Unscheduled Cancellations of Classes

SFU Policies and Procedures

Date

December 6, 1974

Revision Date

November 26, 2009

Number

GP 04

Revision No.

E

1.0 Purpose

From time to time, an unusual occurrence may make it necessary to cancel classes, postpone exams or close the University to ensure public safety. The purpose of this policy is to set out how and by whom decisions to cancel classes or close the University will be made and to establish what other conditions may pertain to staffing and compensation during cancellations and closures. Also addressed are procedures pertaining to the postponement of final examinations.

2.0 Definitions

Class Cancellation: When and where it is deemed necessary, classes may be cancelled. Notice that classes are cancelled means that classes will not meet as scheduled during the cancellation period. During regular hours of operation a notification to cancel classes will specify when and where the class cancellation goes into effect. For example, a notice published at 12:00pm may specify that classes on the Burnaby campus that begin at 1:30pm or after are cancelled. Notice that classes are cancelled does not necessarily mean that other University events also are cancelled. In cases when classes are cancelled but the University remains open, faculty and staff are expected to work their regular hours.

Closure: Closure refers to a decision to suspend some of its operations and activities within a specified area of the University. If closure is announced, staff and faculty scheduled to work at the specified site are not required to report to work. During a closure, staff in some units who are responsible to provide critical services may be asked to remain at, or to report for, work.

Service Units: Service Units are those units responsible for providing critical services to the University and its members. Service Units may, depending on circumstances, include units providing facilities services, information technology, security, communications, risk assessment, finance, lodging, food services, human resources, volunteer coordination, student services and health services.

Regular Hours of Operation: Regular hours of operation are those times when academic, administrative and other activities and events are normally scheduled. Regular hours of operation may vary based on the campus and/or the nature of the work or activity.

Emergency: An event that is caused by accident, fire, explosion or technical failure, or by the forces of nature, and requires prompt coordination of action of persons or property to protect the health, safety, or welfare of people or to limit damage to property.

Emergency Operations Committee (EOC): The EOC brings together representative stakeholders engaged in coordinating the University’s response to unusual conditions. Its duties may include the setting of priorities, establishing and maintaining communications and access to resources during an emergency Event. The EOC Director reports to and takes direction from the Policy Group.

Policy Group: Policy Group membership is drawn from the University President and Vice Presidents. The Director of the EOC makes recommendations to, and seeks policy direction from, the Policy Group.

3.0 Policy

3.1 The University will continue to operate during all scheduled working hours unless a situation significantly increases the difficulty and/or risk to faculty, staff or students from remaining on University grounds or in University facilities.

3.2 The primary criteria in determining whether to cancel classes or close a part of the University will be the University's ability to continue safely to offer classes, tutorials and labs, and the ability of faculty, staff and students to travel safely to and from the University. University Administrators may close the campus if it is deemed unsafe to remain open. In exceptional circumstances, the University will extend its normal hours of operation to provide food and shelter for people unable to leave. When an event requires a coordinated response, the EOC will be activated. 

3.3 The decision to cancel classes, or close the University will be made by the President after consulting with the designated Vice President or Executive Director at each campus.

3.4 Decisions to cancel classes, postpone examinations or close the University may be made separately and may affect each campus differently. During regular hours of operation the University will strive to remain open; however, classes and events may be cancelled to prevent students and others from travelling to campus.

3.5 Postponed examinations will be rescheduled or alternative arrangements made.

3.6 Units responsible for organizing University events are responsible for assessing the risks and deciding whether an event should proceed or be cancelled based on the safety of participants, the operation of utility services and life safety systems. They will also be responsible for communicating their decision to event participants, Campus Security, Facilities Services or Operations and Public Affairs and Media Relations.

3.7 In some situations the University will need to keep certain facilities  open even when classes and events are cancelled, examinations postponed or the University closed. A list of departments and services that may be required to provide critical services appears in Appendix II). It can be anticipated that some or all of the employees in such departments may be asked to remain at work or to report for work to provide emergency services. Under emergency conditions, particular attention may need to be paid to certain research operations, including Animal Care.

3.8 Senior administrators are expected to remain available during emergency situations. Supervisors who are away or unable to get to work should ensure that someone on-site is appointed to act with the authority and responsibility needed to provide direction for the employees they supervise. The supervisor should communicate the name of the person in the acting role to both the employees and his/her supervisor. Supervisors, will give due consideration and provide accommodation for employees with legitimate needs.

3.9 University employees will be compensated as follows when a partial or full closure of the University is implemented under this policy:

    3.9.1 Employees (continuing and temporary) scheduled for work at the University site and who would have been at work except for the closure will have their salary maintained. The time will be recorded as "T" on the Payroll Report, University Closure 530 for salaried employees and 285 for hourly employees. Release from attending the work-site under a notice of closure shall not be considered University holidays.

    3.9.2 Employees scheduled to work at home or off-site will be expected to work the scheduled work hours and paid at their regular rate.

    3.9.3 Employees who were not scheduled to be at work and who had instead scheduled vacation, sick leave, compensating time off for overtime, days off in lieu of statutory holidays, modified days off, normal days off or personal leave will have their time recorded as scheduled before the closure was announced.

    3.9.4 Employees who are not covered by collective agreements and who are asked to report for their regularly scheduled hours of work to provide critical services shall be given the equivalent time off for all hours actually worked during a closure, with such time to be taken within the following calendar month.

    3.9.5 Employees who are covered by collective agreements shall be governed by the provisions in their agreements.

    3.9.6 Where a supervisor has accommodated an employee with special needs by allowing them to leave prior to a University closure, scheduling of make-up time must be approved by the supervisor.

4.0 Scope

The Policy applies to all Lower Mainland campuses of Simon Fraser University.

5.0 Roles and Responsibilities

Roles and responsibilities not established above are set out in “Procedures: Class Cancellation or University Closure, and Notification.”

6.0 Authority

This policy is administered under the authority of the Vice President, Finance & Administration.

Appendix 1: Related Policies

This policy should be read and understood in conjunction with the following policies and procedures:

  • GP 17 University Occupational Health & Safety
  • GP 25 Response to Violent and Threatening Behaviour
  • GP 31 Emergency Management of Physical and Other Disasters
  • GP 36 Use of University Space
  • AD 9.13 Working Conditions
  • AD 10.13 Work Schedules
  • T 20.01 Grading and the Reconsideration of Grades
  • T 20.02 Final Examinations
  • T 30.01 Course Scheduling

Appendix II: Service Units

The following departments and/or units may be called on to provide critical services during a course cancellation or University closure. At such times, these departments may have to continue in full or partial operations as set out in GP 4, section 3.7.

  • Dining Services
  • Health and Counselling Services
  • Campus Security
  • Environmental Health and Safety/Volunteer Support Groups
  • Public Affairs and Media Relations
  • Human Resources
  • Information Technology
  • Facilities Services/Operations
  • Residence & Housing
  • Animal Care Facility
  • Finance
  • Student Services

Procedures: Class Cancellation or University Closure, and Notification

A. During Regular Hours of Operation

SFU Burnaby

  • The Director, Campus Security in consultation with the directors of Facilities Services and Environmental Health and Safety, will recommend class cancellation or closure to the Vice President, Finance & Administration.
  • The decision to cancel classes or to close SFU Burnaby will be made by the President after consultation with the Vice-President, Academic, Associate Vice President, Students and the Vice-President, Finance & Administration, who will notify the directors of Campus Security, Facilities Services, Public Affairs and Media Relations and Environmental Health and Safety of the decision.
  • The Director, Public Affairs and Media Relations will send out a Notice to faculty, staff and students, update the SFU home page and alert local news media.
  • Campus Security will notify TransLink and the RCMP, liaise with off-campus emergency services and update the road conditions web page and telephone message.
  • Environmental Health and Safety or Campus Security will activate the Emergency Operation Centre (EOC), when required.

For event cancellation, see GP 4, section 3.6. While a partial closure may be ordered at SFU Burnaby, the campus may remain open for some events due to the international travel component or other special circumstances for many external event participants and some non-credit courses.

In the event that classes are cancelled and the roads leading to and from, SFU Burnaby are not able to safely handle the traffic volume, the University may implement traffic management protocols that include the closure of gates at parking lot exits. The objective of the gates will be to affect a controlled release and safer routing of traffic.

SFU Surrey

The Manager, Facilities Services will recommend class cancellation or closure to the Executive Director, SFU Surrey.

  • The decision to cancel classes or close at SFU Surrey will be made by the President after consultation with the Executive Director of SFU Surrey or, in his or her absence, the Manager of Facilities Services, the Vice-President, Academic and the Vice-President, Finance & Administration.
  • The Executive Director, SFU Surrey will communicate the decision to the Manager, Facilities Services, Director, Public Affairs and Media Relations, and Environmental Health and Safety.
  • The Director Public Affairs and Media Relations will send out a message to all faculty, staff and students and update the SFU Burnaby home page and liaise with SFU Surrey Public Affairs and Media Relations to update the SFU Surrey home page, and alert local news media.
  • The Manager, Facilities Services will notify TransLink and the RCMP and liaise with off-campus emergency services.
  • The Manager, Facilities Services or Environmental Health and Safety will activate the EOC when required.

For event cancellation, see Policy GP 4, section 3.6. While a partial closure may happen at SFU Surrey, the campus may remain open for some events due to the international travel component or other special circumstances for many external event participants and some non-credit courses.

SFU Vancouver

  • The Manager, Operations will recommend class cancellation or closure to the Executive Director, SFU Vancouver.
  • The decision to cancel classes or close at SFU Vancouver will be made by the President after consultation with the Executive Director of SFU Vancouver or, in his or her absence, the Manager, Operations, the Vice-President, Academic and the Vice-President, Finance & Administration.
  • The Executive Director, SFU Vancouver will communicate the decision to the Manager, Operations, the Director Public Affairs and Media Relations, Dean of Continuing Studies or designate and Environmental Health and Safety.
  • The Director Public Affairs and Media Relations will send out a message to all faculty, staff and students, update the SFU Burnaby home page and liaise with SFU Vancouver Public Affairs and Media Relations to update the SFU Vancouver home page, and alert local news media.
  • The Manager, Operations will notify TransLink and the RCMP and liaise with off-campus emergency services.
  • The Manager, Operations or Director, Environmental Health and Safety will activate the EOC when required.

For event cancellation, see Policy GP 4, section 3.6. While a partial closure may happen at SFU Vancouver, the campus may remain open for some events due to the international travel component or other special circumstances for many external event participants and some non-credit courses. 

B. Before or After Regular Hours of Operation

All efforts will be made to communicate morning closure decisions by 6:00am.

SFU Burnaby

The Director, Campus Security will make a recommendation to the Vice-President, Finance and Administration who will consult with the President and notify the Director, Campus Security of the decision.

If it is decided to proceed with closure:

  • Campus Security will notify the director of Residence & Housing, and the Dean of Library Services, update the road conditions web site and phone message, and advise TransLink and the RCMP of the closure; and
  • The Director, Public Affairs and Media Relations will notify SFU faculty staff and students and ensure all SFU home pages are updated.

SFU Surrey

The Manager, Facilities Services will make a recommendation to the Executive Director, SFU Surrey who will consult with the Vice President, Finance & Administration and the President.

If it is decided to proceed with closure:

  • The Executive Director, SFU Surrey will notify the Director, Public Affairs and Media Relations and the Manager, Facilities Services at SFU Surrey.
  • The Director, Public Affairs and Media Relations will advise SFU faculty, staff and students and coordinate with SFU Surrey Public Affairs and Media Relations to update the SFU Surrey home page.
  • SFU Surrey Facilities Services will provide direction to Security Operations, liaise with the Property Manager, maintain critical services and alert the Surrey Police Dept.

SFU Vancouver

The Manager, Operations will make a recommendation to the Executive Director, SFU Vancouver who will consult with the Vice President, Finance and Administration and the President.

If it is decided to proceed with closure:

  • The Executive Director, SFU Vancouver will notify the Director, Public Affairs and Media Relations and Operations at SFU Vancouver and the Dean of Continuing Studies or designate.
  • The Director, Public Affairs and Media Relations will advise SFU faculty, staff and students and coordinate with SFU Vancouver Public Affairs and Media Relations to update the SFU Surrey home page.
  • SFU Vancouver Operations will provide direction to Security Operations, liaise with the Property Manager for leased sites, maintain critical services and alert the Vancouver Police Dept.

Procedures for Postponing and Rescheduling Undergraduate Final Examinations - Final Examination Period

Purpose

The procedures described below are to be followed should the University postpone final examinations in the interest of safety.

1) Procedure for Postponing Final Examinations

The exam postponement will be announced via SFU alerts, and notices on the SFU home pages.

The Vice President Academic and Provost will confirm the postponement with the University Registrar and notify the offices of the Deans and Chairs responsible for courses for which scheduled final examinations will be affected by the postponement.

The Chairs, or designates, will notify the impacted faculty members. The University Registrar will arrange for the end-of-term academic evaluation process and release of grades to be delayed if necessary and will advise Residence & Housing of any modifications to the academic schedule.

2) Procedures for Rescheduling Final Examinations

The Associate Registrar, Information, Records and Registration will reschedule the examinations as follows:

  1. If an entire day of final examinations is to be rescheduled, that day will be added to the end of the examination period.
  2. If some portion of a day of final examinations is to be rescheduled, the portion of the day to be rescheduled will be added to the end of the examination period.
  3. If two or more days of final examinations are to be rescheduled, then they will be moved to the end of the examination period in the same sequence as originally scheduled.
  4. Whenever possible, rescheduled examinations will take place at the same time and location as originally scheduled -- only the day(s) will be changed.
  5. If the rescheduled examinations are moved to the next Monday, which is a statutory holiday, then the examinations will be rescheduled to Tuesday.

3) Student Attendance at Rescheduled Examinations

Students with scheduled travel plans should contact their course instructor for approval to make alternate exam arrangements. All other students are expected to attend their rescheduled examination(s) on the rescheduled date. Students, who received approval to not attend the rescheduled examination, will be assigned a deferred grade (DE) for the course until the final grade can be submitted. Existing policies governing the approval of grades will apply.

4) Alternate Exam Arrangements

When a final examination has been postponed under policy GP-4, and a course instructor determines that alternate arrangements need to be made for students with scheduled travel plans or for all students in the course, approval must be sought from the department chair. Instructors may choose alternate arrangements such as:

  1. a take home exam;
  2. an alternate assignment; and/or
  3. scheduling an additional exam for the first week of classes of the next term.

Dates for completion must be set to ensure that marks are submitted in a timely manner. Existing policies governing DE grades and the approval of grades will apply.

5) Cancellation of Final Exams

If alternate arrangements cannot be made and the department chair or head makes the decision to cancel the scheduled final examination(s) and not to reschedule, students will be assigned a grade based on completed course work to date. Existing policies governing the approval of grades will apply.