College of Southern Maryland
8730 Mitchell Road
PO Box 910
La Plata, MD 20646-0910
How are decisions to close or to delay opening made?
The decision to close or to delay opening is made after seeking input from numerous college, government and other sources about the ability to maintain campus accessibility, road conditions in Southern Maryland, actions taken by area public school districts, local weather conditions and weather forecasts for the coming hours.
Who makes the decision to close or to delay opening?
Ordinarily, the President makes the decision based on recommendations from the Vice President and General Counsel, the Vice Presidents of the Leonardtown and Prince Frederick Campuses, and the Director of Public Safety, and based on the information gathered from many other sources.
When are the decisions made?
There is no fixed time by which a decision to close or delay opening is made. While many people like to complain or joke about weather forecasting, the truth is that it remains an inexact science and weather conditions can change both quickly and significantly. Because forecasts can be wrong, it is not possible to commit to making a decision by a specific time. However, we do recognize that people are anxious for a decision to be made and do consider media and commuting schedules in making decisions. While we attempt to make decisions for all-day closings and delayed openings by 5:30 AM, you should always consider the possibility that the decision may come after that time.
How do I find out if the college is closed or is delaying opening?
The very first avenue of communications updated is the college closing hotline: 301-369-1999, or 800-650-4023. The college closing hotline is an excellent choice for the most current information about the college's closing status.
CSM.TXT is CSM's alert service provided through e2Campus™. This service will send you instant alerts and time-sensitive messages, including up-to-date information on emergencies and campus closings. Messages can be sent via text message to your cell phone or via e-mail. Registration is free. All text messaging fees will apply. Get more information and register for CSM.TXT.
The college's campus advisory Web page is updated shortly after a decision is made. You should consider bookmarking this page: http://www.csmd.edu/emergency.html.
You can also register at http://www.schoolsout.com for e-mail notification of closings and delayed openings.
For employees, an “Everyone E-mail” is distributed shortly after a decision is made.
The college also notifies these media outlets of closings and delayed openings:
WMAL 630 AM
WSMD 98.3 Star FM
WKIK 102.9 FM
WTOP 103.5 FM
WGMS 104.1 FM
WAVA 105.1 FM
WRQX 107.3 FM
WRC Channel 4
WJLA Channel 7
WUSA Channel 9
WTTG Fox Channel 5
News Channel 8
How do I know which campus is closed?
Announcements made that the college is closed include all campuses. Announcements that the La Plata campus is closed include the St. Charles Children's Learning Center as well as the Waldorf Center for Higher Education and the Industrial Training Center. Announcements that the Leonardtown campus is closed include the Lexington Park Training Center. Announcements that the Prince Frederick campus is closed include only that campus. The college's telecommuting centers operate their own winter weather plans and are not included in college closing announcements unless explicitly stated.
Why doesn't CSM follow the decisions of the local public school districts?
School districts must consider factors that do not affect the college. They have bus fleets that must be mobilized hours in advance to be able to pick up and drop off children. In addition, they need to make announcements early enough so that parents or guardians may be in a position to be home or to pick up their children. For these reasons and others, the college does not necessarily follow the decisions made by local school districts, although we do consider their decisions.
Don't you know how inconvenient it is to arrange childcare if public schools are closed and the college is open?
Yes, we do! Many of us involved in the process leading to a closing or delayed opening decision have or have had young children. We understand what it is like to balance home and work responsibilities. Because winter weather comes every year, NOW is a good time to consider alternate arrangements you may be able to make with reliable family members, neighbors, friends or colleagues.
What college department should I call to find out whether the college is closed or is going to close?
None. Employees, students and the public should not call any college department to find out whether the college is closed or is going to close. Departments not involved in gathering information or making decisions or communications about closings will not have any "inside scoop" to give you. Calling departments that do perform those functions will only delay their ability to gather the information, make decisions and initiate communications and will therefore put other persons at risk. We ask that you not call departments for closing or delayed opening information.
Is an announcement made if the college is staying open?
Communications will not be initiated if a decision is made to remain open. You should assume that the college is open unless it is previously scheduled to be closed (for example, winter break, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day) or an announcement of a closing or delayed opening is made.
What if another organization is holding an event at the college and the college is closed at the scheduled date and time?
If a college campus is closed, it is closed for all activities, whether sponsored by the college or by other entities. If an event by another entity is cancelled due to a college closing, you should contact the other entity to determine whether an alternate date will be scheduled or refunds will be offered.
What about young or inexperienced drivers, persons with disabilities or persons who live on unplowed, untreated or inclined roads?
Students, faculty and staff should put safety first when determining whether they should travel to campus in poor weather. Instructors and employee supervisors are encouraged to accommodate those who cannot make it to campus or who need to leave early due to travel difficulties. Employees, including faculty, will be expected to contact their supervisors or department chairs and to take leave time if they are unable to work during scheduled hours in which the college is open. Part-time faculty who are unable to teach due to weather conditions when the college is open may have their compensation reduced, consistent with college policy.
Who removes and treats snow and ice on campus?
The dedicated personnel of the Department of Physical Plant, sometimes aided by outside contractors, are responsible for snow and ice treatment. If you notice an area that is in particular need of treatment, you are encouraged to contact that department at 301-934-7734.