School Closure Policy
The purpose of this policy is to protect the health and safety of campus residents and staff, sustain business continuity, and accommodate the previously-scheduled academic activities of faculty and students, including classes, rehearsals, practices, study sessions, and access to library materials.
The College will remain open unless weather conditions are so severe as to require closure.
In the event of an inclement weather closure, all classes, meetings, and events are canceled and all support services other than those essential for ensuring housing, food, and safety for campus residents are closed. Facilities such as Watzek Library and Pamplin Sports Center will be opened for residential students only when it becomes reasonably possible to provide access and staffing for those sites.
The community is asked to respect the fact that Campus Safety and Facilities Services personnel have critical responsibilities for addressing health and safety issues. Furthermore, these offices are likely to be understaffed under such circumstances. Campus residents should avoid areas of the campus with roads and pathways that have not been cleared. Individuals are advised to take necessary precautions and to avoid dangerous conditions traveling to, from, and around the campus. Essential personnel, as defined below, are the only personnel who should come to campus in the event of closure. Non-residents and employees who are not essential personnel should stay away from campus for their safety and for the safety of the community.
This policy applies to day, evening, weekday, and weekend classes of the College of Arts and Sciences, the Graduate School of Education and Counseling, and Law School, as well as all scheduled meetings and events at the institution. To best protect health and safety and to avoid confusion, a decision to close the campus or open late will apply to all classes, meetings and events at the institution. Only in extraordinary circumstances will exceptions be made by the VP to permit certain classes, meetings, or events to occur.
An early closure is an inclement weather closure of the campus that is effective at a particular time of the day, decided and announced after employees have already reported for work that day.
Essential personnel are facilities and grounds crews necessary to clear and maintain the campus as determined by the AVP of Facilities; residential life, food service and other personnel necessary to serve the needs of residential students, as determined by the VP of Student Affairs; Campus Safety staff; and any other personnel necessary for the protection, maintenance, business continuity or reopening of the campus, as designated by the VP for Operations.
An inclement weather closure is a closure of the campus as the result of hazardous on-campus and/or road conditions caused by snow, ice, downed trees and/or power lines and/or due to power outage.
A late opening is an opening of the campus at a time later than normal due to hazardous on-campus and/or road conditions which, if prolonged, would require an inclement weather closure, but which are expected to moderate sufficiently within a reasonable time to allow for normal commuter traffic and a resumption of institutional activities.
The Vice President of Operations, in consultation with the Vice President/Chief of Staff, is responsible for making all decisions on inclement weather closure for Lewis & Clark. In the Vice President of Operations absence, the Vice President/Chief of Staff will make the decision.
In the event of severe weather conditions on and around the institution that could lead to inclement weather closure, late opening or early closure, the AVP of Facilities Services, or designated backup, in consultation with the Director of Campus Safety as necessary, will notify the Vice President for Operations, or designated backup, about conditions that might call for closure. The VP and AVP for Facilities Services will assess the current and forecasted weather, the condition and the ability to safely maintain campus roadways and walkways, and the condition of city roads and public transportation.
Ideally, the decision will be made and communicated before early morning commuters have left home. For all day inclement weather closures and late openings, the College will strive to make the decision and announcement by 5 a.m. For early closures, the College will strive to make the decision and announcement by 2 p.m. Sometimes, however, emerging weather conditions make early notification impossible, or require closure or cancellation of some activities during the day.
If the decision is to close, cancel some activities or to delay opening, the AVP for Facilities Services or designee(s) will immediately notify the following offices and individuals, in the order listed below:
- Communication Services: The Director of Public Relations or designated backup will post the information on the SNOW-line, share closure information via the college’s emergency notification system, update the three Lewis & Clark campus homepages, share the information via social media, and notify local media outlets.
- Food Services: Lewis & Clark Food Services General Manager or designated backup.
- Lewis & Clark Officials or their backups: Vice President for Student Affairs, the deans of the three schools, and the Associate VP and Director of Human Resources, or their designated backups.
- In case of a power outage also call: Director of Network and Technical Services or designated backup.
Because classes and events are scheduled for weekends as well as weekdays, this policy applies and weather conditions are monitored seven days a week.
To avoid confusion and inconsistent and unauthorized messages, the Director of Public Relations (or a predetermined designated substitute) will distribute ALL inclement weather closure, early closure or late opening announcements. The Director of Public Relations will post announcements to the SNOW-line and the Lewis & Clark home page and issue an announcement to media sources. Students, staff, faculty members, and visitors should always use the home-page announcement and SNOW-line as their source of the most up-to-date and authoritative information.
In the event of delayed opening, Lewis & Clark, as appropriate, will announce “opening delayed until 9:30 a.m.” or “morning classes canceled until 11:30 a.m.” or “evening classes will be held/canceled beginning at 5 p.m.” Regularly scheduled classes that begin at or after these times will meet. For example, if the institution opens at noon a class that begins at 11:30 a.m. will not meet. If the institution opens at noon, a class that begins at 12:30 p.m. will meet.
Individuals will have three primary ways of obtaining school closure information:
- Call the SNOW-line, 503-768-SNOW (503-768-7669),
- Visit the Lewis & Clark homepage, www.lclark.edu, and check the newsroom at the foot of the page for a weather closure newsroom story.
- Watch for text, email and/or phone notifications distributed via the college’s Emergency Notification System.
Additionally, the college’s office of Public Affairs and Communications (PubCom) will push out school-closure notifications via secondary channels, including:
- Via FlashNet, to regional news organizations
- Via Twitter (@lewisandclark) and Facebook
When, as a result of varying conditions in the area, many other institutions have closed but Lewis & Clark is open, the Director of Public Relations will post a “Lewis & Clark is open” message on the SNOW-line only: 503-768-SNOW (503-768-7669).
PRIORITIES DURING A CLOSURE
Priority #1: Protecting the health and safety of campus residents and those staff who are required to report to work during closures to support the residents and to ameliorate physical conditions at the institution.
Principal considerations include food and water (available in Fields Dining Room), shelter, access for emergency vehicles to enter campus, good communication throughout the school closure among Campus Safety, Facilities Services, Campus Living, and Bon Appetit.
Priority #2: Sustaining business continuity and proper function of facilities, with the goal of minimizing health risks, damage to equipment, or loss of data that may result from lack of attention during a closure.
Priority #3: Accommodating the previously-scheduled academic activities of faculty and students, including classes, rehearsals, practices, study sessions, and access to library materials.
When the institution is closed due to hazardous weather conditions, academic activities are necessarily suspended and academic facilities will remain locked.
When major winter storms are predicted, members of the campus community (students, faculty, and staff) are encouraged to anticipate the possibility of closure by taking home with them materials that they might require for their work. In the event of a closure, academic facilities will be closed.
When normal academic activities are disrupted due to weather closures, College offices and teaching faculty are asked to adjust timelines as appropriate.
If Lewis & Clark is officially closed before employees report to work, employees are not to report to work unless designated as Essential Personnel, and will be compensated for a regularly scheduled workday. Exempt employees will not receive additional compensation for time worked during a closure. Non-exempt hourly workers who are Essential Personnel and are required to report to work will be compensated according to any applicable collective bargaining agreement. If no collective bargaining agreement applies, non-exempt workers who are Essential Personnel and are required to report to work will be compensated for a regularly scheduled workday plus hours actually worked on the day or days the institution is closed. Employees who are required to come to work when the school is closed will not be penalized if they are unable to report for work because of road conditions, storm damage, injuries, etc. Finally, for ALL employees, pre-approved vacation or sick time that falls on days when the institution is closed will not be charged to the employee’s vacation or sick time. If Lewis & Clark is open and employees are unable to report for personal reasons (e.g. road conditions in the area of their home), the supervisor must be notified as early as possible. Time lost due to personal reasons will be charged to accrued vacation. If an employee does not have vacation accrued, this time will be treated as time off without pay.
If a delayed opening is announced, employees are expected to report to work at the appointed time. If the employee is unable to do so, the employee must notify the supervisor as early as possible.
If Lewis & Clark closes after employees have reported to work, they will be paid for the remainder of their regularly scheduled shift on that day.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the College has an enhanced ability to provide classes and conduct business remotely. Most classes are already hybrid, hy-flex, or otherwise capable of remote delivery, and many employees are able to work effectively from home. While such conditions persist, it may be feasible in some inclement weather circumstances to move to remote learning and working rather than fully closing the College.
In the event that inclement weather or other circumstances warrant curtailing the operations of the College, the Vice President of Operations may: (1) close the College as provided in this policy; or (2) direct that the College conduct classes and business remotely to the greatest degree possible.
In the event that the Vice President of Operations decides that the College will conduct classes and business remotely to the greatest degree possible, the following shall apply:
- Classes will be conducted remotely to the greatest extent possible. Classes that cannot be conducted remotely will be cancelled.
- Scheduled events that can be conducted remotely can proceed remotely. Events that cannot be conducted remotely will be cancelled.
- Employees, other than Essential Personnel, will be expected to work remotely in order to support the ongoing operations of the College. Employees who cannot work remotely due to the nature of their job will be compensated for a normal scheduled workday, per the policy above.
- Employees with pre-approved vacation, or who are using sick time, will have the time charged to their vacation bank or sick bank, as appropriate, if they do not work.
- Essential Personnel, as defined above, may be required to report to campus as provided in the policy above. In such a case, non-exempt hourly workers who are Essential Personnel and are required to report to campus will be compensated according to any applicable collective bargaining agreement. If no collective bargaining agreement applies, non-exempt hourly workers who are Essential Personnel and are required to report to campus will be compensated for a regularly scheduled workday plus hours actually worked on campus on the day or days the institution is closed.
Approved by Executive Council November 30, 2018; revised November 20, 2020