Institutional Policy: GA-23

General Administration
Emergencies and Adverse Weather - Class Cancellations & Campus Closures
February 1, 2022

GA 23-1. Authority


W. Va. Code § 18B-1-6


W. Va. Code § 12-3-13

GA 23-2. Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to set forth protocols for class cancellations, campus closures, and related occurrences at the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (“WVSOM”) due to emergencies and adverse weather conditions.

GA 23-3. Cancellations and Campus Closures


Cancellations are declared when WVSOM classes are cancelled for a specific period of time due to adverse weather or other unforeseen circumstance.  If classes are cancelled, other events and activities scheduled during that same time will be cancelled as well, unless otherwise specified by WVSOM.  During cancellations, offices will not be closed and all employees will be expected to report to work.


Campus closures are declared when all operations of WVSOM are suspended due to a declared emergency or other unforeseen circumstance.  WVSOM Statewide Campus sites may be shut down independently of a WVSOM Main Campus emergency closure.


Information regarding student course work missed during a cancellation or campus closure may be found in WVSOM Institutional Policy E-07: Cancelled Class Policy.

GA 23-4. Authorization of Cancellations and Closures


All decisions on cancellations will be authorized by the President or his/her designee.


Authorization for campus closures will be at the discretion of the President or his/her designee in consultation with local, state, or federal public safety officials.


The Governor of West Virginia has the authority to close any State building.  WVSOM will comply with any directive from the Governor’s Office concerning campus closures.

GA 23-5. Notification of Cancellation or Closure


If the decision to cancel classes is made during the normal working day, when classes are in session, the decision will be announced over the WVSOM Emergency Notification System, in the classroom, and/or by other available means.


Notification of decisions for all other cancellations and campus closures will be made, as appropriate, via:


A campus-wide email;


The WVSOM Emergency Notification System; and/or


Local radio and television stations.


In most cases, campus closure notification should be announced by 7:00 a.m. on the day of closure.

GA-23-6.  Employee Management During Cancellations and Campus Closures


In the event that a building or a section of a building is closed because of heat loss, power outage, or other reason, employees working in the affected area will be permitted to take their work to another area or building on campus or, with supervisor approval, work remotely.  In the alternative, in consultation with and approval by the supervisor, the employee may elect to take annual leave that day, take the day off without pay, take a floating holiday if available, or take compensatory time off. Supervisors must take steps to ensure offices and/or work stations are open to employees at all times when those employees are expected to be at work, including during inclement weather and other disruptive situations.


During utility service disruption, emergency situations, or inclement weather, employees may be asked to perform their duties in alternate work locations. Employees that opt not to work in an alternate location and who have received approval by their supervisor must take accumulated annual leave, accumulated compensatory time, floating holiday time or the employee must be removed from the payroll for the time in question. Time lost from work may be made up in the same work week at the discretion of the employee's supervisor.


If an employee is working remotely via telework and the employee’s electric or internet service is interrupted during the workday, the employee must work on an alternative assignment, move to an alternative work location, or utilize leave as outlined in Section 6.2 above.


Combinations of the alternatives set forth in Section 6.2 may be necessary, but in all cases interruptions of work schedules must be handled in accordance with WVSOM policies, procedures and handbooks, and applicable laws, including West Virginia Code § 12-3-13.


In the event of an extreme situation (tornado, flood, ice storm, campus disturbance, etc.) and the employees’ presence is not required on campus, notification will be disseminated via campus-wide email, the WVSOM Emergency Notification System, and/or available news media.  A decision as to whether the missed time will be paid as working hours or chargeable to annual leave, compensatory time, or a non-pay situation will be determined by the President and communicated through supervisors on the first day normal campus operation is resumed. Individual employees, for whom it is appropriate, may in their best judgment determine the risk of travel to be too great and elect to remain at home or leave campus early.  Those who do so should contact their respective supervisors and request approval to work remotely or take leave as outlined in Section 6.2.


WVSOM operations may be shut down in total or in part because of any circumstance which threatens the health or safety of employees and/or students, such as extreme inclement weather and facility shutdowns.  When WVSOM closes due to a declared emergency, all employees required to work shall be compensated.


All full-time regular employees are eligible for regular pay for work time lost because of a declared emergency. Work time lost will be considered regular work time for pay purposes and will not require time charged to accrued leave and will not require that the hours be made up.


When operational needs require a non-exempt, regular employee to work during a WVSOM declared emergency, in addition to regular pay the employee will receive compensation in either compensatory time off or pay at the rate of time and one-half for the actual hours worked during the declared emergency period.


Exempt employees that work during a declared emergency period receive compensatory time off on an hour-for-hour basis up to 7.5 hours per day. Statewide Campus employees or any other WVSOM employees who are working in an alternate location, as approved by their supervisor, or at WVSOM during a WVSOM declared emergency closure will be compensated as stated in this policy.


Emergency Situations.  In the event that an emergency exists, the President, in conjunction with local or state public safety officials, has the authority to address the emergency situation and close WVSOM. Such a declaration will be transmitted to the Chancellor of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission. The President, working with public safety officials, will determine when the emergency condition no longer exists.


Should the President or his/her designee require an employee to work during a declared emergency, the employee’s time worked shall be compensated in accordance with WVSOM Institutional Policy PE-03: Institutional Holidays and Employee Leave.  If approved, the employee may be permitted to work at an alternate primary work location or work remotely.


Work time lost by any employee during a declared emergency will be considered regular work time for pay purposes and will not require that the time be charged to the employee’s annual leave and will not require that the time be made up.