In the event that University of Washington Friday Harbor Labs declares suspended operations (, e.g. for a snow day, pandemic, or other ‘emergency condition,’ only employees identified as performing an essential service should report to work. Employees in positions that are not designated as essential should not report to work, though they may work from home if their duties can be effectively carried out remotely and they’ve received advance permission from their supervisor to do so.

Essential personnel are those who must report to work during suspended operations because their position is necessary to support or maintain:

  • Human health, welfare and/or safety.
  • Information technology services or security.
  • Building or property security, safety, and integrity.
  • Research animals, specimens, or equipment.
  • Critical infrastructure (power, water, heat, roads, etc.).
  • Critical business, contractual, or legal obligations including employee payroll.

These positions and functions must be made clear, in writing, to each essential employee when they are appointed as such. The Operations Manager is charged with periodically reminding these employees of their status and responsibilities.  The Operations Manager must also ensure that employees in positions that are not designated as essential understand their status, so that they do not report to work during a suspension of operations.

For Friday Harbor Labs, we consider these positions to be essential for the following functions:

  1. Director: to make key decisions and communicate with Dean’s Office or other UW Administration or local emergency responders as needed.
  2. Operations Manager: to oversee all day-to-day immediate needs and communicate with remainder of staff and FHL visitors as required.
  3. Maintenance Supervisor or his/her designee: to respond to critical infrastructure issues that cannot be postponed until normal operations resume.
  4. Business Manager: to deal with time-sensitive financial and payroll issues, which may be done remotely.
  5. IT Manager: to respond to urgent communication, internet and computer needs of essential staff and resident users.
  6. Caretaker: to oversee building security, and monitor all the above issues after hours, communicating with emergency personnel as needed.

If the FHL Dining Hall is open:

  1. Food Services Manager (and necessary kitchen staff as designated by the manager): to ensure that meals are being served to FHL residents on full meal plans.

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