Winter weather in Michigan can be snowy and icy, and the possibility of tornadoes, other major storms, and extreme heat exists throughout the year. To serve our students and community, Henry Ford College makes every effort to keep our campuses open and clear of ice, snow, and other impediments. Still, there are times when weather, road, parking lot, sidewalk, heating / cooling, and facility conditions require us to close our campuses for the safety of our community.
What to expect if a decision is made to close the College
In the event that inclement weather necessitates closure of the HFC campuses, the following procedures will be implemented:
We will notify the campus community and the public immediately: Details are in the "how we will notify you" section below. We use multiple channels, and we broadcast the information widely. If you do not see/hear a closure notice, it means we are OPEN for normal business.
Both campuses will be closed, unless otherwise specified: Most weather-related closures will affect both the main and east campuses, unless a weather-related power outage is localized. In most cases when the campuses are closed, all HFC classes and activities will be canceled.
Exceptions for specific activities may be made at the discretion of the College president. Such exceptions will be announced in detail with any closure notices.
Hawks home athletics competitions on campus will be canceled unless an exception is made and announced publicly. Hawks away competitions may or may not be canceled. We will notify you when a decision is made.
Closures will usually, but not always, last all day: In most cases, classes and on-campus HFC activities will be canceled for the entire day and evening after a closure is announced during the day. However, if the College is closed in the morning and announces a late start, the College will remain open following the late start. Also, in some cases, athletics events will still take place after a closure. Public notifications will be provided. Refer to www.hfcc.edu for specific details following any campus closure.
Decision time for daytime closures: The decision to close campus for the day will be made as early as possible in the morning. Public notifications will be sent within minutes after a decision is made to close. Refer to the section below to learn how we will notify you if the College is closed.
Decision time for evening closures: The decision to close campus for evening activities will usually be made by 3:00 p.m. Circumstances may require this time to be pushed back. Public notifications will be made as soon as possible after a decision is made to close.
Students: if you are concerned about safe travel to campus for evening classes on an evening when the College remains open, contact your instructor directly, in advance, for information about your particular course. Your instructor’s contact information is included in your course syllabus.
Closures will affect everyone traveling to campus, except designated personnel: Essential personnel (such as specified Facilities or Campus Safety staff) know who they are. If you have not been designated to come to campus, please avoid coming to campus during a closure. If you are on campus when a closure is announced, please leave campus as quickly as possible, to assist our Facilities personnel in clearing the lots and sidewalks, or addressing the reasons the campus was closed.
College reopens the next day: No matter what time the College closes (morning, mid-day, or evening), the College will reopen on the day following a closure, unless otherwise specified or a new, dated announcement is made about another closure. All closure announcements will include a specific day and date for the closure. If no specific re-opening day or time is announced, the campus will reopen the next day (technically, at midnight on the day of the closure).
Exams and major deadlines: If the closure occurs during exams or a major deadline period, all students and faculty will be notified as soon as possible about make-up/rescheduling options or deadline extensions.
Students: Your instructor(s) will notify you of course-specific final exam information. During the regular semester (e.g. non-exam periods), please contact your instructor for information about individual course deadlines. Your instructor’s contact information is included in your course syllabus.
On-campus activities not sponsored by HFC: In most cases, all activities on campus are canceled when the College is closed. We recommend that you reach out to the sponsoring organization of your activity to verify the status and potential re-scheduling of that activity.
See further information about closures at HFC below.
How we will notify you about campus closures
HFC will use ALL of the following channels. These channels will be activated within minutes after a decision is made to close campus. Please check these communications sources before calling or e-mailing Henry Ford College.
NOTE: If you do not see a closure notice, Henry Ford College is OPEN for normal business.
Campus closure notification process:
1. (hfcc.edu), the HFC website, will include a large orange or yellow box containing all relevant closure information, with links to updates.
2. HFC Alert: a text / e-mail will be sent via the HFC Alerts system. Please sign up for HFC alerts! You will be glad you did.
3. Local TV and radio stations will be notified and will publish the information.
TV: Fox 2 Detroit, WDIV NBC Local 4, ABC channel 7, WWJ-TV CBS 62, CW50Detroit.com
Radio: WWJ News Radio AM 950 and WJR AM 760.
4. E-mail: HFC will send an e-mail message to all HFC faculty and staff (via Outlook), and to all students (via HawkMail).
5. Social media: The closings will be posted to our Facebook page and Twitter feed.
NOTE: Individual departments on campus may wish to use an employee phone tree to reach out to individuals and disseminate information rapidly. This should be arranged in advance within each department, along with the mode of notification (phone call, text message, app, etc.). We recommend you verify the closure information by checking the above sources.
Non-weather emergency closures or restricted operations
If one or both of the HFC campuses needs to be closed for a non-weather-related emergency (such as a power outage, for example), we will use the procedures listed above to notify the public, except we will not use network TV and radio, depending on the timing and scope of the closure. We might or might not use the early alert system for partial closures, depending on the number of people affected. Please do not rely only on one communications channel to stay informed. Email will always be one of the notification channels, so be sure to check your HFC email.
We are not able to anticipate campus emergencies, so any non-weather-related closures might happen on very short notice. We will make our best efforts to notify the public immediately, using standard HFC communications channels such as email, our website, and social media.
Please note that non-weather emergencies may require the closure of only one of our campuses or even a single building on campus, and these closures might not last all day. Please review our closure notices carefully for the details of any campus closure or restricted operations.
Restricted operations and partial closures are not full-College closures
Employees and students are responsible to report to work, classes, clinicals, and other College-related activities, (in-person and/or online) when all or part of the College remains open, unless otherwise designated.
If you still need to contact us directly
- Campus switchboard (please check the above official sources before calling!): 1-800-585-HFC2 (4322)
- Campus Safety Dispatch: 313-845-9630
- East Campus Safety Office: 313-317-1787
- Marketing and Communications: firstname.lastname@example.org (This address is not always monitored. For timely service, call one of the numbers above.)
How we decide whether to close or remain open
The decision to close, delay, or remain open is difficult in many inclement weather situations. We try to reach the best decision based on all available information.
We work to keep the College open whenever we safely can, to deliver the education our students expect of us. At the same time, safety is our primary consideration.
Process details: morning / daytime decisions
Starting at around 4:00 a.m., the president begins discussing the question of weather and campus conditions with facilities staff and senior leaders. The group considers the following factors:
- Current weather conditions
- Weather forecast
- Select local colleges' open/close decisions (though our decision is always our own)
- Local and regional road conditions
- Road, parking lot, and sidewalk conditions on both HFC campuses
- Our ability to stay ahead of weather conditions and keep our HFC campuses clear and safe for driving, parking, wheelchairs, and walking
Between 5:00 and 6:00 a.m., we have analyzed all of these factors and will conclude whether it is safe to remain open. If we decide to close or to open later than usual, announcements will begin to appear on our website and all the the channels listed above within minutes of the decision.
Process details: afternoon and evening decisions
The expected weather and road conditions for the entire day are considered in our morning decisions.
When the College is open, if weather or road conditions worsen significantly throughout the day, and we believe it is unsafe to remain open, we may decide to close the College in the afternoon. This will cancel all evening classes and most activities. We try to make these decisions by 3:00 p.m. so people traveling for evening classes will have notice. If we decide to close, announcements will begin to appear on our website and all the channels listed above within minutes of the decision.
What to do if the College is open, but you do not believe it is safe to come to campus
There might be days when the weather is wintry but our campuses and local roads are safe to navigate. In such cases, each employee or student has to make the best possible decision about their personal safety traveling to and from campus. The College may remain open when road conditions are safe but not optimal. This means you will need to reduce driving speeds and increase distances between cars, but you can still navigate the roads safely with appropriate caution and driving skills.
Students, if you are unable to safely make it to campus for weather-related reasons on a day the College is open, please reach out to communicate individually with your faculty members prior to your class period. Each course is different, and faculty are the experts on providing the best education to our students. Your faculty members’ contact information is in each course’s syllabus.
Keep in mind, you are always responsible for completing all coursework and materials according to the requirements as defined by your instructor. Any decision about providing special accommodations due to weather, on days when the College is open, will remain with your instructor. Your instructor is not required to give you an excused absence.
In the event of student absences: President Kavalhuna has requested that HFC instructors provide reasonable waivers of your attendance policies and, if possible, your assignment due dates, in recognition of individual family and students’ decisions not to come to campus for weather-related safety reasons.
We know that any decisions about providing special accommodations for students due to weather, on days when the College is open, will remain with you. Students know this too.
In the event of your absence: If you need to cancel your class because you are unable to safely make it to campus, please notify your students as soon as you are able, and include information about any changed due dates, exam dates, or make-up provisions. You will also need to notify your dean’s office.
Staff and administrators
Staff members should make your best effort to report to work when the College is open, while being mindful of your own safety. Please communicate with your immediate supervisor if you do not believe it is safe to come to campus, or if you are unable to travel to campus, on a day when the College is open.
If you are unable to make it to work on a day when the College is open, you will need to use regular time-reporting procedures to take the day as a vacation day or personal business day, in accordance with your respective collective bargaining agreement.
Students in clinical placements
Students in the HFC nursing program and other health professions programs often have clinical placements as part of your curriculum. Clinical placements do have a strict attendance policy, to ensure you achieve the required number of hours in a clinical setting and achieve the learning objectives for your profession.
If the College is fully closed (IF both campuses are closed and all College operations are canceled), your clinical placements will be canceled as follows*:
- Full-day, complete College closures: Your clinicals will be canceled for the entire day.
- Late start for the College: Your clinicals will start at the time the College opens.
- Early closure for the entire College: Your clinicals will end at the same time the College ends all operations for the day.
If the College is open and you feel you cannot safely travel to your clinical location, please reach out to your instructor to let them know. If you have already used your permitted absence times, we will take your circumstances into consideration. We cannot guarantee an excused absence, but we will work with you based on your circumstances.
* NOTE: if the College is on restricted operations, or only one campus is fully or partially closed, clinical placements will continue as scheduled. Clinical closures are only in effect if the College is fully closed and all normal operations are canceled.
Guidelines for staying safe on and off campus
HFC provides an extensive set of guidelines for how to stay safe. Topics covered include:
- Safety as a community
- Safety guidelines for meeting strangers
- Vehicle, driving, and personal safety
- Pedestrian safety on campus
- Internet and digital safety
- Campus emergency procedures
Latest revision: February 2021