HFC Campus Procedures: Weather and Emergencies

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 reasonably clear of ice, snow, and other impediments. It is possible that extreme weather, road, parking lot, sidewalk, heating / cooling, and facility conditions might require us to close our campuses for the safety of our community. We understand that closures are disruptive, and we try to minimize them while prioritizing safety.

Keep in mind that, as a College, our procedures are not the same as K-12 districts. We will remain open on days when the weather is wintry but the roads, parking lots, and sidewalks remain safe and reasonable to navigate with appropriate caution. We also generally do not close due to cold temperatures, unless the temperatures are low enough to compromise safety. We recommend you leave extra time for driving to and from campus on wintry days, and we recommend that you dress in warm clothing that covers exposed skin (such as coat, hat/hood, scarf, gloves, and boots), if you are walking across campus on days when the temperatures are below freezing.

Please review the information below, so you will know in advance how we handle winter weather. As a reminder, if you do not see a closure announcement on our College home page, it means we are open.

Our posture is to remain open to serve our community and deliver the education you expect of us, as long as it is safe to do so.

What to expect if a decision is made to close the College campuses

(Please review the sections at the bottom of this webpage to learn how we make our weather-related decisions.)

If weather and on-ground conditions are so poor that we have to close the HFC campuses, the following procedures will be implemented:

  1. 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 or hear a closure notice, it means we are OPEN for normal business.

  2. 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 on-campus activities will be canceled.
    Exceptions for specific activities or remote operations may be made at the discretion of the College president. Such exceptions will be announced in detail with any campus 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.

  3. Closures will usually, but not always, last all day: In most cases, on-campus 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 campuses are closed in the morning and the College announces a late start, our campuses 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, including emails to the College community. Refer to www.hfcc.edu for specific details following any campus closure.

  4. 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 our campuses are closed.

  5. Decision time for evening closures: The decision to close our campuses 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 our campuses.
    Students: if you are concerned about safe travel to campus for evening classes on an evening when our campuses remain open, contact your instructor directly, in advance, for information about your particular course. Your instructor’s contact information is included in your course syllabus.

  6. Closures will affect everyone traveling to our campuses, 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 do not come to campus when the campuses are closed. If you are on campus when a closure is announced, please leave campus as quickly as you safely can, to assist our Facilities personnel in clearing the lots and sidewalks and managing our campuses.

  7. Campuses will reopen the next day: No matter what time our campuses close (morning, mid-day, or evening), the campuses will reopen on the day following a closure, unless otherwise specified and 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 campuses will reopen the next day (technically, at 6:00 a.m. on the day after the closure).

  8. Exams and major deadlines: If a 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.

  9. On-campus activities not sponsored by HFC: In most cases, all activities on campus are canceled when our campuses are 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 campus closures at HFC below.

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 recognize that we have a large, diverse community, and there are many perspectives on what decision should be made at any given time.

We work to keep our campuses 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 in the early morning hours, the president begins discussing the question of weather and campus conditions with facilities and senior leaders. In collaboration with this team, the president considers the following factors:

  1. Current weather conditions
  2. Weather forecast
  3. Select local colleges’ open/close decisions (though our decision is always our own)
  4. Local and regional road conditions
  5. Road, parking lot, and sidewalk conditions on both HFC campuses
  6. 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 for our campuses to remain open. If we decide to close our campuses or to open them later than usual, announcements will begin to appear on the HFC website and 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 our campuses are open, if weather or road conditions worsen significantly throughout the day and we believe it is unsafe to remain open, we might decide to close our campuses 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. (Circumstances might require this time to be pushed back). If we decide to close, announcements will begin to appear on our website and all the channels listed above within minutes of the decision.

The College does not use the same procedures as K-12 districts

Because of the disruption that is caused whenever we close the College, we will remain open on days when the weather is wintry but the roads, parking lots, and sidewalks remain safe and reasonable to navigate with appropriate caution. We recommend you leave extra time for driving to and from campus on wintry days. We recommend that you dress in warm clothing if you are walking across campus on days when the temperatures are below freezing.

How we will notify you about campus closures

If the entire College is closed, HFC will attempt to 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, it means that Henry Ford College, our campuses and remote operations are 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! If you do not sign up, you will not receive the text alert.
3. E-mail: HFC will send an e-mail message to all HFC faculty and staff (via Outlook), and to all students (via HawkMail).
4. Social media: The closings will be posted to our Facebook page and Twitter feed.
5. 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.

NOTE: Individual departments on campus may wish to use an employee phone tree to reach out to individuals to 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 that each employee verify the closure information by checking the above sources.

What to do if our campuses are 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 decision about their personal safety traveling to and from campus. College campuses may remain open when road conditions are safe but not perfect. 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. It will probably take longer to reach your destination, so please allow extra time.


Students, if you are unable to safely make it to on-campus classes for weather-related reasons on a day the College campuses are open, please reach out to communicate individually with your faculty members prior to your class periods. Each class 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 College campuses are open, will remain with your instructor. Your instructor is not required to give you an excused absence, and they may not be able to do so for a variety of reasons.


In the event of student absences: President Kavalhuna has requested that HFC instructors consider providing 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 our campuses are open, will remain with you. We understand there may be circumstances under which you are not able to waive attendance requirements. 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 our campuses are open, while being mindful of your own safety. Allow extra driving time if road conditions are not clear of snow or ice.

Please communicate with your immediate supervisor if you do not believe it is safe for you to come to campus, or if you are unable to travel to campus, on a day when our campuses are open and you are expected to be on campus.

After receiving consent from your supervisor not to come to work that day, you will need to use regular time-reporting procedures to take the day as a vacation/PTO 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 both our campuses are fully closed and all College classes and operations are canceled for part or all of a day, your clinical placements will also be canceled as follows*:

  1. Full-day closure for the entire College: Your clinicals will be canceled for the entire day.
  2. Late start for the entire College: Your clinicals will start at the same time the College opens.
  3. Early closure for the entire College: Your clinicals will end at the same time the College ends its classes and operations for the day.

When all or part of the College is open, you are expected to participate in your clinical placements as normal. If 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 within reason, based on your overall standing in the program and other factors.

* NOTE: if 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.

Non-weather emergency closures or partial closures

If one or both of the HFC campuses needs to be closed for a non-weather-related emergency (such as a localized 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 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 or partial closures, so any non-weather-related closures might happen on very short notice. We will make our best efforts to notify our community and the public immediately, using standard HFC communications channels such as email, our website, and social media.

Please note that non-weather situations may require the closure of only one of our campuses or even a single building on a campus, and these closures might not last all day. Please review our closure notices carefully for the details of any partial or full campus closure. Contact your supervisor with questions.

The College remains OPEN for classes and operations during partial closure events

When all or part of the College remains open, employees and students are responsible to continue their work, classes, clinicals, and other College-related activities, (in-person and/or remotely).

Information for employees

  1. Facilities and Campus Safety employees who are required to report to campus will work their shifts as normal.
  2. If you are already scheduled to work remotely, or if you work in the part of campus(es) that remain(s) open, you should work as normal.
  3. If you are scheduled to work on the part of campus(es) that is (are) closed, you may be asked to work in another location on campus, or to work remotely if that is part of your department’s work operations. You may also choose to take PTO until your area of campus reopens, in consultation with your supervisor.
  4. If the College is not able to provide advance notice of a partial closure, and you are not able to work in an alternate location (such as Skylight Café employees, for example) you will receive a reporting allowance as detailed in the SSA contract.

If you still need to contact us directly

Please review all information on this webpage carefully before calling us with questions. You will find that most questions are addressed on this webpage.

  1. Campus switchboard (please check the above official sources before calling!): 1-800-585-HFC2 (4322)
  2. Campus Safety Dispatch: 313-845-9630
  3. East Campus Safety Office: 313-317-1787
  4. Marketing and Communications: communications@hfcc.edu (This address is not always monitored, and you will not receive an immediate reply. For timely service, call one of the numbers above.)

Guidelines for staying safe on and off campus

HFC provides an extensive set of guidelines for how to stay safe. Topics covered include:

  1. Safety as a community
  2. Safety guidelines for meeting strangers
  3. Vehicle, driving, and personal safety
  4. Pedestrian safety on campus
  5. Internet and digital safety
  6. Campus emergency procedures

Review our safety guidelines!

Latest revision: January 2024