Closure Policy

Policy number16-06
Responsible officeBusiness and Finance
Enforcement officialVice President for Business and Finance
ClassificationBoard of Trustees-delegated Policy
Category10. Facilities and Environmental Management

Statement of policy

University operations may be modified due to weather, facility damage, or other emergency conditions that prevent normal operations. County or State Health Department Orders, Executive Orders or similar directives may require temporary modification to University operations. This policy describes how campus will be notified regarding reduced operations or closure decision and which faculty and/or staff may need to work.

Summary of contents/major changes

Notification procedures were updated to reflect the use of current technology to disseminate information regarding the reduction or closure of University operations. Moved to current policy template.

  1. Purpose of Policy

    This policy pertains to modifications of normal operations that result in the reduction or closure of University operations.

  2. Stakeholders Most Impacted by the Policy

    This Policy applies to faculty, staff, students and all campus visitors.

  3. Key Definitions

    1. Closure: Classes and campus events will not be held or will be held with modified services or operations.

    2. Essential Services or Essential Staff: Offices/departments which must maintain staff on duty regardless of the conditions.

      1. Public Safety

      2. Robert M. Beam Power Plant

    3. Conditional Essential Services or Conditional Essential Staff: Those offices/departments which may be required to maintain staff during certain conditions at the direction of the president, provost, vice president, and/or management for the designated area(s).  These include:

      1. Facilities Management

      2. Housing and Dining Services 

      3. Marketing and Communications 

      4. Office of Information Technology 

      5. Any other department or unit whose personnel is critical to address the condition resulting in modification of normal operations as determined by the divisional vice president or president.

    4. Critical Services or Critical Staff:  Those services that must be maintained during a prolonged closure for an emergency situation such as a pandemic, terrorist attack or extensive physical damage to the University.  Critical services are required to preserve either human or animal lives, maintain the physical infrastructure, or continue essential business services until the emergency has been mitigated.  The Vice President for the department or unit in question will make the determination regarding what are Critical Services or Critical Staff.

    5. Non-Essential Services or Non-Essential Staff:  All classes and other University operations and events unless designated and announced as Conditional Essential and Essential services as stated in Sections 3.1 and 3.2.

  4. Full Policy Details

    1. Unless otherwise posted, the University will maintain normal operations.

    2. The decision to close all or part of the University for reasons of weather, building conditions, disruptive actions or health risks will be made by the Vice President for Business and Finance in consultation with the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.  The Office of the Vice President for Business and Finance will handle details and questions regarding this policy.

    3. Closure begins at the time of the University announcement and ends when announced or at the start of the next calendar day.  All employee work schedules within the period of the Closure qualify for the holiday period pay designation. Classes, operations and events will be canceled, and offices closed at the time of the official notification.  Students, faculty, staff and visitors will be advised as to any needed precautions prior to being dismissed or sent home.

    4. Closure may apply to all classes, activities, events, and offices.  The University may also modify normal operations for specific classes, activities, events, and offices.  Essential Services employees and Conditional Essential services staff will work as prescribed by this policy.  The notification of Closure will specify to what classes, activities, events, or offices it applies.

    5. During a Closure or a modification of normal operations, Essential staff should report per their scheduled shifts/work schedules.  If already at work, all Essential Employees will remain at work.  The Vice President for the department or unit in question will determine what services are Critical Services as each situation arises.

    6. During a Closure or a modification of normal operations, Conditional Essential staff should report, or remain, at work per their scheduled shifts/work schedules if directed by their Divisional Director or designee. The Vice President for the department or unit in question will determine what services are Critical Services as each situation arises.

    7. Cancellation of programs at off-site locations, athletic events, and special events will be made on a case-by-case basis and will be announced via the University’s various communication channels.

    8. Closure Communication:  

      1. When this Policy is invoked for cases of complete or near complete closure, the University will announce such Closure on its alert system, its website (, and through local news media.  In addition to text and phone alerts (unless declined) the University will post any Closure announcement to WMU’s home page.  

        The University will make every reasonable attempt to notify local news media by 6:00 a.m. on the day of Closure.  If only selective operations are involved, or if the situation develops after the beginning of the 8:00 a.m. workday, each affected department will be notified by the Vice President of the unit as well as through the alert system and WMU’s home page.

      2. The Vice President for Business and Finance will notify the Director of Public Safety and the Director of Strategic Communications of the need to close or modify normal operations.  Public Safety will issue a WMU alert.  Marketing and Strategic Communications (Marcom) will notify the local news media and post the closure/suspension/reduction announcement to the University’s home page. Marcom will also monitor and update social media and coordinate with units regarding operational status and provide updates as needed. 

      3. During Closure or a modification of normal operations, the President, the Vice President of the department/unit, or their designee will be responsible for informing employees if they are deemed Essential, Conditional Essential, or are needed to perform critical services.

    9. Pay Status for Closure or Modifications of Normal Operation of the University:  

      1. Essential and Conditional Essential employees required to work will be placed on a “holiday pay” status from the time of the Closure until the end of their shift/workday or until such time as the emergency period ends, then such pay status is curtailed.

      2. Essential and Conditional Essential employees are expected to report to work during any announced Closure unless informed otherwise.  To be excused from work during Closure, they must follow regular leave policies. 

      3. Employees required to remain off work due to a prolonged Closure of the University will be informed of their pay status and/or options as soon as the Closure situation is evaluated.

      4. Any employee who, prior to the announcement of Closure, has reported in with sick leave, was scheduled to be on annual leave, who leaves work early, or who does not report to work due to weather or other emergency related reasons will be subject to standard requirements relating to sick leave, annual leave, or leave without pay for the period not worked.

    10. Exceptions:

      1. Should any part of this policy conflict with a collective bargaining agreement, then the collective bargaining agreement prevails.

      2. If an employee is not deemed Essential or Conditional Essential and is subject to an approved telecommuting agreement, then the employee does not need to work during a Closure.

      3. The University reserves the right to change an employee or group of employees’ work schedules without creating a Closure.

  5. Accountability

    Failure to follow this Policy and any associated procedures may subject WMU employees to disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal from employment by the University, consistent with applicable procedures and Collective Bargaining Agreements; and may subject WMU students to conduct actions, up to and including removal.

  6. FAQs

    1. How do I sign up for WMU alerts and advisory notices?

      You can locate WMU alert and advisory notice information at

    2. Where can I find the operational status of the University?

      The emergency number for the University is (269) 387-1001.  Employees may call that number to find out the operational status of the University or consult social media and other communications channels as identified above.


Effective date of current versionAugust 1, 2022
Date first adoptedMarch 23, 1978
Revision history
Friday, June 17, 2022 - 09:31 June 2, 1978 August 1, 1979 April 1, 1985 December 1, 1986 February 1, 1988 November 1, 1989 January 1, 1991 December 1, 1992 Jnuary 1, 1996 December 1, 2000 April 1, 2009
Proposed date of next reviewAugust 1, 2025


Certified by

Vice President for Business and Finance 

At the direction of

Vice President for Business and Finance