Inclement Weather Policy

Policy Approve By
Dr. Dean O. Stenehjem, Superintendent
Policy Date (original policy date)
Policy Prepared By
Renee Corso, Director of Residential Services
Policy Category
Personnel

POLICY
SUBJECT: Inclement Weather Policy

I. Purpose: 

To outline the WSSB policy and procedures during inclement weather events or other natural disasters.

II. Policy: 

The terms “weather emergency” or "inclement weather" refer to the conditions that constitute a hazardous weather event, where local weather conditions prevent employees and students from traveling to or traversing the campus in order to work or attend classes. These conditions include heavy snow and ice that make roadways and walkways impassable as well as dangerous wind, rain and other conditions related to tornadoes, hurricanes and other extreme weather events. These conditions do not include occasional snow and ice. Inclement weather or other unforeseen conditions can occur with little or no warning, and may affect the capability of the school to remain open for the purpose of conducting classroom or residential instruction. 

Employees are expected to report for work as scheduled, unless otherwise notified through established campus procedures. Employees are also expected to exercise good judgment regarding their personal circumstances, and must assume responsibility for their own health and safety, as well as for their class or work responsibilities. While this frequently requires a delicate balance, each individual must make the ultimate decision of whether to travel to WSSB under varying conditions.

An “inclement weather emergency” is determined by the Superintendent of WSSB or their designee in consultation with the Facilities Manager.

The decision to close for a full day or to delay the opening of the school will be made by 5:00 a.m. weekdays, and by 9:00 a.m. on Sundays (return weekend transportation day). 

If the need to close is identified during the day, the decision will be communicated by school Administrators to all employees and students on campus, as well as parents/guardians of effected day students.

Because WSSB is a residential facility, and due to the nature of the school’s mission and the complexity of its operation, there are certain essential services that must be provided if students are on campus.  Each department is responsible for maintaining an inclement weather plan and an updated listing of essential personnel to provide those services that ensure student supervision and safety during periods of severe or inclement weather.  

Essential employees are required to report for duty and to perform their duties despite the notification of a weather-related emergency. The term "essential employee" will be deemed to include an employee who has been designated as vital to the operation of the facility, whose presence is required regardless of the existence of an emergency condition, and whose absence from duty would endanger the safety and well being of the students and/or the physical facilities. Employees are advised to consult with their supervisors to determine whether they are essential or non-essential employees, and to obtain specific information about the proper reporting procedures.

III. Procedure: 

The procedures outlined below are intended as prescribed guidelines to be followed during heavy snowfall or other inclement weather.

A. Facilities Manager will work in concert with the Superintendent or designated representative to stay informed of any weather or other conditions that could affect the operation of the school. The Facilities Manager and Superintendent or designee may consult various information resources to make the recommendation for school operation or closure, e.g.

  1. Weather service
  2. State Patrol, local police departments, road departments
  3. Critical road conditions
  4. Nighttime school personnel
  5. Other local school districts

B. Decision will be based upon the following factors:

  1. Type of forecast conditions (e.g. wind, snow, ice)
  2. Severity of forecast condition
  3. Reliability of the forecast
  4. Temperature
  5. Visibility
  6. Conditions of campus roads, parking areas, sidewalks and exterior steps
  7. Readiness and mobilization level of grounds maintenance operations
  8. Feasibility of continued school operation
  9. Traffic and roadway conditions in surrounding vicinity
  10. Conditions at the WSSB campus
  11. Impact on the academic program
  12. Implications for the academic calendar, including the commencement and semester breaks.


C. The Superintendent will make the final decision on campus closure and advise the Principal and the Director of Residential Services. Should the school close, a recorded announcement with pertinent information will be promptly placed on the school’s main information line (360-696-6321 ext. 100), which will serve  as the central information contact point for staff, students and their families.  The information will likewise be posted on the WSSB website (www.wssb.wa.gov).  School Administrators will also place calls to students’ families to ensure they receive timely notification of school closures.

D. Guidelines for staffing during severe inclement weather or other emergency situations are as follows:

  1. If the Superintendent or their designee determines that WSSB is closed due to severe inclement weather or other natural disaster, non-essential personnel will be released with no loss of pay during the school closure.
  2. Designated essential personnel are only those employees necessary to protect resident students and to maintain operations at the physical facilities. Designated employees include appointed maintenance, custodial, grounds, health center, and residential services. These employees are considered essential to the operation of the school and will be notified in advance that they are expected to come to work in the event of a general closing. 
  3. Essential personnel who work their normal hours during an inclement weather emergency will not receive additional compensation.  Any hours worked outside their normal schedule will be compensated in accordance with applicable merit system rules and/or collective bargaining agreements.
  4. Essential personnel who are unable to report to work during an inclement weather event must take leave in accordance with applicable collective bargaining agreements and/or merit system rules.  If the employee must report late due to weather conditions, they will be allowed one (1) hour of paid time.  Any additional hours must be taken as leave.

If the agency remains open during inclement weather or other natural disaster, but an employee is unable to report to work or to remain at work because of the inclement weather, the employees leave will be charged in the following order:

  1. Any earned compensatory time
  2. Any accrued vacation leave
  3. Any accrued sick leave, up to a maximum of three (3) days in any calendar year
  4. Leave without pay.

Employees who report to work late will be allowed up to one (1) hour of paid time.  Any additional time must be taken as leave in the order listed above.

Employees who are already on approved leave when a general closing is designated will not have that leave time reinstated. 

If WSSB must be evacuated due to critical or a disastrous situation, all buildings and the entire campus area are off limits to everyone EXCEPT designated emergency personnel. No other personnel or students will be permitted to remain on campus.