Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon Portland Community College

College Closure Procedures

Deep Snow

Weather, infrastructure failures, or College or area emergencies may necessitate delayed opening or closure of one or more College sites. These situations have proven to be difficult to predict in advance, and difficult to communicate accurately. Identifying the scope of PCC facilities impacted or possibly impacted has also been difficult. Despite everyone’s best intentions, occasionally the information reported by media has been inaccurate as to the scope of planned closures, causing confusion among students, staff, and the public. Given the uncertainties, no single approach to all possible situations makes sense.

What we value

  • We value that students receive their educational experience as predictably as possible;
  • We value that students, staff and the public have a safe physical environment when at PCC, and in traveling to/from PCC.

Policy approach generally

  • When weather-related closure is warranted, we will tend toward closure of all College facilities except when the situation or forecasts are clear that only isolated facilities are affected;
  • Infrastructure-related failures (i.e., power failures) may tend to impact only a specific site. Therefore, we will tend toward closure of individual facilities if site-specific circumstances dictate;
  • In all cases, we will be guided in our decision-making by the values above.
  • All efforts reasonable for the situation will be made to involve campus leadership in both condition assessment and recommendations.
  • We encourage staff and students to subscribe to our primary notification service – PCC Alerts, a free service that will send emergency notification to subscribers via email or as a cell phone text message.

Implementation guidelines

  • The Directors of Public Safety and Facilities Management Services will assess levels of threat posed by weather and infrastructure and may recommend a “closure alert”. To the maximum extent possible, their recommendation will be based on survey of conditions present or forecast.
  • College facilities staff will make closure recommendations to the Executive Vice President, Finance & Administration.
  • The Executive Vice President, Finance & Administration, will review closure or potential closure recommendations with the President. The Executive Vice President, Finance & Administration, will make the decision.
  • When possible, a decision to close or delay opening will be made by 5am for upcoming “start of day”, and by 3pm for late afternoon/evening programs and classes.
  • The Senior Director, Communications & Community Engagement, Public Relations Manager, or designee will post closure information to PCC Alerts, FlashAlert, and the PCC website, as well as share the closure decision by email with students, staff and faculty. FlashAlert is the single point of contact service used by local media for closure information.
  • Closure of a site, or of the College, means that all sites or college facilities, as the case may be, are locked, no programs or classes are held, and only management-designated Essential Personnel are permitted on College facilities. Employees should consult their supervisor with any questions about working during the closure period.
  • Closure information will be posted on the College’s website and on MyPCC.
In the case of a mid-day closure
  • When a decision to close mid-day is made, the closure time will be specified. The need will be for prompt departure from the College, in order to minimize a likely worsening situation.
  • Public Safety and Facilities Management Services employees designated as Essential Personnel will remain on-site until authorized to leave by their supervisor, will notify faculty and staff by “walk-around” as soon as possible, and will progressively secure all facilities.
  • The objective is that all faculty, staff (except Essential Personnel, as designated in advance by management in accordance with College Closure Procedures), and students are out of PCC facilities no later than the decided closure time.
  • Public Safety will ensure that all facility occupants leave and buildings are locked and secured.
  • Executive Officers will set up “notification trees” for their respective organizations to ensure that staff members have accurate and current information.
  • “Closure” means that buildings are locked and alarmed, and (where installed) access gates to campus are locked.
  • It is expected that faculty/staff who are on site at the time of a mid-day closure will provide assistance to special needs students and staff.
  • Shuttle service drivers will make one additional scheduled run if weather allows after the announced closure time. They will also have TriMet passes to offer to shuttle users.
In case of a delayed opening
  • In case of delayed opening, gates to the campus/centers will be opened 60 minutes prior to the announced opening time. If, for example, we delay opening until 10am, that means that gates open at 9am, and whatever would normally happen at 10am occurs at the 10am opening time.
  • Shuttle service will begin 60 minutes prior to the announced opening time.
  • In the case of a delayed opening: If a class has more than 1.5 hours (one hour, 30 minutes) remaining at the time of the campus opening, the class will still meet when the campus opens.
    • Example: A lab is scheduled from 9-11:50am, and the campus opens late at 10am. The instructor will hold lab from 10-11:50am, saving nearly 2 of the 3 hours of the scheduled lab.
    • Example: A 4-hour Saturday physics class meets 11am-2:50pm, and the campus opens late at 12 noon. The instructor will hold class from 12-2:50pm, saving nearly 3 of the 4 hours of the scheduled class.

Information resources

The following are media sources that may provide closure information.

Continuous improvement

This policy guidance is very much subject to continuous improvement, as we find better ways to communicate in difficult situations and where we find procedure shifts that are needed in order to improve how we deal with potential closure situations.