For decades University of Michigan students could count on classes taking place, no matter the weather. But in January for the first time in 36 years classes were canceled. A new policy is designed to avoid confusion some employees had about if they still needed to brave the elements to get to work.
The first change comes from the name of the policy itself. Acknowledging with a hospital and residence halls the university can never fully close, the new policy has been renamed from closure to reduction in operations.
Spokesman Rick Fitzgerald says the second new element calls on departments clarifying which employees can't let snow or cold temperatures keep them from work. "Asking every unit to go through this process of annually updating and making sure that employees of the unit know who's on the critical list and who's on the non-critical list," Fitzgerald says.
This worker classification will completed this year by the end of November.
Finally the policy outlines what an emergency closure means to employee pay-checks. For a one or two day reduction in work all workers get paid, with employees that come in to work receiving additional vacation hours.