Storm day communication
January 12, 2016

Picture this: Environment Canada has issued a storm warning; meetings and dates are being postponed; and people are looking anxiously (and excitedly) out the window for the first snowflakes.

At NSCAD, how do we decide if it’s a snow day and everyone can safely stay beneath the covers? The decision is made well in advance of the morning commute by taking into account current and forecasted weather conditions; information on the condition of roads and sidewalks; status of public transit; and anticipated conditions during commute periods.

Here’s the process:

The call is made early in the morning, approximately by 5:30-6 a.m. NSCAD’s Director of Facilities Randall Turple makes the call, consulting with his counterparts at other universities and with Sharon Johnson-Legere, NSCAD’s VP Finance.  If the decision to close the university is made, the decision is communicated to Marilyn Smulders, Director of Communications, who in turn makes the decision known on various channels as soon as possible.

The first place to check if campuses are closed is the NSCAD website under the heading “News.” A push notification (a text message) will also be sent out via the NSCAD mobile app to everyone who subscribes to the service. (LINK: Please see instructions for downloading AppArmour to your smart phone.) Outgoing messages will be updated on the main switchboard and the main phone line of Student and Academic Services.
Other places where NSCAD’s decision will be posted include: the NSCAD Facebook page, NSCAD’s Twitter account @NSCADUniversity, and CBC Nova Scotia’s Storm Centre. University closure will also be communicated to local radio stations, for example, CBC-Radio, C-100, The Bounce 101.3, Q104, etc.
The decision to close the university means classes and special events are cancelled and most faculty and staff are not required to report to work. It also means evening classes scheduled through Extended Studies are cancelled. However, except in unusual circumstances, the university is never usually completely closed; the security guards are on duty and students can access studios.
Should NSCAD decide to remain open and continue with classes when primary and secondary Halifax schools are closed, a simple message such as “NSCAD is open for business as usual” will be communicated on the website, Facebook and Twitter, without use of the wider communication channels.