifts (starting before television or radio notifications have been announced) should utilize the University's website and the recorded message on the telephone system to obtain the operational status of the campus before reporting to work. Campus community members are encouraged to call Facilities at x8100 or Campus Police at x8107 for problem areas that have not been satisfactorily addressed within the academic buildings. Please call x9691 to address issues within the Residence Halls (during regular business hours). D. Designation of Essential Personnel Unlike other departments, the Facilities Departments MUST keep the University running 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. Essential personnel are required to maintain the Power Plant, Residence Halls, and other campus operations around the clock including weekends, holidays and class breaks. Therefore, these individuals must report for duty despite weather conditions or class cancellations:

  • Housing Facilities and Facilities/Physical Plant: The University will identify personnel based on the skills needed to respond adequately to the particular emergency.
  • Public Safety: All uniformed personnel including ISO’s and Dispatchers.
  • Housing & Residential Life: Director, Associate Directors, Assistant Directors, Resident Directors.
  • Campus Services: Director of Campus Services, General Manager of Sodexho Food Services, Maintenance Specialist.
  • Athletics: Director of Athletics or designee, Fitness Center Supervisor, Fitness Center Assistant.

Per the ESU contract, additional ESU personnel may be designated as "Essential Personnel." E. Compensation for Essential Personnel When the University closes, bargaining unit members designated as "essential personnel" and who work due to inclement weather conditions or other declared emergencies shall be compensated in accordance with his/her collective bargaining agreement as follows:

  • ESU – Designation of Essential Staff & Compensation, Article VII, Section K; weather conditions, Article VII, Section H.
  • AFT Maintainers – Workweek and Work Schedules/Essential Personnel, Article 7 Section 8
  • AFSCME – Inclement Conditions, Article 33
  • IBPO – Employee Compensation, Article 12, Section 8

 V. Responsibility In order to properly manage and direct campus operations during inclement weather or other emergency, the University has established an Emergency/Storm Management Team consisting of the following people:

  • The Vice Chancellor for Administrative and Fiscal Services or designee makes the final determination regarding the operational status of the campus and closure.
  • The Director of Public Safety, who chairs and convenes the team, ensures the safety of students, employees and visitors at the University including the enforcement of parking bans.
  • The Director of Facilities ensures that the University's facilities are operational and provides direction for snow removal operations and parking ban decisions.
  • The Director of Human Resources provides expertise on issues such as the designation of essential personnel, overtime, compensation and other employee related issues.
  • The Provost or designee considers impacts on the instructional program in relation to the academic calendar (e.g. closeness to finals) and gives consideration to evening as well as daytime instruction. Also, the Provost or designee participates in framing public announcements and other messages that will inform students and faculty about academic issues, such as make-up times or modified examination schedules.

The Emergency/Storm Management Team may also solicit input from the following people as appropriate and necessary:

  • Associate Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services (Facilities' operations)
  • Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs or designee
  • Director of Housing and Residential Life or designee (including Housing Facilities' operations)
  • Director of Health Services
  • Assistant to the Chancellor for Public Relations
  • Associate Vice Chancellor for Professional and Continuing Education
  • Director of Admissions (Admissions Visitor Schedule, Open House and Discovery Day programs)

VI. ATTACHMENTS:

ATTACHMENT 1  Official Media Outlets Utilized for Announcements a. Recorded message on the University's telephone system – (508) 999-8000 b. Notification on the University?s website – www.umassd.edu c. Announcement on the electronic marquee at the campus entrance d. Announcements on the following radio stations: Campus Radio Station: WUMD (89.3 FM) Providence: WPRO (630 AM, 92.3 FM), WHIM (1110 AM), WHJJ (920 AM, 94.1       FM), WALE (990 AM), WRX (103.7 FM), WSNE (93.3 FM) Boston: WBZ (1030 am) Plymouth: WPLM (1390 AM) Somerset: WSAR (1480 AM) e. Announcements on the following television stations: Providence: WJAR (Channel 10), WLNE (Channel 6), WPRI (Channel 12), FOX 64 Boston: WBZ (Channel 4), WHDH (Channel 7), NECN (New England Cable News), WCVB (Channel 5) Please do not call the Department of Public Safety. Their lines must remain open for emergencies.

ATTACHMENT 2 Parking Guidelines The Director of Facilities may call for a parking ban on Ring Road and all roadways and access roads to parking lots depending on weather predictions and timing. Parking bans will be announced at least two hours prior to implementation and enforcement. Parking bans will be announced on:

  • The University Web Site - www.umassd.edu
  • The campus telephone system
  • UMD Announce (if possible)

The plowing of parking lots is a phased operation that requires students to move cars on a schedule designed to give snow removal personnel sufficient access to all parking lots on campus.To accomplish this, the Director of Facilities notifies HFOS leadership to arrange for student notification of the planned vehicle relocations. To the extent that parking bans are violated and inhibit snow removal efforts, the Facilities Department will direct Public Safety to tow violators.

ATTACHMENT 3 Time & Attendance Guidelines The following guidance is provided to address employee relations' issues related to the University closings, delayed openings and early closures in a "Q and A" format. What happens if I had a previously approved leave (vacation leave, personal leave) on a day that the University closed? Will I be charged time for the day? Yes.If you had a previously approved leave, (vacation leave, personal leave) your attendance record will be charged with the original purpose.

How do I report my time when the University is closed and I had not requested any time off? In those cases where you would be at work had it not been for the University closing, you report your time as "REG".I did not know that the Dartmouth Campus had a delayed opening, early closing or was closed for the day so I reported to work at my normal starting time. Will I get comp time for the time I worked? Employees are responsible for checking the operational status of the campus prior to reporting to work.Non-essential personnel who report to work when the campus is closed will not receive any additional compensation.The notice about the operational status of the campus will be widely broadcast on local radio and television stations.It will also be noted on the UMD website, and will be included as a recorded message on the UMD telephone system. Lastly, it will be posted on the electronic marquee at the entrance of the campus. How are my meal period and rest periods affected? Employees should receive a meal period if the normal meal period occurs during the time the Campus is open. I called in sick BEFORE the start of my shift. Does my attendance record exclude the time that the Campus was closed? If you called in before the start of your shift to use sick leave or personal leave time, your attendance record will be charged the hours of leave for your entire shift.

I called in AFTER the start of my shift and told my supervisor that I would not be in. Will I be charged leave for my entire shift? Yes, you will be charged for all hours you did not work during that shift, including any hours during which the University may be closed.

I am a classified employee and I was asked to report to work one hour early prior to leaving the previous day. Will I receive overtime for reporting to work one hour early. Overtime is defined as working more than 8 hours in a day or 40 hours in a week. Therefore, unless you worked more than 8 hours on this day or 40 hours in this week, you are not eligible for overtime. However, if you are not eligible for overtime, you will receive 1 hour of compensatory time. Sunday was a regularly scheduled work day for me but I did not come to work because of the snow storm. Will I get charged leave time? No, you will not be charged leave time if the University was closed.

ATTACHMENT 4 Emergency Contact Information:

  • Campus Information: (508) 999-8000 or www.umassd.edu
  • Campus Public Safety – Emergency: (508) 999-9191; Dispatcher: (508) 999-8107.
  • SRTA Bus Lines (Public Transportation): (508) 997-6767
  • Dartmouth Police Department
  • Emergency:
  • Non-Emergency
  • Dispatcher
  • State Police-North Dartmouth, Massachusetts: (508) 993-8373
  • Bristol County Sheriff?s Office: (508) 995-1311
  • Fire Department: (508) 636-2441; (508) 994-6761

Hospitals Charlton Memorial Hospital 363 Highland Avenue Fall River, MA 02720-3703 (508) 679-3131

St. Luke’s Hospital 101 Page Street New Bedford, MA02740-3464 (508) 997-1515 Tobey Hospital 43 High Street Wareham, MA  02571-2097 (508) 295-0880 St. Anne’s Hospital 795 Middle Street Fall River, MA  02740-3464 (508) 674-5600        

ATTACHMENT 5 Emergency Preparation Tips Place a winter emergency kit in each vehicle that includes the following items: Shovel, windshield scraper, small broom, flashlight, battery-powered radio, extra batteries, water, snack food, matches, extra clothing including boots and socks, first-aid kit, blankets, medication, road salt or sand, emergency flares, cell phone and charger and if necessary a well-stocked diaper bag. Try to maintain at least half tank of gas. You may also want to keep a small emergency kit in your desk which includes essential items such as medication, a change of clothes and other important necessities in the event you are delayed at work. Parents should also have a person on-call to meet child care needs if the situation arises. Winter driving tips:

  • Clear snow and ice from entire vehicle
  • Wear your seat belt at all times
  • Slow down and pay attention. Posted speed limits are for dry pavement.
  • Leave room for maintenance vehicles and plows. Stay back at least 200 feet and don't pass on the right.
  • Bridge decks freeze first; surface conditions can be worse on a bridge than on the approach road. Exit ramps are an even greater challenge since they may have received less anti-icing materials than the main road.
  • Don't use cruise control. Roads that appear clear can have sudden slippery spots – the slightest touch of your brakes deactivates "cruise control" and can cause you to loose control of your vehicle.
  • Travel only if absolutely necessary.

VII. APPROVAL and EFFECTIVE DATE A. Effective Date: November 1, 2007 APPROVED BY Jean F. MacCormack Chancellor

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