November 28, 2022

New School Closure Policy

As winter approaches, it is time to share important information about Lewis & Clark’s policy and procedures related to school closures.

Our experiences through the pandemic, and with extended periods of unhealthy air quality due to wildfire smoke, have made clear the extent to which we can successfully continue many campus activities remotely when environmental circumstances limit our ability to be on campus. We want to take what we have learned from those experiences so as to best meet the needs of our students and employees.

When making decisions about campus operations during periods of adverse weather or other environmental conditions, we focus on two primary concerns: 1. the safety of students and employees; and 2. access to uninterrupted support and educational opportunities for our students. With those objectives in mind, the Executive Council has enacted a new policy governing school closure. This policy codifies the approach that the institution has already been taking in recent years, and provides for two possible courses of action when adverse conditions impact campus operations:

1. College Closure. We will announce a full closure when a major event significantly disrupts both our campuses and the wider community. In such a case, all classes and activities are canceled, most nonresidential buildings on campus will remain locked, only “essential personnel” are permitted to come to campus, and other employees are generally not expected to work. This is the traditional “snow day”, commonly experienced prior to the pandemic. Under the new policy, this sort of full closure is only likely when a major event, such as the February 2021 ice and snow storm, significantly impacts the entire metropolitan area.

2. Curtailment or Modification of College Activities. In most situations, we will not fully close. Instead, we will announce modified operations that take into account the nature of the situation. The physical campuses will be closed, however certain activities, including some online classes, may continue. “Essential personnel” will need to report to campus as usual. All other employees who are able to work remotely will be expected to do so to the extent possible, although those who are unable to do so—whether due to a power outage, family obligations, the nature of their position, or lack of proper equipment at home—will not be penalized for not working.

In both situations—college closure and curtailment or modification of college activities—employees will be paid for their full regular work day, and nonexempt “essential personnel” who are required to report to campus will be paid double time, as provided in applicable collective bargaining agreements.

Notification Process

Information about a closure or curtailment or modification of college activities will be conveyed by text message and email using our emergency notification system. We strive to make such announcements by 5:30 a.m. when possible, although circumstances do not always allow us to do so. Information will also be shared and kept up-to-date on the three Lewis & Clark homepages, and will be posted on social media. The best place for reliable and current information is the homepage.

Employees are encouraged to confirm that their contact information is correct in Workday. Directions about how to do so can be found here. In particular, please ensure that your mobile phone number is correct and that it is categorized as “mobile;” if it is not categorized as “mobile”, you will not receive text alerts from the system.

Thank you,

Executive Council