Class Cancellation Procedures and Frequently Asked Questions for the St. Lawrence College Academic Division
The integrity of academic programming relies on every class being conducted as scheduled and any decision to cancel classes, individual or institutional, should be taken very seriously. Class cancellations are occasionally necessary at the college for a variety of reasons including extreme weather conditions, utility or major facilities equipment failures or personal illness of instructors, for example. This document is intended to provide guidance for faculty and staff on some of the most frequently asked questions about class cancellations and this information supplements the Inclement Weather Policy.
In the event of extreme weather conditions or other serious incidents that may impact the college’s operations, an Incident Management Team (IMT) made up of senior leaders is responsible for reviewing and authorizing the cancellation of classes or closure of the college. In the case of winter storms, Environment Canada information will guide decision-making, along with factors such as: if the parking lots, roadways and walkways cannot safely be cleared, if public transportation ceases to operate or if significant travel/driving risks to all members of the college community exist due to a Winter Storm.
When possible, notification of day classes and service interruptions will be posted by 6:30am. Cancellation of evening class and/or service interruptions including activities on campus will be posted by 3:00pm and include a statement as to what time the cancellation comes into effect. During class cancellations/service interruptions, college facilities will remain open unless it is deemed unsafe to be in the building. Email will be sent to all students and staff via college email accounts. Notifications will be posted on the SLC homepage www.stlawrencecollege.ca. Local media will be notified by College officials. Notifications will be posted on the official College Facebook page and on twitter (www.facebook.com/stlawrencecollege.ca and www.twitter.com/whatsinsideslc)
- Associate and Campus Deans will ensure students and faculty members already on campus are made aware of the decision to cancel classes and campus activities and will circulate throughout the building to ensure awareness and dismiss classes.
- Class cancellations do not affect employee obligations and all staff are expected to report to, or remain at work unless absence is approved or directed by their Manager.
- Administration will ensure no student, faculty member or staff member is stranded on campus without means of transportation.
- Administration will ensure all labs have been vacated and locked.
- Administration will advise any Campus tenants of the decision to cancel classes and any other extenuating circumstances.
- Staff in School offices and/or other support roles in the academic division will only be released by their immediate manager after the manager receives directions from the incident management team or person in charge of the campus/department. Individual requests to leave work will be considered at the discretion of the manager and include an appropriate plan for the time missed at work.
- Managers will remain on site until released by the incident management team or person in charge of the campus/department.
Weather conditions can vary significantly across regions and class cancellation in one location does not necessitate the cancellation of activities in another region that may not be affected. Please note the following:
- Faculty, staff and students having responsibilities in work sites managed by other agencies and/or businesses should meet the responsibilities of the job/placement, if possible.
- If the Placement Agency is closed or services are cancelled, students should contact their College Placement Representative to notify them and receive instruction on any required make-up time or supplemental assignments.
- College Placement Representative’s must not cancel clinical/placement sessions without first consulting their Program Coordinator/Associate Dean.
- Students are still covered by insurance if they participate in a placement/clinical shift even if the classes are cancelled on campus.
- Students and employees must take due care and precautions to plan ahead for safe travelling, such as equip vehicles for winter travel, plan extra travel time and monitor weather/road conditions.
If classes are running but because of conditions at their residential location an employee would face undue hardship to travel to the college, they must communicate with their immediate manager by phone or email as soon as possible. The same applies to employees who would like to leave their college location while it is still operating. Employees may be released on an individual basis, with approval by their manager.
In these circumstances, the employee and immediate manager will discuss the requirement to make up time away from work, including a number of options depending on the nature of their work, such as:
- Ability/appropriateness to work from home
- Ability to use overtime or time in lieu
- Ability to book a vacation day or day without pay
- Make up the missed time within a specified period of time
- The manager must be consulted before an option is chosen as the manager has the final approval on the option to be used. The option and arrangements must be documented with a copy to the employee, manager and Human Resources.
If a class is cancelled, the College obligation to students is to ensure that the course content is substantively delivered in accordance with the course outline to meet the learning outcomes. This does not mean that each and every class will always have to be re-scheduled. Professors must plan an alternative way to deliver any missed course content in consultation with their Associate/Campus Dean. This may take the form of a make-up class where feasible, use of the Blackboard learning management system, independent study, group work or alternatives that suit the intended learning.
Weather and travel conditions can vary significantly across the region. Students, like employees, are expected to take precautions and plan ahead for safe travel to participate in their scheduled classes. However, if a student is unable to make it to class when there are known to be poor traveling conditions, safety must come first and no student should be penalized for missing class. Students must notify the Professor as soon as possible and follow any special instructions as per the course outline or learning plan. Professors should be flexible to reschedule a test or due date in the event of severe weather/conditions that affects students’ ability to get to the campus.
If a faculty member is ill or must cancel a class due to unforeseen circumstances or personal emergency, they must notify their School/Academic Operations staff as soon as possible by phone and email as they will post a notice on the classroom door and advise the Associate/Campus Dean. The Professor should also post a message to students of the cancelled class using email and/or Blackboard LMS. If there is to be an extended absence, the Associate/Campus Dean will ensure that a contingency plan is in place for students to meet the course learning outcomes.