Holding Classes in Weather Emergencies

Management of Emergencies

In general, the president, with the Senior Emergency Response Group (SERG), is responsible for identifying and monitoring emergencies at the College. While emergencies can take many forms, most, in Maine, involve weather.

As relevant, the SERG identifies and declares a weather emergency, and empowers specific individuals to establish priorities and coordinate emergency efforts, especially communication with faculty, students, and staff about closures and cancellations.

At the announcement of a weather emergency, the SERG determines whether College services will be open or closed. Any announcements of closures are made via several media, including Blackboard Connect, an automated phone and email notification system. The SERG may decide to close the offices of the College and/or cancel classes. When offices are closed, only “essential” personnel report for work as scheduled. Essential personnel are those whose service is critical to the operation of the College, recognizing the particular needs of a residential institution. When a weather emergency is declared and only essential staff employees report, the staffing is minimal in offices and services of the College.

CLASSES. If the College is in session when a weather emergency is declared, the operating assumption is that classes continue to be held. The announcement would be:

“Due to inclement weather, Bates College offices are closed. Only personnel designated in advanced as essential should report to work. Dining Services will be available. Classes will be held unless specifically canceled by the instructor. Students should check their email and the learning management system to determine if individual classes have been canceled by the instructor.”

On rare occasions, the SERG may declare a weather emergency so severe that classes are canceled. The announcement would be:

“Due to inclement weather, Bates College is closed. Only personnel designated in advance as essential should report to work. Dining Services will be available. Classes are canceled.”

These announcements are made through a Blackboard Connect to the College community, on the website if it is operating, and on local radio and television stations.

Even if classes are not canceled, individual instructors whose travel to the campus would be hazardous, or who, for other reasons, are unable to meet their classes, may decide to cancel their classes and reschedule them at a later date. Instructors who cancel classes must, to the best of their ability, inform their students. An instructor may notify students through email class list-serves or via Lyceum, the learning management system. If the Instructor will be holding classes, they should notify their students, and to arrange for the classroom to be unlocked contact __________by email: ________ or by cell phone:  207-_________.

All instructors are advised to include on their course syllabi information on how class meeting cancellations are communicated to students (e.g., via email class lists or Lyceum), with instructions for students on how to check for the information.

Instructors who cancel a class should make up the class at a later date; they should reschedule during regular academic class meeting times using the campus calendar and web request form to schedule an appropriate room and time.

DISRUPTED COMMUNICATION SYSTEMS. In the event that electricity, web, and/or phone services are disrupted, the security office, or a designated alternate site, is the College’s central communication center. An emergency telephone information number, 786-6111 is provided and published in College publications (Bates Directory and Bates Student Handbook). This number can be used to obtain current information.

For information about other possible campus emergencies, see http://www.bates.edu/security/emergency-information/