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Minnesota West Policies

Chapter 4 - Human Resources

4.4 Weather & Emergency Closing/Cancellations

In accordance with Minnesota State Policy 4.4, the following policy/procedure will be used when it becomes necessary to close the College/Campus, cancel academic or non-academic activities, or delay the opening of the College/Campus due to, but not limited to, severe winter weather, tornadoes, fire, bomb threats, and explosions. This procedure will also describe working conditions and the compensation status of employees during the time the College/Campus is closed.

The authority to close the college/campus, cancel classes, or other activities when an emergency exists resides with the President or President’s designee. The closure of state agencies by the Commissioner of the Department of Employee Relations does not apply to Minnesota West Community & Technical College or other Minnesota State colleges and universities institutions. Should the Governor of Minnesota declare a state of emergency that results in closure, Minnesota West will follow that declaration.


A. Closing the Campus/College: Closing the Campus/College means to close all operations other than those operations deemed essential to well-being of students and those functions deemed essential to personal safety and the protection of property. Closing the Campus/College results in the cancellation of classes, activities, and meetings hosted/sponsored by students, faculty, or staff. General offices are closed.

B. Delayed Opening: Refers to closing of all operations for a designated period of time other than those operations deemed essential to well-being of students, and those functions deemed essential to personal safety and the protection of property.

C. Cancellation of Classes and/or Other Activities: Cancellation of classes (off-campus or on-campus) means to cancel one, several or all classes, in the absence of officially closing the entire Campus/College. Cancellation of non-academic activities refers to cancellation of an event such as athletic events, concerts, theatrical productions, workshops, etc.

D. Essential Employees:Positions and employees of the College/Campus whose functions are deemed essential to personal safety and the protection of property are required to report to work during an emergency. The Campus Administrators or designee will be on duty whenever an emergency is declared. If, in the Campus Administrator or designee’s judgment, the possibility of a late start or closure in the next day exists, (s) he will notify essential employees of their responsibility to report to work.

During an emergency closing, if in the supervisor’s judgment, services that are essential to the personal safety and protection of property are no longer needed, essential employees may be released from work with pay.


A. Closing or Delayed Opening:The President or President’s designees shall determine when the College/Campus will be closed, the College/Campus activity or operations that must be maintained during the closure and estimate, if possible, the duration of the emergency. Appropriate notification will be made to the Minnesota State Board of Office as the decision is made.

The responsibility of closing the College/Campus may be delegated to the following persons in order:

1.  Chief Executive (President)
2.  Chief Academic Officer (Provost)
3.  Chief Financial Officer (VP for Finance and Administration)

In the absence of all of the above, the person designated as chief operating officer at the time will have the responsibility for cancelling classes or closing the College/Campus.

As the decision is made to close or delay opening of the College/Campus, the following individuals will be notified:
Campus Administrators
Physical Plant Director

Each of the above will be responsible for specific notification to essential employees, media and department heads/supervisors.  It is expected that each department head will develop a network among employees to effectively notify individuals.

B. Cancellation of classes/nonacademic events when the College/Campus is not closed:

  • Cancellation of Classes - the decision to cancel one class, several classes or all classes, off-campus or on-campus, shall be made by the President or his/her designee.  When classes are cancelled, faculty on an individual basis shall make appropriate curricular adjustments.

  • Non-Academic Events - the decision to cancel a non-academic event, in the absence of closing the College/Campus, will be made by the director of the activity in consultation with his/her supervisor.


  • Whenever possible, decisions to cancel day classes will be made by 5:30 a.m. and decisions to cancel night classes will be made no later than 4:00 p.m.

  • The director of the activity will make notification of the cancellation of non-academic activities by utilizing media and/or other appropriate means.

Students should listen to local radio and television stations for college and campus weather related announcements. Web alerts are posted on the college website as well as information on how to subscribe to text alerts.

Weather and Emergency Announcements




Sent to employee & student email accounts


Social media



When the College/Campus is closed due to an emergency that threatens the health and safety of individuals, employees not designated “essential” may be excused from duty with full pay. With regard to such closure, the following additional guidelines will prevail:

  • Employees are excused from work with pay. A campus closure applies to all employees without regard to labor contract. Essential employees who are not excused from work will be paid at their regular rate of pay.

  • Employees who report for work and are then sent home shall not be enriched through additional compensation, including compensatory time, or increased benefits because of an emergency.

  • Employees who are required to remain at work shall not be paid for more than  their regularly scheduled hours or the actual number of hours worked.

  • Employees on advance scheduled sick or vacation leave shall not have such leave time restored to their balance unless they cancel their leave and report to work.

  • Employees on any approved leave without pay shall not be paid for any emergency leave.

  • Employees who call in on the day of the emergency prior to the declaration of the emergency, for vacation time, compensatory time or leave without pay will be credited with emergency leave from the point of the declaration or the emergency to the end of the scheduled shift if the Campus/College ceases operations during their regular shift.

  • Employee uniform time reports should indicate the number of emergency hours utilized in the remarks section of the uniform time report.

  • An employee’s absence with pay for an emergency shall not exceed 16 hours during that emergency unless the President has authorized a longer period.


A. Assessment of Winter Weather Conditions

Closing of the College/Campus or cancellation of classes or activities may be implemented following assessment of four specific conditions. The combination of any two or more of these conditions will warrant serious consideration:

  • Temperature - actual temperature of 0 degrees or below with consideration given to wind chill temperature.

  • Wind velocity - in excess of 20 m.p.h.

  • Precipitation - predicted or actual ice, snow, rain or combination in excess of  two inches over a 24-hour period.

  • Conditions of the road as advised by the Minnesota State Highway Department. Ice or snow packed roads, or significant cumulative snow cover will affect the assessment of overall conditions.

B. Inclement Weather when the College/Campus is not Closed

Due to the personal circumstances during inclement weather when the College/Campus is not closed, such as place of residence, employees may find it necessary to leave work early even though the College/Campus has not been closed. Further, because of place of residence, employees might be unable to get to work even though the College/Campus is open.  In such cases, but only with prior supervisory approval, annual leave, adjusted work schedule, compensatory time, or leave without pay may be granted.  Cancellation of classes does not excuse employees from work. In such circumstances when the College/Campus is not closed, if a Campus Administrator or Center Director should wish to consider limiting hours of operation because of severe weather, that local administrator must get approval from the Provost or appropriate Vice President prior to any action.

The President or his/her designee will assess the nature and extent of the emergency, determine if the College/Campus offices and services should remain open or be closed and notify appropriate personnel.

Due to the large geographical area covered by Minnesota West campuses, Interactive Television classes may not be experiencing inclement weather at the same time. The following policy will be followed. The host site is defined as the location where the instructor teaches. The receive site is all other campuses participating in the class.

  • If the host site has been closed due to weather, the class will be considered canceled at all sites.

  • If the host site has not been closed but one or more of the receive sites have been closed, the decision to cancel the class on specific sites will be made after consultation with the Campus Administrator at each campus or center.


Approved by: Terry Gaalswyk, President
Date: July 1, 2003
History & Revision:  December 28, 2010
Revision: July 25, 2017 Minnesota State link
Revision:  October 9, 2017 Update TV Notifications