Campus Closure Policy
UMass Boston wishes to protect the safety of its community members, research, and facilities during periods of inclement weather or emergency situations. To that end, the University is committed to operational consistency and efficiency when a change in operating status to either of these modalities is warranted.
UMass Boston may change its operating status during and surrounding periods of inclement weather or other emergency situations, The University has prescribed the following policy for evaluation, decision-making and communication of the campus response to change its operating status to its students, faculty, staff, and visitors.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the UMass Boston campus has developed remote modalities for some courses and staff work. During this time when a campus closure is issued due to inclement weather or other emergency situations, all remote/virtual classes and staff work will be cancelled the same as courses and work being conducted face-to-face on campus. Essential staff who are categorized by Human Resources as individuals who would normally continue to come to campus during a closure would continue to report to work as scheduled during inclement weather.
This policy applies to students, faculty, staff, and visitors to the UMass Boston Campus located at 100 Morrissey Boulevard and 150 Mount Vernon Street.
Class cancellations at other locations due to weather conditions will follow the local city/town school closings where sites are located and will be announced on local radio stations and will also be posted on the College of Advancing and Professional Studies (CAPS) website at http://www.umb.edu/academics/caps.
Academic and administrative units are expected to abide by any decision made by the University regarding operating status.
In the event that a snowstorm, other inclement weather or an emergency situation presents a risk to our students, faculty, staff, and visitors in commuting to or from the campus or otherwise conducting activities on campus, the Provost, the Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance, the Chief of Staff, the Chief of Police, the Vice-Chancellor for Athletics and Recreation, the Associate Vice Chancellor for Facilities and the Emergency Management Director (Policy Group) will make a determination of the appropriate campus response.
The closing of the campus is a procedure that differs depending on the timing of the decision to close and the expected length and severity of the situation. The essential factor in the decision is the safety of our commuting students, faculty,” staff and visitors and the conditions anticipated on the university’s campus. However, severe weather affecting only a limited number of commuters generally will not result in a campus closing.
When the Policy Group decides to close the campus during normal campus operations, the decision shall commence at 7 a.m. and be effective until 7 a.m. the next morning, unless otherwise notified. Please keep in mind every situation is handled on a case-by-case basis. Exceptions to the rule will be noted in the campus closure alert message.
Whether the campus is open or closed, please use your own good judgment in determining whether to travel to campus as conditions will vary depending on the commute involved.
When the campus is closed for any reason, students, faculty, staff, and visitors must leave for their own safety. Exceptions: designated essential personnel who are required to remain to assist.
Decisions announcing the closing of the campus will be communicated using the UMass Boston Alert system via text and email, posted on the University website at http://www.umb.edu, the campus main switchboard at (617) 287-5000, the UMass Boston Smartphone Application, Twitter, and Facebook. Please refer to page 6 of this policy for a complete listing
When the UMass Boston Campus is closed for inclement weather, 100 Morrissey Blvd., and 150 Mt. Vernon Street are both closed. All other locations will follow the local school decisions.
When a closure is restricted to a location of the UMass Boston Campus, such as utility issues, localized hazmat or other emergency, only that location is affected. However, some designated essential and on-call personnel may be required to report to a different location to assist.
Most emergency closures will require a controlled release. In rare cases, a walking evacuation off campus grounds may be required. Depending on the situation, vehicles may be left in parking lots in order to allow emergency response vehicles to access the campus without roadway congestion. Please refer to the Campus-wide Evacuation Plan at the following link: UMass Boston Campus Wide Evacuation Plan.
Section A. Inclement Weather Closures
- Campus Closure Decision Process
In the event of severe weather related and other emergency situations where it is necessary to close the campus,
- Emergency Management will be responsible for notifying the Vice Chancellor for Administration & Finance of general road and weather conditions including regional information from MEMA and the National Weather Service
- AVC for Facilities will contact the Vice Chancellor for Administration & Finance (VCAF) to report campus conditions from Facilities crew on scene.
- A call will take place, usually by 5 a.m. with the Provost, the Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance, the Chief of Staff, the Chief of Police, Director of Emergency Management, Director of Communications, the AVC for Facilities, and Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics and Recreation ("Policy Group") and together they will assess the situation and determine if the campus shall remain open or closed for normal campus operations.
For all intent and purposes, the campus closure notification shall be distributed as soon as practicable to provide adequate notice to our commuting students, faculty, staff and visitors that the university will be closed during normal campus operations and be effective until 7 a.m. the next morning unless otherwise notified.
- Early Dismissal Decision Process
If during the course of the day weather conditions deteriorate, the Provost, and the Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance in consultation with Facilities, and UMB Chief of Police will determine the early closing time of the University and the schedule for evening classes. Every effort will be made to make the decision regarding campus open/closed status as early and timely as possible
In general, decisions regarding campus closure apply to Athletics and Recreation. Serious consideration is given to the appropriateness of requiring student-athletes, coaches, and support staff to come to campus when the campus is otherwise closed and classes canceled. Decisions about any continued athletics and recreation activity will be centrally made by the Policy Group and the Vice Chancellor of Athletics and Recreation will provide communication regarding any continued athletics and recreation activity with the respective stakeholders pursuant to the Athletics and Recreation Division policy.
Section B: Other Types of Emergency Closures
Types of Emergencies and the Role of Response Departments
Under the University’s all-hazards Emergency Operations Plan (EOP), there may be a need for campus closure due to causes other than severe weather. The EOP specifies that the senior campus official from the appropriate department responding to a given emergency is considered the Incident Commander. These departments are as follows:
- Facilities Management (Facilities Emergencies)
- UMass Boston Police (Criminal Acts/Threats to public safety)
- Environmental Health and Safety (Hazardous Materials)
- Information Technology (Cyber Emergencies)
- Student Affairs (Student Emergencies)
- University Health Services (Public Health Emergencies)
- Emergency Management (International Emergencies)
Prior to a campus emergency, Emergency Management or UMass Boston Police will notify Provost, Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance, and the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs of any potential threat that could quickly escalate and become a campus emergency.
Although no immediate campus closure would be required at this time, there would be a discussion and assessment of the threat and a determination of potential future response actions. This could occur for any event that would provide notice, such as an emerging cyber-threat targeting higher education institutions, a spreading pandemic, or any serious issue occurring at other similar campuses. This monitoring phase also occurs in the case of weather emergencies such as hurricanes and blizzards.
A campus-wide evacuation may be deemed necessary by public safety officials and may be implemented without a determination of campus closure by the Policy Group, per the UMass Boston Evacuation Policy. In the case of campus-wide evacuation, the Policy Group will convene virtually or off-site to make a formal determination regarding campus status, following the decision-making protocol outlined in Section A.
When an emergency occurs, the Incident Commander must assess the level of the emergency and determine the appropriate course of action and make a recommendation to the Vice Chancellor of Administration and Finance. If the campus is closed, communications will follow as listed under Section A for inclement weather closures.
UMass Boston Alert System – The Alert System will communicate closure via text, voice, and email. To add or change a cell phone number in the UMass Boston Alert System please go to https://www.getrave.com/login/umb.
University Website – The UMass Boston website, http://www.umb.edu, will contain campus open/closed status. Closures will be indicated with a banner. Additionally, there is a “Campus Status” link at the bottom of the home page.
UMass Boston Smartphone Application – Downloadable for both Apple and Samsung devices, the App will carry campus open/closed status.
UMass Boston Main Switchboard number (617) 287-5000 – The main UMass Boston switchboard will carry a voicemail announcement which carries campus open/closed status.
Radio and Television Stations – will carry UMass Boston announcements starting at 5:30 a.m. Following is a list of stations that will carry this message.
- WUMB FM (91.9)
- WBZ TV (Channel 4)
- WCVB (Channel 5)
- WHDH (Channel 7)
- FOX (Channel 25)
- WBUR (90.9 FM)
- NBC Boston (Channel 10)
Twitter - twitter.com/umassboston
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/umassboston
Facilities Service Response – To report storm related campus conditions that warrant immediate attention please contact Facilities at 617-287-5450.
Please do not call UMass Boston Police to see if the campus is open or closed. Lines must remain open in the event of an emergency.
ANNOUNCEMENTS - What They Mean for UMass Boston Operations:
- For your safety, you must leave the campus immediately.
- Only those authorized by UMB Police may be on campus.
- This includes the Residential Hall unless otherwise noted.
University Closed/Classes Canceled
- The UMass Boston campus, 100 Morrissey Boulevard, 150 Mount Vernon
- Street classes and events canceled for the day and evening.
- Athletic and recreational facilities are closed unless announced otherwise
- All offices, including 150 Mount Vernon Street are closed.
- Healey Library closed.
- Designated essential personnel to report at regular scheduled time.
- Normal campus operations shall resume at 7 a.m. the next morning, unless otherwise indicated.
Delayed Opening/Late Opening/Early Morning Classes and Morning Events Canceled
- Staff will report at 10:00 a.m. unless otherwise indicated.
- UMass Boston campus locations at 100 Morrissey Boulevard and 150 Mount
- Vernon Street will open for classes and events at 11:00 a.m. unless otherwise indicated.
- Designated essential personnel to report at regular scheduled time.
- Always use sound personal judgment when determining your commute.
Evening Classes Canceled / Early Dismissal
- UMass Boston campus locations at 100 Morrissey Boulevard and 150 Mount Vernon Street classes and events beginning at or after 4:00 p.m. or in progress at 4:00 p.m. are canceled.
- Designated essential personnel will work their regular scheduled hours and all other faculty, staff, students, and visitors must leave by 4:00 p.m. unless otherwise notified.
- Parking lots operate normally for one hour after closing.
- Normal campus operations shall resume at 7:00 a.m. the next morning, unless otherwise indicated.
- Always use sound personal judgment when determining your commute to campus.
Parking on Campus
No overnight parking on campus unless authorized. All authorized overnight vehicle parking is in the West Garage on levels 2 through 7. In order to park a vehicle overnight on campus you must first fill out this form at https://www.umb.edu/the_university/getting_here/parking/overnight_parking
In the event of an early closing or late opening, the shuttle will continue to operate its normal service for one to two hours after the closing or before the delayed opening, weather and road conditions permitting. After this time, one shuttle bus will continue to operate, weather and road conditions permitting. Be advised that weather and road conditions may cause delays.
The Healey Library is closed when the UMass Boston Campus is closed. However, many Healey Library resources are available online. Please visit: https://www.umb.edu/library for more information.
Classes at other locations
Class cancellations at other locations due to weather conditions will follow local school decisions and will be announced on local radio stations in communities where sites are located, and will be posted to the College of Advancing and Professional Studies (CAPS) website at http://www.umb.edu/academics/caps.
Athletic Events are generally cancelled when the campus is closed. The Policy Group will determine whether there are any exceptions to a campus closure in limited situations as set forth in section A3.
Individuals responsible for areas such as athletics or special events may put a message on the University’s website www.umb.edu and University main phone number (617) 287-5000 concerning information related to particular events or hours of operation.
Beacon Fitness Center
When the campus is closed the fitness center will also close but may reopen earlier in limited situations. Please see Athletics page of University website, social media and email alerts to Beacon Fitness Center members.
Meetings, Conferences and Events
If the University closes all scheduled meetings, conferences and events will be cancelled. When possible, the Campus Center and Event Services staff will make every effort to contact individuals planning large conferences or special events to notify them of the closure. Campus closures may also delay the set- ups for events taking place the morning following a closure. If an event planner has signed a contract for a conference or special event, the university will work with you to schedule a new event date or void your event agreement.
For specific information about events scheduled to occur on campus, visit the UMass Boston website at www.umb.edu or contact the Campus Center and Event Services Office directly at (617) 287-4800.
Commonwealth of Massachusetts and City of Boston
- The Governor is authorized by state law to declare a Gubernatorial State of Emergency (SOE). A SOE may be accompanied by a request by the Governor to release employees early or to stagger arrival at work. Such actions are usually in the form of a request, not an order. If the Governor does not declare a SOE but makes a decision to close the Executive Branch, the University will take this decision into account while determining the plan for the campus.
- The Mayor has the authority to call a snow emergency for the City of Boston. Depending on the severity of the storm, the Mayor also has the authority to release city employees early, to stagger arrival to work or to close city businesses for the day for non-essential personnel. If the Mayor declares a snow emergency for the City of Boston and shuts down city government, the University will take this decision into consideration while determining the plan for the campus.
Campus Wide Evacuation: The campus is evacuated for a “confirmed threat to the campus community.” Parking gates may be lifted to expedite evacuation. In rare cases, a walking evacuation off campus grounds may be required.
Building Evacuation: A building is evacuated. A building evacuation does not necessarily constitute a campus wide evacuation.
Confirmed Threat to the Campus Community: A significant emergency or dangerous situation involving imminent or immediate threat to the health or safety of the campus community, occurring on or immediately adjacent to the campus.
Early Dismissal: An early dismissal is issued for closures that do not require immediate emergency evacuation of the campus but rather an early closing requiring a controlled release. This is not an emergency campus-wide evacuation; parking lots operate normally.
Oversight Department: Vice Chancellor for Administration & Finance
Responsible Party within Department: Vice Chancellor for Administration & Finance
Monitoring: After Action Reports are prepared by the Office of Emergency Management, usually within 30 days of the disruption. They include reports regarding major storm damages and emergencies.
Authority: Clery Act, DOC. T99-060, Passed by the UMass BOT 8/4/99, revised 12/14/11. University of Massachusetts Emergency Management and Business Continuity and Planning Policy
- UMass Boston Alert System Policy, FY13-A&F-004-03
- Evacuation Policy, FY13-A&F-005-03
- Continuity Planning Policy, FY14-A&F-006-01