What does it mean when Dal closes?
Updated for 2020-21 academic year
With the majority of courses taking place through remote instruction, and with many faculty and staff continuing to work remotely, the university will focus on the safety and well-being of our faculty, staff and students, balanced against the need to maintain critical operations to the greatest extent possible.
Courses and instruction
In the event that weather conditions or emergency interruptions lead to a campus closure, delivery of courses (in-person or online) related to that campus (Halifax or Truro) would be suspended and would not resume until the university re-opens. Any communciation from the university would specify impacts as best as possible. Be advised that access to some supports and services may be impacted as well.
In the event of a university closure due to weather, or any other emergency interruption, during the 2020-21 academic year, faculty and staff:
- who are already working remotely should continue to work provided they are able to.
- who are working on campus but who can work remotely should continue their work remotely.
- whose work is deemed essential and is required front-line work (including those referenced in the Policy on University Closure or Class/Examination Cancellation) will be expected to remain at work on campus. (Those faculty and staff who are working on campus and who cannot work remotely will be permitted to go/stay home without loss of pay.)
For more information, review the Guidelines for University Emergency Interruptions for the 2020-21 Academic Year. (Login required.)
A campus closure may apply separately to different campuses in Halifax and Truro. Dal closures in Halifax also apply to classes and offices at the University of King’s College.
Sometimes, the Halifax campuses and the Agricultural Campus in Truro will close only for part of the day (for example, until noon), with a time announced for when conditions will be re-evaluated and the decision updated.
The university has a number of different channels that may be used to communicate storm closures.
A DalSAFE Campus Alert may be:
- posted to dal.ca, myDal and this website
- sent via text message (you must sign up to receive these)
- sent to your dal.ca email
- sent as a notification through the DalSafe mobile app
- posted to university Twitter feeds such as @dalhousieu, @dalsecurity and @dalagriculture
The DalSAFE Campus Alert message will specify whether the closures apply to the Halifax campuses, the Truro campus or both.
Media outlets (radio, TV, news websites) are encouraged to share Dal’s status, and a message is also typically placed on the Dal switchboard phone line (902-494-2211). For the Agricultural Campus, you can check the emergency phone line (902-893-6027 or 877-672-2363).
In cases where Dal remains open but there may be isolated closures or cancellations on campus, the DalSAFE website may be updated should there be closures or a reduction to services at facilities such as Dalplex or the Libraries.
How and why Dal closes due to weather
The decision to close is made by the vice-president finance and administration in consultation with the university’s director of security and senior staff in Facilities Management. (In the case of a Truro closure, the decision is made by the campus principal in consultation with Security and Facilities.)
Factors considered include:
- current and forecasted weather conditions
- feedback from Facilities Management on the condition of campus roads, sidewalks and entrances
- status of roads and public transit more generally
- disadvantages of sending individuals back into the weather once they have arrived on campus, as well as consideration to the anticipated conditions during commute periods
In the event of a closure before the start of regular office hours, the university will make and communicate the decision by 6 a.m. If a closure takes place during office hours, Dal will announce the time at which classes are cancelled and employees are excused to depart. (Where possible, this will be at least one hour prior to the cancellation going into effect.)
If Dal remains open but you have concerns about your ability to make it to campus, please contact your professor or, for employees, your supervisor.