University Closings, Class Cancellations and Exam Postponements Due to Inclement Weather or Emergencies
Date of Current Revision: June 2012
Responsible Officers: Director of Human Resources, Vice President and Provost for Academic Affairs, Senior Vice President for Administration & Finance
The purpose of this policy is to establish a process by which the university may close or cease parts of its operation in response to inclement weather or emergencies.
The Board of Visitors has been authorized by the Commonwealth of Virginia to govern James Madison University. See Code of Virginia section 23-164.6; 23-9.2:3. The Board has delegated the authority to manage the university to the president.
The closing of university operations, as determined by the President or a designee, for specific periods of time as needed. An authorized closing may be for a full or partial shift, such as in the case of delayed openings or early closings.
Those employees identified by the employing department whose work is essential to university operations and are required to work during periods of authorized closings.
Those conditions, as determined by the President or a designee, that severely hamper employees from traveling to and from work, reporting to or remaining at work (including but not limited to inclement weather, utility failure, sustained flu pandemic, fire or other forced evacuations).
Those employees who are not required to work during an authorized closing. For purposes of identification in media announcements, these employees will be identified as 'non-designated employees.'
This policy applies to all JMU employees.
This policy is designed to establish the guidelines and procedures for university closings, class cancellations and for the compensation of designated employees.
James Madison University is primarily a self-contained campus with a large number of residential students requiring a variety of support services, regardless of inclement weather conditions or emergency situations. For the safety and well-being of its students and employees, the university may close or limit its services based on inclement weather or other emergencies.
6.1 Closing Decisions
Decisions to close university operations (those operations that do not operate in emergency or inclement weather conditions) will be made by the president or a designee. Individual vice presidents, the executive assistant to the president, deans, directors, department heads and supervisors are not authorized to make closing decisions in their areas. The president or a designee may make such a decision at any time during the calendar year to protect the best interest and welfare of the university community. Should inclement weather or emergency conditions dictate that the university operate with only inclement weather or emergency operations services, one of the following procedures will be followed:
6.2 Classes & Exams
Decisions to close university operations will be made by the president or a designee. If the decision to close is made, announcements will be made on JMU radio station 1610AM, on the JMU Home Page, on the JMU Weather Line (540) 433-5300 and on area radio and television stations.
When it is necessary to cancel classes due to weather or other emergency, faculty members have several options for making up missed instructional time.
NOTE: If the university is closed because of inclement weather conditions or emergency situations, faculty members are prohibited from requiring students to attend events, classes, laboratories or any other functions on campus. However, students who are participating in off-campus activities such as internships, practica, student teaching or health services placements, or other assigned coursework at locations remote from campus, will still be required to keep and attend their assigned placements, unless the placement site is closed or the student is unable to safely reach the placement site. It is the responsibility of the student to contact the placement site to receive instructions on attendance at the site, and to notify the instructor of record in the course of any closings of the placement site or inability to reach the placement site because of closings or inclement weather conditions.
6.2.1 Final Examinations Missed or Rescheduled Due to Inclement Weather or Emergency Closing
In response to inclement weather and other emergencies, the university may be forced to cancel or reschedule final examinations. Decisions to close university operations will be made by the President, or a designee. If the decision to close the university and reschedule final examinations is made, announcements will be made as noted above.
When the university closes due to weather or other type of emergency, faculty will administer regularly scheduled examinations at a time designated by the university unless otherwise announced in the course syllabus. The official make up time will be designated as part of the closing announcement. Unless otherwise notified, examination locations will be the same as the location for the regularly scheduled exam.
If it is determined that exams cannot be given because of inclement weather or other emergency, faculty will assign final grades to students based on the exams, tests and projects completed prior to the regularly scheduled exam date.
6.3 Faculty & Staff
It is the policy of the university to provide classified staff members pay continuity for absences necessitated by the authorized closing of operations due to inclement weather conditions or other emergencies such as utility failure, fire and other forced evacuations.
Wage (part-time employees)
6.4 Compensation for Entire Shift Closing – Non-Designated Employees
A full-time employee (40 hours per week) is scheduled to work four ten-hour days Monday through Thursday. An entire shift closing is authorized for the first two shifts on Monday and for the first shift only on Tuesday. The employee will be paid for ten hours on Monday and eight hours on Tuesday. The additional two hours on Tuesday that the employee was scheduled to work beyond the end of the shift closing must be charged to leave balances or to leave without pay as appropriate.
Another alternative, subject to the supervisor's approval, would be to adjust the employee’s work schedule to work an additional two hours later in the same workweek.
6.5 Compensation for Partial Shift Closing – Non-Designated Employees
It is the responsibility of senior vice presidents, the executive assistant to the president, division heads, academic deans, department heads, directors and supervisors to ensure that the provisions of this policy are reviewed with employees and administered to all employees in a consistent manner.
Management should inform appropriate employees in writing that they will be required to work during authorized shift closings. It is recommended that these employees ('Designated Staff') be notified at the time of employment, or annually just prior to the winter season, or when it can be predetermined that for certain types of emergencies these employees' services will be necessary.
It is the responsibility of the supervisor to provide accurate time and leave information to Human Resources.
Sanctions will be commensurate with the severity and/or frequency of the offense and may include termination.
The authority to interpret this policy rests with the President, and is generally delegated to the Director of Human Resources.
Previous version: June, 2008
Approved by the President: September, 2010
Index of Terms