Emergency Cancellation, Delay and Closing Policy and Procedures

3341-1-3 Emergency Cancellation, Delay and Closing Policy and Procedures.

Applicability All University Units
Responsible Unit The Office of the President
Policy Administrator
President or designee

(A) Policy Statement and Purpose

This policy provides a framework and protocol for modifying normal operations during seasonal inclement weather, health hazards, or other emergencies.

The development of this policy and these procedures have been guided by the belief that the university is a community and as such is normally open during periods of ordinary seasonal inclement weather or other minor disruptions. The university equally values the safety and lives of all students, faculty and staff, while recognizing that we must maintain the effective operation of the university during inclement weather and other disruptions when possible.

Faculty, staff and students must assume responsibility for their own health and safety, as well as for their class and work responsibilities. While this frequently requires a delicate balance, each individual must be the ultimate decision-maker of whether to travel to or across one of our campuses under varying conditions.

(B) Introduction

An emergency closing of Bowling Green State University (BGSU) will be implemented only under severe and extreme circumstances. Every effort will be made to maintain classes and all employees are expected to report to work unless they specifically hear otherwise. However, when health or safety conditions and/or a declared state of emergency due to other factors warrants, the university may delay the opening of the university or specific offices and areas, cancel some or all classes and/or activities, or implement an emergency closing of all or part of the university.

(C) Scope and Application

This Policy shall apply to students, classified staff, administrative staff, faculty administrators, part-time faculty, visitors and persons or companies doing business with the university. The policy shall apply to represented employees in accordance with the applicable collective bargaining agreement.

(D) Policy

The decision to close the Bowling Green/Perrysburg campus is a consultative process that includes the President/President’s designee, President’s cabinet members/designees, and the Director of Public Safety/designee. The President or designee will have the final authority to make the decision to close or delay the opening of all or part of the university, cancel some or all classes or activities, or any necessary combination of the modification of normal operations. For BGSU Firelands, these decisions will be made by the Dean of BGSU Firelands.

Decisions to cancel or postpone athletic events will be the responsibility of the Athletic Director after consultation with the President and other appropriate individuals. Decisions to cancel Fine Arts productions will be the responsibility of the Provost after consultation with the President and other appropriate individuals.

Notwithstanding any announcement of a campus closure, students, faculty, staff, guests, and visitors must assume responsibility for their own health and safety, as well as for their class or work responsibilities. Students who do not attend class because they are concerned about their safety should notify their instructors. If normal operations are being maintained, employees who are concerned about their safety may choose to arrive late to work, leave early from work, or not report to work and should notify their supervisor of their intention. Individuals who live outside of Wood County or Erie County may find that their county of residence is under a Level 3 Snow Emergency when Wood or Erie County or is not, making it illegal for them to drive in their own county unless they are essential employees. Employees in this circumstance should notify their supervisor that they are unable to drive in and students should notify their instructors. For all cases of time missed when the university is open, employees shall account for time away from their usual work site through the use of accrued vacation, personal leave, compensatory time (hourly employees only), approved leave without pay, or the use of a temporary alternative work site with the approval of their immediate supervisor.

Supervisors are responsible for assuring the employees who report to them are aware of this policy and understand the general university procedure and any internal, departmental procedures for emergency closing. Employees are responsible for contacting their supervisors if they are unclear as to the status of the university’s operation or their need to report to work.

Departments with operations involving external groups (e.g., contractors, vendor run operations, etc.) will communicate with these groups regarding the action the university is taking.

(E) Consideration of Conditions

A decision to close a particular campus, delay opening or cancel classes or activities may be based on weather information and road conditions gathered from the BGSU Police Department, the Ohio State Highway Patrol, the County Sheriff’s Office, other local police agencies surrounding the particular campus, official weather reports and forecasts, and consultation with BGSU Campus Operations staff. In most cases, the Bowling Green/Perrysburg campus will not close for winter conditions unless the Wood County Sheriff’s Office declares a Level 3 Snow Emergency. (See winter weather conditions as defined by the Sheriff’s Office under the definitions section.) Decisions made due to other emergencies may be based on information from local law enforcement, local fire officials, local health officials, and BGSU Campus Operations staff.

A decision to close the BGSU Firelands campus, delay opening or cancel classes or activities may be based on weather information and road conditions gathered from the Erie, Huron, and Ottawa County Sheriff’s Offices, the Ohio State Highway Patrol, other local police agencies, county and state highway departments, official weather reports and forecasts, and consultation with BGSU Firelands Budget & Operations staff. In most cases, the BGSU Firelands campus will not close for winter conditions unless the Erie County Sheriff’s Office declares a Level 3 Snow Emergency, or road and weather conditions within the campus’s service area necessitate closing. (See winter weather conditions as defined by the Sheriff’s Office under the definitions section.) Decisions made due to other emergencies may be based on information from local law enforcement, local fire officials, local health officials, and BGSU Firelands Budget & Operations staff.

(F) Communication When Modifying Normal Operations

Once the decision is made to modify operations at a particular campus, all appropriate individuals will be notified through AlertBG texts, email, the BGSU home page, social media, and other means of digital communication. Local media outlets will be notified as well. The Office of Marketing and Communications will notify the university Fact Line (419/372-2445) and local radio and television stations. These include: WBGU-FM (88.1), WFAL-AM (680), WFOB-AM (1430), WOHO-AM (750), WCWA-AM (1230), WLQR-AM (1470), WRON (AM-1400, FM-97.7), WFIN-AM (1330), and WGTE-FM (91.3),WBGU-TV (Channel 27), and the four Toledo television stations (Channels 11, 13, 24 and 36).

BGSU Firelands campus notifications will include AlertBG texts, email, the BGSU Firelands home page, social media, and other means of digital communication. Local media outlets will be notified as well. The Office of Marketing and Communications will notify the university Fact Line (419/372-2445) and local radio and television stations. These include: WLEC-AM (1450), WCPZ-FM (102.7), WMJK-FM (100.9), WLKR-FM (95.3), WKFM -FM (96.1), WFRO-FM (99.1), WOHF-FM (92.1), and WTTF-AM (1600), Toledo’s WTVG-TV (Channel 13), and three Cleveland television stations (Channels 3, 5, and 8).

Efforts will be made to notify media, send texts and emails, and post BGSU web site announcements at least one (1) hour before the decision takes effect when known in advance. Also, students, faculty and staff may call the university’s answering service number (419/372-SNOW) to confirm whether the Bowling Green/Perrysburg campus and/or BGSU Firelands campus is closed or open due to severe weather.

(G) Identification of Essential Employees

Annually in the fall, the Office of Human Resources will collaborate with all university divisions for the purpose of reviewing and establishing the “essential employee list” which will consist of the names of employees who may be required to report to work during a campus closure. Once the list is finalized, the Office of Human Resources will send all designated staff ID cards identifying them as “essential employees.”

(H) Operational Definitions

  1. Essential Employee: Employees who have been issued essential employee identification (ID) cards identifying them as such, and who provide critical services to BGSU students, faculty, staff, guests and visitors (e.g., snow removal, maintenance of heat/water to residence halls, dining facilities, police, etc.). The essential employees deemed necessary by their supervisor are expected to report to or remain at work during periods of campus closure. Which essential employees are deemed necessary will vary depending on the reason for the closure, time of year, etc.
  2. Cancellation of Fine Arts Activities: The Provost shall communicate, through appropriate channels cancellations of any Fine Arts events being held at the performance venues (e.g., Wolfe Center, Kobacker Hall). Fine Arts activities may remain on schedule during a campus closure depending on the reason for the closure.
  3. Cancellation of Athletic Activities: The Athletic Director shall communicate through appropriate channels cancellations of any athletic events and activities. Athletic activities may remain on schedule during a campus closure depending on the reason for the closure.
  4. Cancellation of BGSU Firelands Campus Activities: The Dean of BGSU Firelands shall communicate, through appropriate channels cancellations of any scheduled activities being held on the BGSU Firelands campus. These activities may remain on schedule during a campus closure depending on the reason for the closure.
  5. Cancellation of Classes: Classes are cancelled on all or part of the campus, and all other operations continue to function as usual. Employees should report as usual. Undergraduate student employees do not have to report to work if they choose not to, but should notify their supervisors. Graduate student employees should check with their supervisor for guidance according to their appropriate department policy and their role (teaching, non-teaching, etc.) Classes will always be cancelled when the entire campus is closed.
  6. Delays: Announcements regarding delays of classes, opening of offices or of scheduled events should be specific regarding areas, units and operations affected, hours of postponement and the time for resuming operations. Employees in affected areas or units should report to work as usual when operations resume. Essential employees will be notified by a supervisor if they should report during the delay.
  7. Campus Closure: Classes and most activities are cancelled and offices are closed. Only the essential employees deemed necessary by their supervisors for that day should report.
  8. Snow Alerts (As defined by the Wood County Sheriff’s Office):
    (a) Level 1 Snow Alert-Roadways are hazardous with blowing and drifting snow. Roads may also be icy. Drive very cautiously.
    (b) Level 2 Snow Advisory – Roadways are hazardous with blowing and drifting snow and or icy conditions. Only those who feel it is necessary to drive should be out on the roadways. Contact your employer to see if you should report to work.
    (c) Level 3 Snow Emergency – All Municipal, Township, County, State and US Routes in Wood County (or Erie Count for the BGSU Firelands campus) are closed to nonemergency personnel. No one should be out during these conditions. Those traveling on the roadways may subject themselves to arrest. All employees should contact their employer to see if they should report to work as only employees designated by their employer as essential may go to work and only if their route is passable.

Registered Date: March 16, 2015