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Info about PSU closures due to weather
Author: Finance and Administration
Posted: October 31, 2013

To:       The University Community

From:  Monica Rimai, Vice President, Finance and Administration

Date:   November 1, 2013

Re:      Inclement Weather Procedure

 

As we head toward winter, declining temperatures and possible snow, it is time to once again review the University’s procedure for responding to significant inclement weather.  As a public entity and residential campus, PSU is open for business every day of the academic year, except for recognized holidays and other periods of official closure.  From time to time, however, weather conditions are sufficiently extreme or hazardous such that operating the University would jeopardize the life safety of our students, faculty and staff. When this happens, the University will respond in one of two ways:

1.     PSU will open late or close early, based on weather conditions; or

2.     PSU will close completely, canceling all classes and events and providing only essential services. 

Notification of Closures: It is the responsibility of each employee to find out if a decision has been made concerning closure or delays in opening the campus.  PSU will only notify the community if a decision has been made to close the campus entirely, delay the start of the business day, or close the campus before the end of the business day.  If foul weather impacts the start of the day, we will make reasonable efforts to notify the community of this decision by 4:30 a.m. If foul weather requires action later in the day, we will make reasonable efforts to notify the community by 3:00 p.m.  Notification will be made using a variety of media, including:

 

      The PSU ALERT system: This will be the primary communication channel for closure notifications.  Please take this opportunity to update your PSU Alert contact information.  Updating your information is simple: log into Banweb.pdx.edu, select Personal Information, then select PSU Alert Emergency Notification System, update our contact information, and click submit.

      The PSU website at: www.pdx.edu

      Voice mail messages: To access your voice mail from off campus dial 503-725-7000 and follow the prompts to retrieve your messages.

      Switchboard Message: Employees who do not have personal or departmental voice mail should call the campus switchboard at 503-725-3000.

      Social Media Messaging through University Communications

      Media Announcement: PSU will post notification to the media's emergency communications network which includes all major AM/FM radio and television stations in the Portland area.

If PSU Closes: When the University closes due to inclement weather, all scheduled performances, meetings or other events are cancelled unless a specific exception is approved in accordance with University procedures. When inclement weather requires closure or curtailment of operations after the work day has begun, notification will be made by the Vice President for Finance and Administration and communicated through the appropriate Vice Presidents, Provost, and Deans to schools and colleges. Such a decision will normally be made by 3:00 p.m. to avoid problems for students attending evening classes. That said, because we never know when the weather might change, the timing of a decision to close after the work day has begun is subject to change.

Reporting Procedures for Classified Employees: If the University closes, do not come to work. If a University closure is announced before the start of your normal work shift, Article 63 of the SEIU Collective Bargaining Agreement authorizes you to use accrued vacation, compensatory time, exchange time, personal leave, or leave without pay during the period in which your work shift is curtailed due to the inclement weather or hazardous conditions. This article also provides that, when the University is open, an employee reporting within two hours of the scheduled starting time can make up the lost time under specified conditions. If PSU announces a closure or curtailment of work after you have started your work shift, you will be paid for the remainder of your work shift.

 Essential Services and Facilities: Regardless of the closure decision, classified employees designated to perform essential duties will be expected to come to work. Examples include public safety employees, residence hall kitchen workers, and those responsible for snow removal or storm clean-up. Supervisors of employees who perform essential service work are responsible for communicating attendance expectations in advance and discussing anticipated transportation difficulties. In accordance with Article 63 of the SEIU contract, essential employees who are required to work during periods of closure or curtailment will be paid at the rate of time-and-one-half for all hours worked during such periods.

The following facilities will be open for students during a closure or delayed opening with essential staffing:

      Campus Public Safety

      University Housing and Residence Halls

      Facilities and Planning

Reporting Procedures for Unclassified Employees: If the University closes, do not come to work. In the event of a closure, Unclassified Employees on 12 month appointments who are Overtime Exempt (includes unclassified, unrepresented, and excluded employees who complete monthly roster sheets such as faculty, senior administrators, managers, department chairs, supervisors, and certain professional and administrative staff) will be required to use their available Governor's Day, vacation leave, or leave without pay to cover work time missed due to the closure. 

Unclassified Employees who are Overtime Eligible (includes unclassified employees who complete monthly time sheets such as some Academic Professionals, some Research Faculty and FADM staff) will be required to use their Governor's Day, vacation leave, compensatory time or leave without pay to cover work time missed due to the closure.

Faculty Notification of Class Cancellation: Faculty should discuss this policy with their students at the beginning of the term and are encouraged to include it in the course syllabus, so students fully understand - in advance of inclement weather - how to get this information prior to traveling to campus. In addition, all faculty members are asked to exercise flexibility with students who miss class, or are unable to submit coursework as a result of inclement weather.

Public School Closures: In the event of inclement weather, PSU may remain open, even though the public schools and local child-care centers choose to close. When this occurs, supervisors are encouraged to recognize the difficulties this creates for working parents by responding with as much flexibility as their particular work environment will allow.

If PSU does not delay the start of the workday or close due to inclement weather, but you are concerned about your personal safety, you should make the right decision for yourself.  Our ability to know the precise weather conditions where you live and to know your particular personal situation is limited.  We encourage you to make a decision about coming to work or attending classes that best meets your needs.  That said, if you choose not come to work when PSU is open, you must use vacation time or take unpaid leave for the time you are not in attendance.  If you are a student who chooses not to come to campus when classes are being held, then you are making a decision not to attend class.

Additional Information

After an inclement weather event, there may be questions about reporting work hours and leave usage. Human Resources can provide additional guidance on these issues at askhrc@pdx.edu, or by phone at 503-725-4926.