Emergency Operations and Closure Policy




Procedure Number: Version Number: 3
Classification: Effective Date: 8/14/2012
Responsible University Official: Coordinator, Department Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness


To promote the safety of its employees and students, the University will officially close in instances that include, but are not limited to, inclement weather, natural disasters, public disasters, and energy system failures. The closing may affect all or a portion of the University. During such closings, all employees except those who are defined as "emergency essential" will be requested to leave work or not report for work.


Emergencies may arise from inclement or severe weather, natural disaster, energy system failures, pandemic, mass casualty, fire, bomb threats, acts of terrorism or other events. It is the policy of Saint Louis University to maintain essential business services and operations during any emergency while providing for the protection of life, health, and safety for all students, patients, faculty and staff. Essential business services include those that directly support the University's mission of teaching, research, and patient care, including related administrative and operational activities.


This policy applies to all faculty and staff employees of Saint Louis University with the exception of employees of the Madrid campus.


Emergency Operations Employees are defined as those whose duties and responsibilities are essential in carrying out critical services as defined in specific department emergency operations plans, and guided by the principles for prioritization of emergency response actions. Emergency operations employees are identified by their manager. SLUCare faculty and staff, Public Safety and Security Services staff, and Facilities Services staff are considered emergency operations employees... All emergency operations employees will be required to report to work during a partial or full closing. Any University employee may be required to report for work in the event of an emergency and, if contacted, must abide by rules that apply to on-duty emergency operations personnel.

Snow Schedule: Refers to the situation in which all classes before 10:00 a.m. are suspended, but all other classes are held, all other University activities are continued, and operations and offices of the University continue on their normal schedule.

Cancellation of Classes: Refers to the situation in which scheduled classes are suspended but all other University activities are continued.

Full or Partial Closure of the University: Refers to the situation in which University activities are suspended and some or all functional areas are closed.

Responsible Authority: Refers to the individual designated to determine emergency status and priority level for operations. The vice president for medical affairs and the vice president for academic affairs have been designated as the responsible authorities for closure due to winter storms/inclement weather. The President, or his designee, has been designated as the responsible authorities for making joint decisions regarding closure due to other emergencies. The Director, Emergency Preparedness, who also serves as the emergency incident commander, is the liaison with governmental agencies and will advise and make recommendations to the President regarding University closure.


The University's emergency preparedness plan requires each operating unit to develop a plan appropriate for its own needs. These unit plans will ensure that personnel can maintain essential services when confronted with an emergency. The University will remain open for programs and operations as scheduled except in situations in which emergency conditions warrant implementing the emergency operations plan. A total and complete "closure" of the University is a rare event. A scaled or graduated closure may be implemented based on the severity of the emergency.


The vice president for medical affairs, the vice president for academic affairs, and vice presidents are responsible for developing emergency operations plans for colleges, schools, and/or units within their divisions. The vice presidents will review their plans annually and submit a copy to the office of the director of emergency preparedness. Plans should be reviewed regularly and updates forwarded to the office of emergency preparedness.


7.1 Emergency Operations Plans.

The emergency operations plan will contain information relative to location specific emergencies (e.g., building or campus fire, energy system failure, etc.), as well as contingency plans to maintain essential business services during an emergency. The emergency operations plan will prioritize essential services and identify emergency operations employees, resources, and supplies needed to maintain delivery.

Decisions to limit or suspend campus services and operations are made according to the nature and extent of the emergency, and are guided by the principles for prioritization of emergency response actions. Individual departments do not have the authority to make decisions concerning closure. Each division and department is responsible for developing an internal communication plan to notify their employees of the University’s operating status, including the suspension and/or cancellation of classes.

During an emergency, the University may utilize multiple methods to communicate with employees, including, but not limited to, cellular and landline phones, digital signage where available, e-mail, and the University’s safety and emergency preparedness website. If an emergency occurs mid-day, the responsible authority will notify the vice presidents and deans, who in turn, will assure that all employees receive timely notification of the official emergency priority level and the actions required. A decision concerning the University's operating status will be made each day and communicated through the notification channels listed in the section of this policy titled “Notification of Closure.”

7.2 Prioritization of University Services and Functions

  Although many emergency responses will be made based upon recommendations from outside sources, local, state or federal agencies, there may be many instances during an emergency when response actions will be based upon the unique issues or circumstances on campus. The following principles have been developed to guide decision-making in those instances:

 Principles for Prioritization of Emergency Response Actions

  1. Health, welfare, and safety of faculty, staff, students, and others present on campus.
  2. Health, welfare, and safety of animals housed on campus.
  3. Maintenance of essential mission functions of research, teaching, and patient care.
  4. Maintenance of essential campus services to support essential mission functions.

7.3 Scalable Campus Closure Plan Based Upon Principles for Prioritization of Emergency Response Actions

The priority level and corresponding action will be determined based on an analysis of conditions and impact of the emergency on each service, building, or campus. Refer to the “Procedures” and “Notification of Closure” sections in this policy regarding communication of the priority level.

Priority Actions Level

N/A Business as usual

  1. Suspension or dismissal of select classes, and/or cancellation of select public events
  2. Suspension or dismissal of all classes, and/or cancellation of all public events
  3. Closure of Select Business Functions
  4. Closure of Select Buildings
  5. Closure of Select Campuses
  6. Closure of all Units except those that support Prioritization Areas 1-3 listed above
  7. Total Closure: Total closure would not be an option selected by the administration, but necessitated by external forces such as a large-scale natural disaster or pandemic

7.4 Compensation During Closing

Decisions regarding pay and work schedules for employees who are ready, willing, but unable to work due to a University closure will be determined by University administration based on the nature of the emergency, ability to implement alternative work arrangements, and budgetary considerations. Employees who cannot report to work due to illness or who had pre-approved vacation time must report sick or vacation hours for that period on their time records consistent with applicable University policies. Employees who are required or called in to work during closure will receive their regular rate of pay along with approved overtime, as defined under human resources guidelines and as defined by governing labor agreements for unionized employees. Emergency essential employees who do not have an approved scheduled sick or vacation day and do not report to work during an emergency will receive an unexcused absence without pay, which may result in disciplinary action.

7.5 Ensuring Continuity of Campus Services and Programs  

University departments will be instructed to be as flexible as possible to enable all faculty, staff, graduate assistants, and student-employees to work. These efforts shall include the opportunity to work from home and other remote locations where possible; allowing full-time employees to work modified schedules; using flexible work schedules; and other appropriate solutions.

Unless directed otherwise, individuals who are able to work should report for work, given their capabilities, and support the department or university in whatever capacity is needed. Individuals already on vacation may be instructed to report to work if requested by their supervisor. Faculty, staff, graduate assistants, and student-employees may be required to work outside their usual classification or in another department.

During a major emergency, departments experiencing a significant disruption to their ability to deliver essential services should promptly contact human resources at (314) 977-2303 or hr@slu.edu to report emergency staffing needs. Human Resources will endeavor to use internal and external personnel and resources to meet department’s needs based upon the priority of the requests. SLUCare departments should contact the University Medical Group’s Executive Director, Clinical Operations for staffing needs.

Faculty, staff, graduate assistants and student employees will be asked to be as flexible as possible with regard to type of assignment and length or schedule of shifts, or other changes to their work that may arise during a crisis. Depending on availability of personnel, training may or may not be available; however, no employee will be asked to perform work that would endanger the health or safety of the employee or others.

7.6 Winter Storms / Inclement Weather

When a storm with potential for affecting travel conditions and/or the ability to receive, park, and exit vehicles on campus occurs, the vice president for medical affairs and the vice president for academic affairs have been designated as the responsible authorities for closure due to winter storms/inclement weather. They will make a decision regarding whether conditions warrant a snow schedule, cancellation of classes, or closure of the University. The decision will be communicated to employees and students through the communication mediums listed below under Notification of Closure. Each day a separate decision concerning the University's operating status will be made and communicated through the notification channels listed below. Snow schedules and cancellation of classes affect students only. All employees and service contractors are expected to maintain a normal schedule during a snow schedule or period of class cancellation.

During inclement weather when road conditions are hazardous and may endanger the employee's safety, non-emergency essential employees may arrive late or leave early to avoid hazardous road conditions. In these situations, the supervisor is strongly encouraged to adjust non-exempt employee work schedules to allow for make-up of any time missed by either working late that day or making up the time during the same workweek. When the University is not closed, a non-emergency essential employee who believes they cannot report for work due to inclement weather and who is unable to make up the full workday may use accrued vacation leave.

Emergency essential employees are expected to report for their regularly scheduled shift when there is a University emergency or closing. Employees may be contacted and given directives regarding call-in and/or changes in report times to include non-scheduled work hours.

7.7 Notification of Closure

In the event of inclement weather, University closings will be announced on:

  • KMOX radio 1120 AM,
  • local TV channels Fox 2, KMOV 4, and KSDK 5, and
  • the University Snow Information Line at 977-SNOW (977-7669).

The vice president for medical affairs and the vice president for academic affairs have been designated as the responsible authorities for closure due to inclement weather.

In the event of any major emergency that makes it necessary for the University’s Incident Command Center to be in operation, the emergency incident commander, in consultation with the President, will initiate notification of the University’s operating status via the emergency communication system. This system notifies faculty, staff, and students of the emergency utilizing contact information listed for each individual in Banner. Notification may be sent via voice mail message to home and office phone numbers, and text messages sent to the individual’s cell phone. Examples of emergencies in this category could include: natural disaster, energy system failures, pandemic, mass casualty, fire, bomb threats, or acts of terrorism.

7.8 Return to Work Procedures - Influenza

Current CDC recommendations state that employees who do not work in health care and have influenza-like illness symptoms should stay home at least 24 hours after they are fever-free without taking fever-reducing medication. Employees with influenza-like illness who work in a health care setting should not return to work for seven days from their first symptoms or until 24 hours after symptoms have ended -- whichever is longer, in accordance with current CDC recommendations. Before SLU health care employees who had influenza-like illness are allowed to return to work, they must be cleared by the department of Employee Health. Employees will be seen only by appointment, scheduled by calling (314) 268-5499. Appointments are scheduled after a phone evaluation to reduce the spread of disease. While members of SLU's department of employee health are available to assist supervisors and departments of non-health care employees, the involvement of employee health is not mandatory.


Staff Staff Sick Leave Policy
Vacation Policy
Family and Medical Leave Act Policy (FMLA)


This policy was reviewed by the Executive Staff, the Faculty Senate Executive Committee, and the Staff Advisory Committee Executive Board.

This policy has been approved by:
Lawrence Biondi, S.J.
Saint Louis University