Number: OP 180
Effective: September 12, 2022
Department: Facilities Planning Management
Last Revision: September 1, 2022


To provide guidance for a safe and efficient response to catastrophic events that affect the College of Western Idaho’s faculty, staff and students and to ensure continuity of operations.


This policy applies to all College of Western Idaho’s students, faculty, and staff.


Catastrophic Event: A natural or man-made incident, which results in substantial damage or loss requiring major financial resources to repair or recover (i.e., fire, tornado, flood, pandemic, or other disaster).
Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP): An effort within individual organizations to ensure that essential functions continue to be performed during a disruption of normal operations.


Emergency and continuity of operations planning is a crucial function for the College of Western Idaho (CWI). CWI will mitigate the impact of operational disruptions to its campus community by implementing policies, procedures, and capabilities that provide continuity of operations should a catastrophic event occur.


catastrophic events and continuity of operations

CWI maintains and adheres to specific policies and procedures regarding crises, catastrophic events, and program discontinuances in order to minimize the length of time students’ educational activities are disrupted and minimize the length of time that students, faculty, and staff are displaced.

continuity of operations

CWI utilizes highly accessible, cloud-based educational technologies minimizing the likelihood of interruptions in the unlikely event campus facilities are not accessible. In addition, IT 080 – Information Privacy and Data Security policy ensures that systems are protected from vulnerabilities, are adequately secured, and backed up to prevent record destruction and/or data loss.

The following CWI resources are intended to help mitigate the impact of a catastrophic event on college operations:

• Permanent Academic Records Policies (Privacy Rights of Student Academic Records – CWI Catalog. Transcripts – CWI Catalog) provide guidance for ensuring the integrity, confidentiality and security of all documents and records created, received, or maintained in the course of college academic activity.

• Through the use of cloud-based technologies, in the event CWI campus facilities are not available and/or CWI closure, CWI transcripts can be provided off-site in an electronic format through a partnership with the National Student Clearinghouse.

• CWI’s Refund Policy (Tuition and Fees Refunds – CWI Catalog) provides guidance for ensuring financial refunds are processed in a timely manner consistent with CWI policy and applicable federal, state, and with the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) accreditation requirements. The President's Cabinet maintains the authority to enact additional refund measures due to a catastrophic event and associated extenuating circumstances.

• The CWI Emergency Handbook provides detailed emergency procedures for CWI faculty, staff, students, and visitors to ensure safety and protection of property during fire, severe weather, loss of utilities, and other emergencies. CWI also adheres to Emergency Notification Procedures.

Program discontinuances and financial compensation

In the unlikely instance due to a catastrophic event CWI is unable to deliver the instruction for which students have registered, CWI commits to one or more of the following courses of action, depending on the situation and on each individual student’s needs:

• Provide a reasonable instruction delivery alternative and/or services for which students have paid (example: online instruction delivery replaces in-person instruction delivery)

• Provide assistance in the transfer of credits to other institution(s) or determine an alternative program path at CWI.

• Provide a financial refund to the extent no alternative instructional delivery option, course or program that meet the Curriculum Guide Learning Outcomes, and/or services are available.

Should a discontinuance occur, Administration will notify students and provide available options. In accordance with institutional accreditation requirements, a teach-out plan will be submitted to the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) prior to its implementation.