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Introduction

Severe weather conditions where the safety of the community is at significant risk may require the University to restrict operations or to suspend all but essential services (a University closure). Indicators that such a decision may be required include: current weather conditions, local weather forecasts and media reports, the status of public transportation systems and the ability of the University to maintain safe conditions.

Closing the University is defined as a suspension of classes, examinations and all other activities with the exception of critical operations necessary to minimize risk and support the continuance of vulnerable research, personal safety and University infrastructure.

Responsibility

  1. Decisions to restrict operations or to close the University are delegated  by the President to the Provost and Vice President Academic and the Vice President, Administration and Finance;
  2. The Director, Integrated Risk Management (IRM) will advise the Vice President, Administration and Finance of the status of decision making indicators, collected and assessed by the University Chief Emergency Response Team.
  3. To avoid confusion or doubt about the level of operations that will be provided, once a decision is made it will be conveyed to both the internal and external communities by the Assistant Vice President, Communications, Government & Community Engagement. Decisions to restrict or close operations shall communicate the time period covered, when further announcements will be made and how the decision will affect normal operations.
  4. Deans and Directors shall be responsible for activating local business continuity plans as requited.
  5. Students, faculty and staff are responsible for ascertaining whether the University is maintaining normal operations, i.e. whether they are obligated to report to campus for classes, exams or work.

Essential Services

For the purposes of this policy, essential services are defined as services that are necessary to enable the University to assure the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff; preserve critical infrastructure, minimize serious environmental damage, and, continue the delivery of administrative functions required to support core organizational priorities

Staff to provide essential services will be so designated by the department heads responsible for those services.  Department heads are responsible for assigning duties to be carried out and making reasonable arrangements for the protection of essential staff.  Department heads are expected to show flexibility and, so far as possible, sensitivity to individuals needs in assigning duties for essential services.

Employees designated to provide essential services for the purposes of this policy should be notified by their supervisor prior to October 1 annually.

Limitations

This policy is not intended to cover all possible eventualities.  It is assumed that the decision-making and relevant communications will be adapted, as appropriate, to suit the circumstances.  While all efforts will be made to announce decisions in a timely manner as outlined above, some individuals may come to campus or already be on campus at the time of a weather emergency closure. In that case individuals should leave campus promptly except as otherwise required by this policy.  

Jurisdiction

This policy falls under the jurisdiction of the Vice President, Administration and Finance.  The interpretation and application of this policy rests with the Vice President, Administration and Finance.