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Policy on University Cancellations and Closure

Policy Category: Executive

Effective Date: 11/8/2023

Responsible Officer: Vice President of Business

History: WIT Severe Weather School Closure Procedures; Library Snow Closure Policy

Responsible Office: Facilities

Location: Link


This policy is intended to provide guidance to the administrative departments related to decisions to cancel Wentworth Institute of Technology (university) programs and activities and/or close the campus.


This policy applies to all students, employees, vendors, visitors, and volunteers affiliated with this policy.




During inclement weather or in the event of an emergency condition existing on campus, the university strives to stay open without compromising safety. With due consideration regarding safety, the university will remain open and operate normally to the greatest extent possible. Faculty, staff, and students should evaluate their own personal situations, and make decisions which do not compromise their personal safety. Information regarding a possible event should be monitored by Facilities, Wentworth Police Department, and the Colleges of the Fenway (COF) Director of Emergency Management. 

In these times, the university may choose to cancel classes, move to a remote schedule, institute an early departure, delay opening, and in extreme situations may close the campus.  Every attempt to announce these decisions in a timely manner. A decision to cancel classes or move classes and operations remotely, does not indicate that the campus has been closed. That is a separate and distinct situation in which essential personnel will be notified by their department head. 

When it is necessary to cancel all academic, athletic, and other ancillary operations only essential personnel will report for work as directed. If the decision is made to move classes and operations to a remote option for those roles able to operate remotely, all employees must work a normal business day or use their personal or vacation time. Exceptions to this requirement may be made on a case-by-case basis after discussions with Employee Relations and Engagement.  

The university may elect to delay the opening of daily business. In the case of a delay the university will inform employees and students of the adjusted work and class schedule. When delays or cancellations occur during the final exam period, the missed exams will be re-scheduled either during the make-up time periods or on the day following the last date of scheduled exams. All final decisions related to campus delays, early departures, closures, or remote learning are shared with the COF Director of Emergency Management and the COF Emergency Closure Group. 


  1. Essential Personnel: Staff members designated by department heads and/or the Incident Management Team (IMT) to be critical to the continuation of key operations and services in the event of a suspension of operations or other emergency occurring outside the normal business hours. Typically, these areas include facilities, Wentworth Police Department, and some student-facing services. However, additional personnel may be deemed essential, depending upon the nature of the incident.  
  2. Essential Services: Services that are determined to be critical to the functioning of the university. In the event of a campus closure, the Vice President of Business, in consultation with senior management, will determine which services are essential based on the nature of the event  
  3. Emergency Situation: Events including natural hazards, technological, human, and terrorism. Examples may include, but are not limited to power failures, inclement weather, fires, and emergencies declared by state and local governments.  
  4. Incident Management Team (IMT): Representatives from campus departments who convene when there is a significant crisis/emergency. The make-up of this team may differ depending upon the situation.   
  5. Campus Cancellation and Closure Team: Representatives from campus departments who meet to discuss all decisions related to campus cancellations, closures, delays, or early release. This typically includes representatives from the President’s Office, Provost’s Office, Student Affairs, Facilities/Business, Wentworth Police Department, the Associate Vice President for Finance, and a representative from the COF Director of Emergency Management but may differ depending upon the situation. 
  6. COF Emergency Closure Group: The Colleges of the Fenway (COF) offers institutional leaders an opportunity to discuss emergency closures across Fenway campuses. This Emergency Closure Group usually meets virtually. At least one representative from each institution should take part in the meeting. For more information on this group, please see the COF Emergency Closure Group Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)  
  7. Mandatory Curfew: Imposed during incidents that require extreme precaution, a mandatory curfew may be set by the City of Boston or locally by the Wentworth Police Department. A Mandatory curfew bans or limits the ability for community members to be out in public at certain times. 
  8. Evacuation: The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), or the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) for Boston may require community members to leave a place of danger to a place of safety. This process can be small scale for specific areas or groups, or large scale spanning the entire city if a weather emergency occurs that deems the area unsafe. 


Decisions Regarding Class Cancellations and/or Remote Schedules, Early Departures, Delays

  1. In the event that classes are moved on-line or cancelled, the Vice President of Business and the Provost will meet and determine if classes will be cancelled or moved remotely.  
  2. Typically, the Campus Cancellation and Closure Team will discuss and determine if the university will move to remote schedule, institute an early departure, or delay the opening. 

Decisions regarding Campus Closure

  1. In the event of a campus closure, the Campus Cancellation and Closure Team will determine which services are essential based on the nature of the event.  
  2. In a situation where the campus is closed and essential personnel are still required to come to campus, they will be notified by the department head as soon as possible. 
  3. Individual departments cannot make a separate decision. 
  4. If the Governor of Massachusetts declares a state of emergency or restricts road travel due to weather conditions, the university will implement cancellations and/or closures to conform with this guidance. 


  1. Once a determination has been made to close the university or cancel classes and/or move to a remote schedule, the Vice President for Business, or designee, will contact the Wentworth Police Department Dispatch Center and Marketing and Communications (MarCom). 
  2. A notification will be sent to the university community using the RAVE notification system and MarCom will contact media outlets and send additional updates through websites and social media. 
  3. Payroll will send a notification to non-exempt employees regarding how to account for time in our systems under said circumstances. 

Employee Expectation

Essential Personnel: The Vice President of Business will determine staff deemed essential during emergency situations.


  1. If classes and operations are moved online and/or remote, the campus will operate under normal business operations.  
  2. Employees who are non-exempt and unable to perform their jobs remotely should enter their regularly scheduled hours on their timecard using the appropriate pay code for a school closure.    
  3. Employees are expected to work their regularly scheduled hours. 

Unionized Employees:

  1. Review your respective CBAs.


  1. If classes are cancelled, including when the university is officially closed, Deans, in consultation with the Provost, will provide direction to instructors and students regarding how cancelled classes and other instructional time will be addressed in their respective schools. 
  2. If classes are moved to a remote modality, instructors and students should expect equivalent or alternate class activities through virtual means. In cases where this is not possible, Deans, in consultation with the Provost, will provide direction to instructors and students regarding how missed instructional time will be addressed in their respective schools.  


  1. Typically, the Library will close and staff will work remotely when classes are cancelled and/or the campus is closed. 
  2. The Library Director may require Library representation to be present on campus in limited situations.  

Student Services

Health Center: Decisions on the closure of the Student Health Center will be made in consultation with the campuses served by the Health Center in consideration of the circumstances of the event and will be communicated to the campus when that decision is made.

Athletics: Decisions on the cancellations of athletic events based on the pre-approved indicators and events will be made in consultation with the VP of Business, VP of Student Affairs, and the Director of Athletics (or designee) to coordinate logistics and communication with coaches, student athletes, and other impacted institutions

Food Services

When a Wentworth campus administrator determines a need to close or delay the opening of a dining facility based on the pre-approved indicators and events, the Wentworth Food Service Provider consults with and coordinates dining facility closure logistics with the Vice President for Student Affairs, Vice President of Finance, the Vice President of Business, and the Director of Purchasing & Auxiliary Services.

Snow Removal Procedures

The Director of Facilities coordinates snow removal procedures in accordance with internal procedures.

 Additional Information & Related Documents

Academic Catalog 

Flexible work policy

Interpretation & Revision

Any questions of interpretation regarding this policy shall be referred to the Vice President for Business and/or the Chief of the Wentworth Police Department. They will be the final authority regarding the interpretation of this policy. 

This policy shall be reviewed every three years, however minor changes and updates can be made at any time.  

Wentworth will typically apply the policy in place at the time it receives a report concerning the respected policy. 

Additionally, in instances where two or more policies are implicated, a case-by-case determination will be made to determine what policy will be used. 

Review and Revision History

This policy was drafted by representatives from Risk Management and Compliance, Employee Relations and Engagement, Academics, Facilities, Dining Services, and Student Affairs.  It was reviewed by Cabinet and approved by the President on 11/8/2023.

This policy replaces the WIT Severe Weather School Closure Procedures; Library Snow Closure Policy.