Common Questions and Answers
Q: Who makes the final determination?
A: The final determination to delay classes or close a campus is made by the Vice President of Administrative Services for the Walla Walla Campuses, the Dean of the Clarkston Campus for the Clarkston Campus and the Dean of Corrections Education for the Coyote Ridge Corrections Center.
Q: How is the decision made?
A: Safety is the primary concern in making these decisions, with the understanding that winter storms and snowfall are common in Eastern Washington and that if the majority of students and employees can safely travel to campus then the campus will remain open. Early morning deliberations (typically conducted between 4:30 a.m. and 5:00 a.m.) are conducted with the County Roads Department to compare information and to determine the impact of the inclement weather in each local community.
Q: In the event of severe weather, will the decision to close WWCC be made the day of or night before classes?
A: The determination to close WWCC is made by 6:00 a.m. the day of class.
Q: Why does WWCC remain open when K-12 School Districts announce they are closed?
A: WWCC’s goal is to remain open whenever possible, with the understanding that if most students and staff can safely make it to school or work, the campus will remain open. K-12 schools have a higher legal standard because they transport children. K-12 students also must stand out in the inclement weather waiting for buses and the K-12 schools rely on school bus systems. WWCC, in contrast, serves adults who drive or take public transportation. Furthermore, WWCC does not have the ability to make up “snow days” like K-12 schools do, so every day WWCC is closed is a day of instruction lost to faculty and students. We understand that local conditions may vary and that while the majority of students and staff may be able to make it to school or work, some areas may be more affected by the inclement weather. You must take responsibility for your own safety.
Q: Are day and evening classes treated differently?
A: They are, with decisions made for day classes by 6:00 a.m. and for evening classes by 4:30 p.m. It is possible to have any portion of the schedule cancelled or the campus closed. If an unexpected weather front comes in and it is best to cancel classes midday to allow students and staff to travel home and/or avoid heavy traffic times, the campus could be closed with short notice. Notifications will be provided as stated above.
Q: If the campus is open, am I required to come to class or work?
A: Your safety is of the upmost importance and is your responsibility. Travel conditions can vary greatly from one part of our service district to another. You must use your best judgement in determining if conditions in your location are too hazardous for travel to class and/or work. If you do not make it to class, it is important for you to contact your instructor as soon as possible to let him or her know why you were not in attendance. Ultimately, it is up to each instructor to determine how he or she will handle these types of absences. If you are unable to make it to work, it is your responsibility to notify your supervisor. Employees will be required to take leave in accordance with their employee classification.
Q: Why isn’t the campus closed on some days when the media or law enforcement are reporting hazardous road conditions?
A: This is another example of how local conditions can vary in our service district. We view and monitor expected weather conditions and we depend on first hand reports of road conditions received through our campus maintenance staff, the County Roads Department, and weather reporting services to determine whether or not they are passable. Moreover, law enforcement is understandably concerned about managing worst-case scenarios and focus on the areas that are most challenging. Despite all the warnings, some may not encounter travel challenges while others may be turned back by law enforcement due to snow drifting on the highway. If the majority of students and staff can safely make it to campus, we will remain open.
Q: If my class is cancelled, will it be made up?
A: Some instructors may attempt to set a makeup session when students are available, or use other means to make up the work. The form of make-up will depend on the nature of the class at the discretion of the instructor.
Q: If campus is closed for the entire day, are athletic practices/games and other extracurricular activities such as theater productions or campus events also cancelled?
A: If the campus is closed, it is because weather and campus conditions are such that the campus is closed to the public and its students. Weather may be to the extent that maintenance staff cannot keep up with snow or icy conditions so campus grounds may be impossible to maintain. Additionally, the maintenance staff may also be busy clearing parking lots with heavy duty machinery and cars in parking lots will serve as an impediment to preparing the campus for reopening.
Q: If the campus is closed, can I still be on campus?
A: Employees and students will need to leave campus once it is closed. This allows facilities crews to more readily clear snow from parking lots and roadways as it accumulates. Some employees are required to report to campus even if the college is closed; otherwise, employees are encouraged to stay home.
Q: If the campus is open during inclement weather, what are safety precautions I would want to take?
A: We all need to prepare for winter weather. Even though WWCC grounds, custodial and maintenance staff are up early during snowy or icy conditions, deicing sidewalks and roadways, it is advised to take extra care driving and walking on campus. If the snow is occurring during the day it is sometimes impossible to keep up with clearing the parking lots, so use sidewalks as much as possible as they receive constant attention. The maintenance crew will continue to make multiple passes to keep sidewalks and parking lots as clear as possible. Please wear appropriate footwear to help avoid a slippery fall.