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In accordance with the University's official Emergency Operations Plan, this policy addresses emergency situations when a campus, portion(s) of a campus, or building(s) will be closed or remain open with reduced operations in the event that a situation poses a serious risk to the health, safety, or security of the University community, research animals, or other mission critical assets. It is intended to provide direction when faced with these unique situations. The policy terms and provisions should not be viewed as a general reflection of the value placed on particular University functions or personnel. For example, the term "Essential employee" as used in the policy refers to employees whose duties must be performed on campus, and must continue to be performed during a period of closure or reduced operations. It is not intended to discount or dismiss mission critical duties performed by other employees.
Determination to Close, Reduce Operations, or Cancel Classes
The responsible individual on each campus will determine when a situation warrants a closure, reduced operations, or cancellation of classes (e.g., adverse weather conditions, hazardous material release, terrorism, emergency, or other threat). Consultation with academic leadership and other appropriate executives will occur prior to making the decision to close or cancel classes, time permitting, depending on the nature of the situation or the protocol as defined in the Emergency Operations Plan. The responsible individuals for each campus are:
- Crookston, Morris, Rochester: Chancellor or Emergency Lead - Designated Authority
- Twin Cities, Duluth: Officer of the Day
Faculty, staff, and students will be notified as quickly as practical through internal and external communications systems, including, as appropriate, the University's e-mail, SAFE-U, tone alert radios, and home page, as well as broader external media resources (television, radio), once a decision is made to execute a closure, reduce operations, or cancel classes. Additional communications with specific information regarding the hospitals and clinics will follow.
In the event of reduced operations:
- classes will be canceled or moved to online delivery;
- pay for faculty, staff, and student workers during the period of reduced operations will be delivered pursuant to Appendix: Pay Provisions for Change in Operations and for a duration determined by the University;
- faculty, staff, and student workers who are identified by their supervisors as Essential employees or who are designated to complete Essential work must continue to report to work on campus as directed by their supervisors;
- high-risk research, clinical operations, and approved events will operate as usual; Essential employees who support these functions will report to work as directed by their supervisor.
In the event of a closure:
- all operations will be suspended, including clinical operations and events;
- only individuals Essential to secure the campus or avert catastrophic failure will be required to report or be permitted on campus.
Certain major public events are not automatically canceled when reduced operations are in effect (see campus-specific appendices for examples). The Officer of the Day or Chancellor will determine whether the public event may be held. Consultation with appropriate executives will occur prior to making the decision to close or reduce operations, time permitting, depending on the nature of the situation or the protocol as defined in the Emergency Operations Plan.
The University acknowledges that it is a community of individuals with different abilities and circumstances. In situations in which a campus remains open for normal operations, individuals are reminded to use their own judgment about their safety in deciding whether to report to work or attend classes. In these circumstances, an employee is not relieved of their responsibility for their work, and may be required to make alternative arrangements with their supervisor, or utilize paid leave as provided in the work rules for their classification. Students who determine they need to miss class should promptly notify their instructor and review the class syllabus regarding attendance and other class requirements.
While this policy provides direction for addressing emergency situations, the University also recognizes that such situations are often unpredictable, and that each situation is different. The University must be flexible in order to respond appropriately and effectively as situations develop. During any situation covered by this policy, the University is committed to providing open and timely communications regarding its decisions and response plan, including any amendments to this or other applicable policies and procedures.
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 or reduce operations; 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 or reduced operations.