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Nov. 19, 2009 Volume 31, No. 13

Policy change updates campus closures

Being prepared

Mizzou keeps running 24/7

When winter winds howl, snowdrifts bury parked cars and ice makes travel treacherous, Mizzou might occasionally cancel classes but hardly ever has it closed the entire campus. As a large research university, some MU operations simply must continue

For example, University Hospital staff are needed to care for patients, the power plant has to keep generating electricity and university police have to ensure campus safety.

Only on rare occasions have classes have been cancelled — twice in the past 20 or so years.

Recently, the UM System Human Resources Policy Manual was revised to permit two types of campus closures: a full closure or a partial closure. The policy revision details how employee salaries will be handled for each type of closure. The policy, HR 217, does not apply to staff at MU Health Care.

During a partial campus closure, classes would be cancelled but many operations would remain open. Staff who do not report to work would need to cover absences with paid time off. Employees who are able to make it to work will receive regular pay.

A full closure, while extremely unlikely, could occur because of a major disaster or catastrophic event. In that case, the campus would be closed, classes cancelled and administrative and academic operations suspended. Certain vital campus operations would continue during a full campus closure.

In the case of a full closure, regular employees will be directed not to report to work, but will receive regular pay for up to five days, depending on how long the closure lasts. If the closure continues for more than five days, they would have to cover absences with acccrued paid time off.

During a full campus closure, those employees who are deemed “situationally critical” will be required to report to work. In those cases, workers who are paid hourly will receive premium pay — time and a half for all hours actually worked.

“Here at MU, we place a great deal of importance on being prepared for any type of emergency that affects the campus community,” says Karen Touzeau, assistant vice chancellor for human resource services. “Due to the 24/7 nature of a major research university, we do not anticipate closing the campus; but we believe we must plan for every contingency.” She says a mass e-mail will be sent to all staff members Nov. 19.