Policies and Procedures

F0200p2 Closing or Class Cancellation Due to Winter Weather

The College's general procedure is to remain open at all times as scheduled.  At the same time employees and students may experience emergency situations or conditions independent of conditions affecting the College as a whole.  In these instances, employees and students should not put themselves in peril to come in to work or class. Supervisors and faculty are expected to be reasonable in their demands on staff and students to be on location when there is a bona fide emergency situation affecting the individual.  There may be a few situations where it will be deemed prudent to close the College or cancel classes.


In case of a situation where closing the College or cancelling classes would seem appropriate, the following will occur:

In the event of a weather emergency, the Vice President, Finance/Operations or designee will initiate the decision-making process. The Vice President, Finance/Operations or designee will contact the Vice Presidents and others, as necessary, to discuss the appropriate decision to be made.  The Vice President, Finance/Operations or designee will make the decision to close the College or cancel classes.

The decision to close the College, delay the start of classes, or cancel classes will be made by 5:00 a.m., or as soon as possible, given the circumstances.  The decision to cancel evening classes will be made by 3:00 p.m. Depending upon the situation, this decision will be made based on discussions between the Vice President, Finance/Operations and other Vice Presidents to determine the probable course of action. 

Public announcements of closing or class cancellations will only be communicated by the Director of Marketing and Communications, or designee.  Closings or college-wide class cancellation will be communicated to radio and television stations.  Notification will also be sent to employees and students via all exchange and student email, and via the emergency notification system.  The College will also post notifications using social media. If there is no announcement the College is in session as usual.

Closing a regional location or cancelling classes at the regional locations will be determined by the coordinators of the regional locations in conjunction with the Director, Regional Learning Centers, and the Vice President, Finance and Operations. In the absence of the Director, Regional Learning Centers, the determination will be made by the Regional Location Coordinators in conjunction with the Vice President, Finance and Operations.  After the determination has been made to close or cancel classes, the Regional Location Coordinator will notify their local radio stations to report the status.  The Director, Regional Learning Centers or designee will notify the Switchboard and Director, Marketing and Communications who will direct the communication to staff and students via all exchange and student email, emergency notification, web site, and social media.

The following radio and TV stations will be notified.

Family Radio
La Crosse
WHTL Radio
WVRQ Radio
La Crosse Radio
La Crosse
 WLSU Radio
La Crosse
WWIS Radio
Black River Falls
​KQ98 Family Radio
Spring Grove, MN
​WRJC Radio
WCOW Radio


Note:  Positions that need to be staffed regardless of a campus location closing should be noted in the position's job description.  Based on the nature of the closing, some employees may need to continue to perform their work responsibilities and report to or remain on location.

If the college closes due to a winter weather emergency, employees should not report to work. If the College cancels classes due to a winter weather emergency, employees may report to work, unless the employee determines it is not safe to do so.

College Closing

In the event that the College is closed, employees should not report to any College location, and employees will receive a day with pay. There will be no need to record leave time, unless the employee previously scheduled vacation for the day.

Cancellation of Classes

In the event that the decision is made to cancel classes at all College locations, employees can make their own decision to travel to work based on their personal circumstances and should follow the procedure below.

Vacation or other type of leave time will be taken if the employee previously scheduled a vacation or other leave. Salaried employees, including faculty, who are not working on location or from home should take a vacation day or personal day. Hourly employees who are not working on location should take a vacation day, personal day, or work with their supervisor on a plan to make up their lost hours.

Special classes, special events, and outside activities scheduled to utilize Western facilities or services, such as food services or the Lunda Center, must be contacted by the Western personnel responsible for coordinating the event.  Arrangements should be made for continuing, canceling or rescheduling the activity. Special situations should be referred to the Vice President, Finance/Operations.

In the event of a situation that is not determined to be sufficient to actually close the campus, faculty and supervisors are asked to use good judgment in allowing an absence of an employee or student who feels that their attendance would adversely affect "life and limb" (e.g., a bad weather situation in their travel area) and therefore cause their absence.  In these situations, students are expected to make up missed class material, and employees will utilize existing Leave Policies.

If a faculty member cannot attend class, for any reason, usual departmental notification provisions will be followed.

The Health Science Center will be governed by its own emergency closing policy, although Western programs will follow the Western procedure.

​Revised October 23, 2018
Revised September 17, 2013
Grammatical Corrections: April 17, 2009
Revised December 16, 2008