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College-wide Policies

Severe Weather Policy

The intent of this policy is to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the college’s students, faculty, staff, and visitors, and to ensure that essential services are provided. As a residential college operating under the Block Plan, Colorado College does not close for severe weather. Unless there is an official announcement for limited service operations, all faculty and staff shall report to work in accordance with the guidelines outlined below and full service college operations will continue.

Responsible office
President's Office
Responsible party
President
Last revision
April 2016
Approved by
The Cabinet
Approval date
April 2016
Effective date
August 2013
Last review
April 2016
Additional references
None

Scope

All financial and administrative policies involving community members across campus are within the scope of this policy. If there is variance between departmental expectations and the common approach described through college policy, the college will look to the campus community to support the spirit and the objectives of college policy.

Policy

Full Service Operations

Employees should consider their safety in determining when, or if, to report to work and communicate their availability to their supervisors. In some offices, minor adjustments to the normal work day (i.e., arriving late) may be an option and are to be discussed with the supervisor. Telecommuting may be allowed for some positions with supervisor approval.

Staff members who are unable to report to work as regularly scheduled or with approved minor work schedule adjustments will be required to use vacation or personal time to cover their absence or may arrange with their supervisor to make up the time during the same work week.

Classes will be held if prudently possible unless specifically canceled by the faculty member. It is the responsibility of the faculty member to communicate with their students and, if needed, to consult with their department chair and/or the Dean’s Office.

Limited Service Operations

In the event of deteriorating weather conditions, the decision to maintain essential services will be made by the president or designee and communicated to the campus community. The following departments will always remain operational:

  •             Campus Safety
  •             Facilities Services (including custodial)
  •             Housing & Conferences
  •             Residential Life & Campus Activities
  •             Dining Services

All other college departments and offices must establish guidelines for implementing this policy. Department heads shall identify which limited services will be provided and which staff are needed based on the academic schedule, special events, time of year, and day of the week. Supervisors and staff are expected to communicate with each other about the weather and make plans for covering limited functions when severe weather is anticipated.

Employees unable to make it safely to campus will be paid based on their normal work schedule. Staff already on approved vacation, personal time, or sick leave will still report that leave status.

Communications

The college will make all efforts to communicate with the campus community using the emergency notification system and local media. When in doubt, employees should seek guidance from their supervisor/department head; students should seek guidance from their professors.

All subsequent status updates will be posted to the notifications page linked from the emergency message.

For severe weather that compromises services or safety during the workday an announcement will be made as soon as possible; if overnight, an announcement will be made no later than 6 a.m. regarding the services to be provided for that day. 

Procedures

Campus Safety and Facilities Services personnel closely observe weekday and weekend weather conditions as part of normal duties.  Campus Safety and Facilities Services will increase the monitoring frequency of weather conditions when forecast models and advisories warrant. Colorado College is committed to communicating tools and tips to prepare the campus and its operation for weather related or other severe or unanticipated incidents.  

Other useful emergency preparedness information for students, faculty, and staff can be found in the Colorado College Emergency Preparedness Guide on the Emergency Preparedness page of the college’s website: www.coloradocollege.edu/other/preparedness/

During Business Hours: 

If Campus Safety and Facilities Services determine hazardous conditions exist and are or may likely affect normal campus operations, the director of campus safety and emergency management will be contacted and will assume the role of Incident Commander (IC). In the absence of the director of campus safety and emergency management, the director of facilities services will assume the role of IC. If the facilities services director is unavailable, the director of human resources/AVP administrative services will assume the role of IC. If none are available, the AVP for student life will assume IC. If all four are not available, the VP for communications will assume IC.

  • The IC will contact the Core Group: the director of facilities, the director of human resources/AVP administrative services, the AVP for student life and the VP of communications regarding the current and projected weather conditions.
  • The Core Group will meet virtually or in-person as determined by the IC to discuss the context of the immediate circumstances including the safety risk probability for those anticipating travel to or from campus.
    • Other items to be considered: time of the block, weekend/weekday, expected duration of the storm, current road conditions, scope and scale of storm and impacted area, updates from CSPD, City of Colorado Springs, other higher education local employers, issued advisories or warnings, and the conditions at the college.
  • The Core Group will formulate a timely campus operations recommendation to the President (or designee in accordance to the Chain of Command list in the Emergency Management Plan). The recommendations will include supporting details used to determine continuing normal operations or the need to move the campus to limited services operations.  The recommendation shall include the date and hour to move the college to limited services and the anticipated duration.
  • The IC will contact the President with the Core Group’s recommendation. The President will decide the college’s status.
  • The IC will initiate communications to the college using the college’s Communications department.

During Non-Business Hours: 

If hazardous conditions exist and are anticipated to intensify, campus safety will coordinate with the facilities services grounds supervisor.  The grounds supervisor will determine if the grounds crew can safely report to campus to begin treating weather related hazardous conditions prior to the start of the business day. The grounds supervisor will determine when to mobilize snowplows, snow removal staff, and the possible supplement of contracted services. The grounds supervisor will maintain contact with campus safety and/or the IC related to campus conditions and weather related mitigation measures.

  • Campus safety will contact the director of campus safety and emergency management to communicate the current weather conditions.
  • The director of campus safety and emergency management will assume the role of Incident Commander (IC). In the absence of the director of campus safety and emergency management, the director of facilities services will assume IC. In the absence of the facilities services director, the human resources/AVP administrative services will assume the role of IC. If none are available, the AVP for student life will assume IC. If all four are not available, the VP for communications will assume IC.
  • The IC will determine when to contact the Core Group: the director of facilities, the director of human resources/AVP administrative services, the AVP for student life and the VP of communications regarding the current and projected weather conditions.
  • The Core Group will meet virtually or in-person as determined by the IC to discuss the context of the immediate circumstances and the risks to the safety of those traveling to or from campus.
  • Other items to be considered: time of the block, weekend/weekday, expected duration of the storm, current road conditions, scope and scale of storm and impacted area, updates from CSPD, City of Colorado Springs, issued advisories or warnings, and the conditions at the college.
  • The Core Group will formulate a timely campus operations recommendation to the President. The recommendations will include supporting details used to determine continuing normal operations or the need to move the campus to limited services operations.  The recommendation shall include the date and hour to move the college to limited services and the anticipated duration.
  • The IC will contact the President with the Core Group’s recommendation. The President will decide the college’s status.
  • The IC will initiate communications to the college using the college’s Communications department.

Severe Storm with Multi-day Impact: 

In the event severe weather is forecast for an extended duration, a partial activation of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) will be initiated and the director of campus safety and emergency management will assume the role of IC. The IC will mobilize the Core Group earlier identified in this procedure. 

In accordance with the college’s Emergency Management Plan, this may also activate the President’s Executive Policy Group to consider business continuity elements of an extended multi-day storm.

Communication and Planning

Cabinet members are responsible to ensure direct reports and their department heads discuss the severe weather policy with department staff and have department-level operation plans in place when limited services status is declared. Department heads will determine which functions will continue during limited services status and the positions to support those functions and will confirm with the cabinet member.

All departments must have pre-determined protocols for checking in with each other, and identify which staff positions will provide the limited services and other positions that will serve as a back-up if other employees are unable to safely travel to campus.

The academic dean will confer with department chairs about the severe weather policy and severe weather protocols to be followed.  Protocols shall primarily include student and staff communications concerning class status.  

Departments are to assess which college sponsored events will continue or will be cancelled and communicate to applicable users (student events, campus community, and/or the public).