Printed on: 08/20/2019. Please go to for the most current version of the Policy or related document.
Crookston Campus Policy

Campus Emergency Closing

Policy Owner: Crookston Chancellor
Date Effective: 
August 2009
Date Revised: 
March 2016

Policy Statement

The responsibility for the decision to close the Crookston Campus at any time rests with the Chancellor or designee. In the Chancellor's absence:

  1. Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs
  2. Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs
  3. Designated Academic Department Head

The Chancellor or designee will notify the Director of Communications (218-281-8438) to alert the campus, community, and media. The U of M President's Office will also be notified by the Chancellor’s Office as soon as possible after a decision to close.


The following media will be utilized/notified: Safe U Text notifications

  • SAFE-U Messages: Text messages will be sent to mobile devices of those taking part in the SAFE-U emergency notification system.
  • E-MAIL MESSAGES will be sent to the official campus distribution list, which includes all current students, faculty, and staff.
  • UMC WEBSITE AND SOCIAL MEDIA: Messages will be posted on the UMC website (home page and Today page) and social media (UMC’s Facebook page
  • RADIO: KROX (AM 1260) Crookston
  • TELEVISION:  WDAZ (Channel 8); KVLY (Channel 11)

Closing for the Day: When possible, the decision and announcements will be made by 6:30 a.m. The announcement will include the Children's Center also being closed. The typical duration for the closing will be for the entire day, including evening classes, unless otherwise noted. Other shifts are expected to report to work unless specifically notified otherwise. Should Crookston schools be closed, not delayed, but the University remains in session, a positive announcement will be made over the radio.

Closing During the Day: When conditions warrant closing of the college during a regular school day, the campus switchboard operator will relay this information to all department offices. Facilities Management will notify the Children's Center and the Northwest Research and Outreach Center when a decision has been made to close the campus. Two hours of lead-time will be given the Children's Center, if possible. Both the Children's Center and the Northwest Research and Outreach Center may close independent of the campus.

Closing for Special Events: Events with UMC sponsorship and non-UMC events held on campus are subject to the official general closing. When possible, major public events (e.g., intercollegiate athletic events, concerts and lectures) will be mentioned in the closing announcement.

Designated Essential Employees: Several University functions are typically open during an official closing. Some employees in these functional areas are required to report to work in the event of an emergency closing unless specifically informed by their supervisor that they are not to report. "Essential employees" designated for this policy are those "required to protect the health and safety of human and animal life and the basic security of this University's physical plant and equipment". Those employees deemed essential may change according to the situation.

Other Employees: Other employees essential to the safety of persons or property may be required by their departments to work during any or all of an official emergency closing.

Pay Provisions

Employees whose work schedule begins during an official closing will be paid for those hours officially closed.

      1. Employees who are at work when an official closing is declared will be sent home and paid for the balance of their scheduled hours.
      2. Employees on approved vacations, sick leave, or leave of absence without pay when an official closing is declared will be charged for vacation, sick leave, or leave without pay as previously arranged.
      3. Employees required to work during an emergency closing that falls within their normal work week will be awarded equivalent time off at regular pay for hours worked during the official closing. Time off granted under this policy must be authorized and approved by the supervisor and must be taken at a time convenient to the department. If an employee works additional hours, the hours may be subject to overtime provisions in the Civil Service Rulebook or the appropriate collective bargaining agreement.
      4. Employees who do not report to work when the campus has remained open during a storm (not an official closing) have the option of taking the storm time off as: (1) vacation, (2) compensatory time, or (3) making-up the hours at a time mutually agreeable with the supervisor.

Other Provisions

    1. Facilities & Operations (Heating Plant 218-281-8495; Facilities & Operations 218-281-8490)
      1. The Heating Plant will become the Emergency Operations Center during closings. The Facilities & Operations Director, if off campus, will maintain telephone communications with the heating plant. Pending decision of the Facilities & Operations Director, two operating engineers may be on duty in the Heating Plant until the emergency subsides.
      2. Pending decision of Facilities & Operations Director, grounds personnel may stay on campus during emergency conditions and will periodically check with Facilities & Operations Director and the Heating Plant for messages.
    2. Communications (Heating Plant 218-281-8495; Facilities & Operations 218-281-8490)
      1. Emergency messages should be left with the Heating Plant if the desired extension cannot be reached.
    3. Dining Services (Dining Services 218-281-8538; 2nd floor kitchen 218-281-8539; Brown Dining Room 218-281-8538)
      1. The Dining Services Director will annually review an emergency plan that provides for the food needs for the students and staff who remain on campus.
    4. Student Health Services (218-281-8512; Emergency Pager (8:30 am-4:30 pm ) 800-930-9540)
      1. The Student Health Service will annually update an emergency health plan for the campus. In the event there is a need for medical consultation and the nurse is not on campus the Emergency Room (281-9450) at Riverview Hospital should be contacted. In the event of a medical emergency on campus call 9-911.
    5. Residential Life/Campus Security (281-8530; Maintenance Cell 218-289-0523; CA Duty Phone Cell 218-289-0604)
      1. The Residential Life Director will annually review the emergency plan with staff. During emergencies the Director for Residential Life/Campus Security or a designee should remain on campus.
    6. Agriculture and Natural Resources Department (218-281-8101)
      1. The Department Head will annually review an emergency plan with the agriculture staff for the feeding and watering of animals housed in the horse stables and the beef/sheep units. Provisions should also be made for emergencies that might arise in the greenhouses.
    7. Children’s Center (218-281-8285)
      The Children's Center Director will annually review an emergency plan with Children's Center staff. In extreme conditions, provisions are available for care of the children until the conditions subside.

Reason for Policy

The University recognizes the need to prepare for unexpected situations or respond to weather that may require the closure of all or part of a campus; to identify the decision-making hierarchy for such closures; to ensure timely notification to students, staff, faculty, and visitors; and to confirm affected individual responsibilities in the event of a closure.


Policy Contacts
Primary Contact Office of the Chancellor 218-281-8343
Elizabeth Tollefson, Director of Communications, Public Relations, and Marketing 218-281-8438


Other Information

General Explanation Regarding the Basis for Decisions to Close UMC for Weather-Related Causes

The primary premise for weather-related closings of the University of Minnesota Crookston is that the institution will remain open unless there is unreasonable risk or danger to a substantial number of students and/or employees due to extremely hazardous driving conditions within close proximity to the campus.

Closing the institution generally involves considerable additional expense and cost, as well as the loss of productivity and class time. Therefore, the decision to close the campus is given very careful consideration.

Highways 2 and 75 are the primary roads leading to the campus and are the roads most frequently closed due to weather related causes. The road closure sign in Crookston for west/northbound traffic is located near the Crookston Inn/El Metate Restaurant. At East Grand Forks the road closure sign for eastbound traffic is located near 429th Ave. SW on the highway 2 and 220 junction. Failure to obey these "road closure" signs can result in a substantial fine as well as injury or death. Area radio and TV stations provide timely information on road conditions and on road closures and should be considered a primary source of information for students, faculty, and staff.

If that portion of Highway 2 & 75 immediately in front (west) of the UMC campus is closed, the campus will be closed, and only designated critical employees are to report to work or remain at work, unless specifically informed by their supervisors not to report.
The campus will generally not close for weather related conditions if Highway 2 & 75 is open to traffic (i.e., not officially closed by law enforcement agencies or the Minnesota Department of Transportation).

The following are some additional explanations and interpretations that will be considered regarding the closing of the campus if Highway 2 & 75 remains open for traffic.

  • Unreasonable risk or danger is the touchstone in the decision to close the University. It can be argued with considerable justification that there is real risk and danger whenever anyone ventures forth on the streets and highways of Minnesota during the winter. It is not uncommon that ice and slippery spots persist all winter on some streets and roads and that these are dangerous. Snowfalls that we consider moderate and present no more than normal risk or danger would close down whole cities or areas in other sections of the country. Being better equipped and more experienced, we routinely handle rather extreme weather and driving conditions. The point is, we all face some risk and danger in driving to and from work on winter streets and roads in Minnesota. The decision to close the institution focuses on whether or not the weather has created a condition where there is unreasonable risk and danger.
  • Extremely hazardous driving conditions are the primary basis for determining that there is unreasonable risk and danger. It could be concluded that with a two-inch snowfall compacted on the streets, hazardous driving would exist by definition. Few of us, living in this climate and area, would consider these conditions serious enough to prevent our driving on the streets or getting to or from work.
  • A number of steps are followed to determine whether or not unreasonably hazardous driving conditions do, in fact, exist. Weather conditions and forecasts are checked with the weather bureau. Driving conditions are checked with the State Highway Department and law enforcement agencies.
  • Travel advisories are noted but are generally of little help in reaching a conclusion on closing. The Weather Bureau and the Department of Transportation issue storm warnings and travel advisories for large areas that often have little relevance to local weather and/or travel conditions.
  • The number of students and employees affected by the inclement weather is a major consideration in reaching a decision to close the campus.  While most students and employees live within a few miles of the campus, some employees and students commute thirty miles and more to campus.  At some distance from the campus it is possible driving conditions may be judged to be extremely hazardous, involving unreasonable risk and danger, and not considered so within a mile or two of the campus. The decision to close is largely based on the travel conditions in fairly close proximity to the campus.

One major issue that is extremely important is that each person must decide whether unreasonable risk will be encountered if they report to work, or do not leave until the end of their scheduled shift. Supervisors are instructed to make special allowances for employees (other than those in the "Essential" categories) who have reason to believe that their personal safety or that of their family is in jeopardy. Arrangements will be made for the use of vacation or to make up time at the supervisor's discretion for any work shift missed. The supervisors must inform the appropriate administrator of their action.

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