Emergency Closing Procedure
Closing a Wright State University campus will occur only under severe and extreme circumstances. Every effort will be made to maintain classes and keep a campus open. However, severe weather conditions and/or a declared state of emergency due to a dangerous situation may result in a campus closure or a delay in opening.
All employees are expected to report to work unless a closure or delay is announced via WSU Alert, Wright State’s emergency notification system. Essential Employees are expected to report to work in the event of a campus closure or delay in opening when they have been pre-designated or notified by their unit manager.
When the Dayton campus is closed or delayed in opening, the College of Nursing and Health, School of Professional Psychology, and university libraries will also be closed or delayed in opening. However, the Boonshoft School of Medicine, Frederick A. White Center, and Nutter Center have developed internal procedures for closures and delays in opening. Deans, directors, and unit managers of those operations will determine their status after consultation with the appropriate university officials and event promoters.
Procedures presented in this document will be followed, as applicable, by the Dayton and Lake campuses.
Wright State University is a community of people and its campuses remain open during normal operating schedules and conditions. While the safety of all employees and students is our highest priority, the importance of maintaining an effective campus operation is recognized.
Members of the university community must assume responsibility for their own safety as well as for their academic or employment obligations. Individuals must ultimately decide whether to travel to a Wright State campus when environmental or road conditions become questionably unsafe.
Making a decision to close a campus or delay it’s opening will be based on best available information about current and forecasted conditions from reliable public and private sources. Every effort will be made to notify the campus community of the decision utilizing expedient and effective methods of communication.
Campus Open – Academic classes and university offices are operating as scheduled. If departments and private individuals or groups sponsoring events decide to cancel a class or a scheduled event when a campus remains open, it is the responsibility of the faculty, instructor, individual, or group to notify their students or guests.
Campus Closed – Classes are cancelled and campus offices are closed. Essential Employees will report to work as required by their unit manager. This decision normally results from law enforcement agencies declaring travel emergencies and advising people to remain at home. If this level seems likely, WSU should be prepared to anticipate such police actions and close in time to allow people safe travel home or in time to prevent them from leaving home for the university.
Delay in Campus Opening – Campus will open for business at a time designated by the Provost or designee. Classes scheduled before designated time of campus opening will resume at the next scheduled class time. Essential Employees will report to work as required by their unit manager. This decision will be made when severe weather results in dangerous road conditions during morning hours but with the expectation that road conditions will improve before noon, either by natural occurrence or by the action of road crews.
Essential Employees – Wright State employees who have been designated as critical to the operation of the unit, whose skill or expertise is necessary to the success of that operation, particularly during an emergency, and whose absence from duty could endanger the safety and well being of the campus population and/or infrastructure. Essential Employee designations are determined and approved by the division/department.
Emergency Responders – Essential Employees whose duties include an immediate and direct response to an anticipated or actual emergency.
Considerations for a Closure or Delay
More than 16,000 students, 2,000 employees, and hundreds of auxiliary personnel travel to Wright State on roadways. While employees and students live within a few miles of campus, many must travel longer distances. Functions and services including Physical Plant, residence halls, dining services, and other critical operations must be maintained at the direction of the appropriate divisional vice presidents and department directors.
If actual or anticipated weather conditions merit consideration for altering the operations of a campus, the following procedures will be followed:
- The Provost or designee will have the final authority to make the decision to cancel classes, close campus, or delay the opening of the Dayton campus.
- The Dean of Lake campus or designee will have the final authority to make the decision to cancel classes, close campus, or delay the opening of the Lake campus.
- Every effort will be made to make the decision to close or delay the opening of campus by 5:00 a.m.
- When the decision to close or delay the opening of campus is made, the campus community will be notified via pre-selected WSU Alert channels.
- Employees of university contractors will be notified of their starting time and/or reporting status by their supervisors.
- The decision to close or delay will be based on information gathered about weather and road conditions from sources that may include the Ohio State Highway Patrol and surrounding law enforcement agencies, local transportation agencies, National Weather Service and other official weather information, and from WSU Physical Plant and University Police departments.
- Should one or more of the following conditions exist, the Provost or designee will consider a closure or delay:
- County Sheriff declares a Level 2 snow emergency. If a Level 3 snow emergency is declared, employees and students should assume that there is a delay in opening and a possible closing of a campus (Greene County for Dayton, Mercer County for Lake).
- Other local colleges and universities are closed (Sinclair Community College, University of Dayton, Wilberforce University, Central State University, Clark State Community College).
- Wright-Patterson Air Force Base is closed or on a delay.
- The provost will be advised of this information in consultation with the vice president for business and fiscal affairs and the vice president for student affairs.
- In consultation with the Provost, the administrative offices of the following operations will determine their own operational status: Boonshoft School of Medicine, Cox Heart Institute, Frederick A. White Center, Ellis Institute, and Research Park offices.
- When the provost or designee closes or delays the opening of the Dayton campus, the following individuals will be notified by the provost or designee in the order presented who will promptly notify employees who report to them:
- Vice presidents of all divisions
- WSU Chief of Police
- Associate Vice President of Communications and Marketing
- Director of Physical Plant
- The associate vice president of communications and marketing or designee is the primary point of contact for Crisis Communications and initiating emergency notification protocol. Communications and Marketing will establish effective alert messages for transmission via WSU Alert, Wright State’s emergency notification system. In the event of severe winter weather, the following WSU Alert channels will be used to inform employees and students of closures and delays:
- Official listserv email
- Text and voice messaging (to those opted in to this service)
- Local radio & television stations
- Wright State Homepage and WINGS
- Campus Information Line
- Facebook and Twitter
- Department office telephone voicemail greetings should be changed to reflect the same information about the closure/delay in opening released by Communications and Marketing.
- Telephone notification trees within each division should be developed as part of a business continuity plan to communicate with all faculty and staff regarding the status of operations during any emergency including inclement weather. This information should be reviewed and updated no later than November 1 of each academic year.
- PLEASE NOTE: Employees and students are to be instructed not to call the Wright State University Police Department. Telephone lines must remain open for emergency use only.
General Statements of Policy
- The Provost has the final authority to make the decision to close or delay the opening of the Dayton campus. The line of succession from the Provost regarding these matters proceeds as follows:
- Executive Vice President for Planning
- Senior Vice President for Finance and Business Affairs
- Vice President for Student Affairs
- The Dean of Lake campus has the final authority to make the decision to cancel classes, close campus, or delay the opening of the Lake campus. The line of succession from the Dean of Lake Campus regarding these matters proceeds as follows (all positions are Lake campus appointments):
- Associate Dean
- Student Services Director
- Business Manager
- The winter term class schedules shall contain a synopsis of the Emergency Closing Procedures and information about WSU Alert, Wright State’s emergency notification system.
- Emergency Management shall provide the university community with information about the Emergency Closing Procedures no later than December 1st each year.
- Communications and Marketing shall annually publish the call letters of all broadcast media that will be provided information regarding.
- Academic deans will be responsible for off-campus operations and activities, will develop and implement effective procedures for determining their operational status, and will communicate that information to all relevant employees, students, and the general public, as applicable.
- Unit managers are responsible for assuring that full-time, part-time, temporary, and student employees are aware of and understand university and departmental procedure for emergency closing.
- Departments with operations involving external groups (contractors, food service, etc.) will communicate information regarding closures and delays to those groups.
- Faculty, unclassified, and classified employees will receive regular pay for time associated with a campus closure or delay in opening. Essential Employees who work during a campus closure or delay in opening will receive no additional compensation.
- Classified employees, excluding student employees, who are not required to work during a closing, will receive regular pay for regular shift hours associated with the closing.
- Essential Employees designated to work by unit managers will be expected to come to work in the event of a campus closure or delay in opening.
- Employees who are on leave when a general closing is designated will not have that leave time reinstated.
- As a general rule, when the university is closed, such activities as music and theatre performances, intramural activities, club meetings, student cinema, etc., are cancelled. Intercollegiate athletics and events booked at the Nutter Center are the responsibility of the athletic director and the Nutter Center executive director, respectively. Departments and private individuals or groups sponsoring events are responsible for contacting their invitees/guests of the cancellation.
- Many events at the Nutter Center occur during the evening or weekend with more than 12,000 people in attendance. Many of those people may travel from other regions of Ohio and beyond. Therefore, the Nutter Center administration must evaluate circumstances other than those that may close the university. Events that are canceled or delayed will be announced via media outlets.
- Essential Employees are defined as those who have been designated as critical to the operation of the unit, whose skill or expertise is necessary to the success of that operation, particularly during an emergency, and whose absence from duty could endanger the safety and well being of the campus population and/or infrastructure. Essential Employee designations are determined and approved by the division/department.
- Emergency Responders are defined as Essential Employees whose duties include an immediate and direct response to an anticipated or actual emergency.
- If a campus must be evacuated, all buildings and the entire campus is off limits to everyone except designated Emergency Responders. No other employees or students will be permitted to remain on or enter campus unless approved by the Incident Commander.
- When the university is open, vacation time will be used by employees who choose to stay at home or are unable to travel to their campus work location.