Administration Policies


UMB Policy on Emergency Conditions: Cancellation of Classes and Release of Employees

Administration   |   Approved May 15, 2020

Responsible VP/AVP

Dawn M. Rhodes, DBA, MBA

Revision History

Approved by the President, November 1996; Revised August 18, 2017; Revised March 6, 2020; Revised May 15, 2020.


This policy is adopted to implement USM Policy VI - 12.00. It is the general policy of the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) that the UMB campus is always open for business and employees are expected to report and to remain on duty, regardless of decisions to cancel classes or decisions to close other USM institutions, campuses, regional centers, other locations used by UMB, or other government offices. However, emergencies can occur that require complete or partial closure of the UMB campus.

Policy Statement

 I. Definitions

a. Essential Employee – A UMB employee who is required to report to a designated work location (or to a remote/alternate work location) to ensure the operation of essential services during an emergency or when UMB has suspended operations. Essential services may include, but are not limited to, public safety and security, operations and maintenance, snow removal, patient care, laboratory operations, continuity of information technology, veterinary care, and certain skilled trades. Whether an Essential Employee is required to report to work during an emergency or closure will depend upon the circumstances of the emergency or closure and the functions provided by the employee.

b. Liberal Leave – A leave designation made by the President, or designee, under which UMB employees who have not been designated as Essential Employees may choose to work, or to take accrued annual, holiday, personal, or compensatory leave, or leave without pay, without the requirement of prior supervisory approval. Supervisors should establish reasonable procedures for a non-essential employee to follow to notify theemployee’s department if the employee decides to take any form of liberal leave. Prior approval to take liberal leave is not required.

c. Emergency Closure – A closure necessitated by an emergency event, which may include severe weather events, power or water outages, and situations where local, state or national civil authorities require a full or partial campus closure.

d. UMB Campus – For purposes of this policy, the UMB Campus includes those educational, research, clinical, and administrative sites that are located in Baltimore City and Baltimore County. Where an employee’s designated work location or facility isoutside of these geographical boundaries, they will be required to report to work unless subject to an Emergency Closure applicable to their worksite.


II. Roles and Responsibilities

a. Only the President or Executive Vice President may order an Emergency Closure of UMB. No other UMB official has this authority. If the Governor declares a State-wide closing of government offices, the President will take necessary action as deemed appropriate under the circumstances.

b. The nature of an emergency will determine which employees are required to report to their designated work location (or to a remote/alternate work location) during an Emergency Closure. Employees who are not notified that they have been designated as Essential Employees have no requirement to report to their regular worksite during an Emergency Closure. Depending on the nature and length of the Emergency Closure, they may be reassigned to work from an alternative worksite including working from home.

c. Deans and Vice Presidents or their designees are responsible for providing written notice to each employee in their department or school who is designated as an Essential Employee. A non-exempt employee should be provided notice of designation as an Essential Employee in accordance with applicable Collective Bargaining Agreement, if any.

d. Absent instructions to the contrary, an Essential Employee is required to report for work during any Emergency Closure. Each department or unit may outline procedures for Essential Employees to follow (e.g., calling designated supervisor, checking email, etc.) to determine whether they are required to report to work at the campus (or at a remote/alternate work location) based upon the nature of a given Emergency Closure.

e. If operational requirements change during the course of an Emergency Closure, UMB may make changes in the roster of Essential Employees required to report to work.

f.  In the event that Emergency Closure occurs on a day that an employee is approved to telework, the employee shall be required to work.

g. In the event that an employee is assigned to work at a location that is not affected by whatever weather or emergency condition precipitates the Emergency Closure, the employee is expected to report to work.

h. In acute emergencies where a facility must be evacuated immediately, such as in the case of a fire, the responsible administrator should attempt to contact the President’s Office prior to sending employees home. If this is not possible, the President’s Office should be contacted as soon as possible following the emergency.

i.  In the event the President closes UMB for daytime activities and the conditions that triggered the closure improve during the day, a Dean or his/her designee may, with prior approval from the President, open his/her respective School for evening classes. In situations where the President announces that UMB is open or is operating under a delayed opening schedule for daytime activities and conditions deteriorate during the day, a Dean or his/her designee has the discretion to cancel evening classes for his/herrespective School, but should notify the President’s Office of the decision.

j. The President has designated the Executive Vice President to make decisions under this policy in the absence of the President.


III. Emergency Closures; Delayed Opening; Liberal Leave

a. As required in severe inclement weather or other emergency conditions, the President or his designee may delay campus opening or close the campus during the day. In such an event, official notice shall be provided through the UMB website and UMB Alerts. Additional notice may be provided through media outlets.

b. Alternative to an Emergency Closure, conditions may warrant the President or his designee to declare Liberal Leave. If the President declares Liberal leave, an employee who has not been designated as an Essential Employee may elect to work or to take accrued annual, holiday, personal, or compensatory leave, or leave without pay.  Supervisors may establish reasonable procedures for a non-essential employee to follow to notify the employee’s department if the employee decides to take leave, but priorapproval to take leave shall not be required when Liberal Leave is in effect.

c. Deans and Vice Presidents or their designees may use discretion in considering the tardiness or absence of an employee when Liberal Leave is in effect. This means they may grant the employee the use of accrued leave or allow the employee to make up the time within the workweek. Deans and Vice Presidents may not grant Administrative Leave.

d. The most dependable and timely information concerning UMB's status in severe weather or other emergency situations will be provided through the Campus Emergency Information Phone Line (410-706-8622), the UMB Campus alert system (phone messages, texts, and/or e-mails), UMB Campus Alert web page, and the UMB home page. Radio and television announcements may be helpful, but can be confusing and less timely. Occasionally, media confuse UMB with other institutions. UMB employees should follow only announcements that specifically address employees of UMB. By wayof example, announcements stating that, “State employees are excused,” “State offices are closed,” “University of Baltimore classes are canceled,” or “University of Marylandis closed” do not excuse UMB employees from reporting to work.


IV. Leave Issues

a. In the event of a delayed opening, afternoon closing, or evening closing, an employee who is not an Essential Employee and who was scheduled to be at work will be excused from work on paid Administrative Leave for the time the employee was scheduled to work when UMB was closed.

b. An Exempt Essential Employee who is required to work after an Emergency Closure has been declared will be compensated with compensatory leave. A Nonexempt Essential Employee will have the options of compensatory leave or salary payment, equivalent to the amount of Administrative Leave granted to non-essential employees who are released from the same UMB worksite.

c. An employee whose paid leave had been approved prior to a decision to delay opening or to close the campus is required to charge leave to the appropriate category as previously approved and will not be granted paid Administrative Leave.


V. Reduced Operations and Reassignments for Potentially Unsafe Work Conditions

Certain circumstances may arise in which the University decides to reduce operations and/or reassign an employee’s worksite because the regular worksite could be unsafe. This could include situations in which the University initiates social distancing in order to minimizeemployees’ exposure to an infectious outbreak by allowing or directing employees to work from home. Employees who have been reassigned to perform their regular duties remotely are required to work during such an event. If these employees need time off, they are required to take accrued leave of some form.


VI. Questions

Questions regarding this policy should be directed to Employee/Labor Relations, Human Resource Services (410-706-2606).


Fill out my online form.