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Inclement Weather Policy and Procedures

Inclement Weather Policy

Date

March 6, 1995
Revised October 16, 2000
Revised September 4, 2007
Revised March 10, 2008
January 10, 2011

Purpose

The purpose of this document is to establish an inclement weather policy for Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Scope

This policy applies to all IUP employees and is consistent with PASSHE policies and procedures. (See Management Directive 530.17 Amended, May 25, 2010)

Objective

The objective of this policy is to establish guidelines by which decisions will be made to cancel classes, to close the university, and/or to cancel or postpone IUP-sponsored or hosted activities or events during inclement weather conditions.

Policy

Indiana University of Pennsylvania is committed to the safety and security of its students, faculty, staff, and visitors. As such, the decision to cancel classes, close the university, and/or cancel or postpone IUP-sponsored programs or activities is based on the overall concern for the safety and security of the university community.  In general, however, IUP’s practice is to remain open and to conduct business as usual during periods of inclement weather, except as noted in this policy statement. Unless otherwise directed, all employees are expected to report to work at their regular time and to remain at work throughout the course of their regularly scheduled workday. If an employee believes she/he cannot commute safely between his/her home and place of work during periods of inclement weather, the employee is required to notify his/her supervisor and use either annual, personal, or documented compensatory leave time.  Appropriate media outlets will be kept apprised of the status of the university.

Cancellation of Classes

Should inclement weather conditions arise or be anticipated that would make class attendance unsafe, the president may elect to cancel classes for a defined period of time.  If so, students and teaching faculty are released from all classes held on-campus, online, or at regional campuses and off-campus sites, and they may leave the university at the designated time.  Specific exemptions may be made for regional campuses and off-campus sites.  All other employees, however, are required to complete their normal work shift and assignments.  Appropriate media outlets will be kept apprised of the status of the university.

Closure (and reopening) of the University

Should inclement weather conditions arise or be anticipated that would make it unsafe to continue the non-essential operations of the university, the president may elect to close the university (i.e., cancel all classes and suspend all non-essential operations).  For a declaration of university closure, all non-essential employees are released from their duties.  The declaration of university closure will include the date and time the university schedule is altered and the date and time it resumes normal hours.  When the university reopens, employees are to report at the beginning of their next regularly scheduled shifts.

Cancellation or Postponement of IUP-Sponsored or Hosted Activities or Events

Should adverse weather conditions arise or be anticipated that would make it unsafe to conduct an IUP-sponsored or hosted activity or event, the president may cancel or postpone the activity or event.

Definitions

Essential function: A function that has been designated as essential to the continued and safe operation of the campus. (Essential functions may vary depending upon the circumstances of the emergency.)

Essential employee: An employee whose vice president has designated her/him essential to report to work during university closing.

Liberal leave: The time period during which employees are unable to safely commute to their places of work.  Employees must use approved annual, personal or documented compensatory leave time.  The intent to use such leave must be reported to the supervisor in accordance with department call-in procedures.  Under conditions of liberal leave, all supervisors will approve submitted leaves, assuming leave is available.

Inclement Weather Advisory Team (IWAT):  A group whose membership is representative of the university administrative structure and that reports to the vice president for Administration & Finance. 

Responsibilities

  1. The IWAT will assess the nature, the severity, and the anticipated recovery of the university due to the potential inclement weather and advise the vice president for Administration & Finance of its findings. 
  2. The vice president for Administration & Finance will convene the Executive Team to discuss the potential inclement weather and prepare advice for the president.
  3. The president (or his/her designee) will make the decision to cancel classes, close the university, and/or cancel or postpone IUP-sponsored or hosted activities or events.
  4. The IWAT will implement the decision of the president.

Publications Statement

This policy should be included in the following publications:

Distribution

All employees

Inclement Weather Procedures

Approved at Cabinet: September 4, 2007
Revised and Approved at Cabinet: March 10, 2008
Revised (unapproved) November 13, 2010
Revised (unapproved) December 6, 2010
Revised (unapproved) January 10, 2011
Revision (approved) February 2, 2011
Revision (approved) June 23, 2011
Revision (approved) November 15, 2011
Revisions January 25, 2013 (addition of the web emergency information button and status page)

General Process

In the event of potential inclement weather, the threat of weather or natural disasters such as earthquakes, tornados, floods, or threats to the university’s physical plant (fires, building collapse, chemical contamination), the AVP for Facilities Management will convene the Inclement Weather Advisory Team (IWAT) to discuss the potential impact to the university community and planned activities or events. The IWAT will quickly prepare a recommendation for action based on the best information available regarding the potential inclement weather or other factors as noted above. The IWAT will be charged with bringing information about the threat of inclement weather or other environmental factors as noted above, along with their recommendation, for action to the attention of the vice president for Administration and Finance, who then is responsible for calling and informing the president’s Executive Team. The president will make the final decision regarding the action to be taken. The IWAT is responsible for implementing the decision of the president.

Natural Disasters-Environmental Conditions

In the event of natural disasters or environmental conditions that occur without warning, the IWAT will meet as soon as possible following the occurrence to make recommendations for action, as outlined above in the General Process section. Recommendations will be based on the overall concern for safety and security of the university’s students, faculty, staff, visitors, and its facilities.

For Class Cancellation

The president of the university has the authority to cancel classes due to inclement weather conditions or other environmental factors that may jeopardize the safety of the students traveling to or from the university. Staff, managers, administrators, and non-instructional faculty are expected to report to, or stay at, work for the duration of their regular shift in this situation. For personal safety reasons, employees may choose not to report to work or to depart early from work but must follow departmental practices for reporting and using available leave.

For University Closing

The president has the authority to close the university due to inclement weather conditions or other environmental factors that may jeopardize the safety of the persons traveling to or from the university. Only employees, designated by their vice president as Essential Employees, will be required to report to work. Employees so designated are notified in writing from the Office of Human Resources prior to the winter season of each year. Essential Employees who do not report to work when the university is declared closed will be charged annual or personal leave and are required to submit leave documents.

For Canceling or Postponing IUP-Sponsored or Hosted Activities or Events

The president has the authority to cancel or postpone IUP-sponsored or hosted activities or events due to inclement weather conditions or other environmental factors that may jeopardize the safety of patrons traveling to or from the event. If a decision is made to cancel or postpone the activity or event, the vice president of the sponsoring division will assume responsibility for notifying activity or event participants of the cancellation or postponement in an appropriate and timely manner.

Process and Responsibilities (in general order of occurrence)

Beginning with each October, and every month thereafter through March, the Office of Human Resources will issue an Inclement Weather/Environmental Factors Reminder to all employees via e-mail. The office will also post the reminder at the Human Resources website. The Inclement Weather Policy and Procedure will be provided to new employees during the new employee orientation.

The associate vice president for Facilities Management is charged with recognizing inclement weather or other environmental factors that have the potential of disrupting the normal course of business at the university. She/he will convene the IWAT.

The IWAT will meet as soon as possible to discuss the potential threat to the university community’s safety. The IWAT will gather information sufficient to form a recommendation for action. The IWAT will deliver its recommendation to the vice president for Administration and Finance.

The vice president for Administration and Finance will consult with the president’s Executive Team and, together, will make a recommendation to the president.

The president will decide which course of action to take with regard to canceling classes or closing the university, and/or canceling or postponing IUP-sponsored or hosted activities or events in the event of inclement weather or other environmental factors.

The vice president for Administration and Finance will advise the IWAT of the president’s decision and instruct the IWAT to implement the president’s order using the Inclement Weather/Environmental Factors Communication Plan (below) and other appropriate means.

The associate director of Communications will provide leadership for consistent information to media outlets and to the IUP website.

If a decision is made to cancel or postpone an activity or event, the vice president of the sponsoring division will assume responsibility for notifying activity or event participants and the Office of Communications at 724-357-3062 or e-mail web-team@iup.edu of the cancellation or postponement in an appropriate and timely manner.

Inclement Weather/Environmental Factors Communication Plan

Once the vice president for Administration and Finance advises the IWAT of the president’s decision, the following communication plan will be activated:

  • The Office of the Associate Vice President for Human Resources will send a message via e-mail to all employees. When classes are canceled, the message will remind employees that they are required to work during that period of cancellation. The message will encourage all employees to use their best judgment in traveling.
  • The Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs will send a message to all students informing them of the status of the university, which will include information about the status at all regional campuses and off-campus sites along with the status of university-sponsored or hosted events and activities. This message will encourage all students to use their best judgment in traveling. This message may contain special messages such as temporary parking restrictions.
  • The director of Communications will send a text message to all subscribers of the IUP SMS Emergency Notification System about the cancellation of classes, university closure, or cancellation or postponement of IUP-sponsored or hosted activities or events, including the status at regional campuses. This message may contain special messages, such as temporary parking restrictions. This information will also be recorded on the IUP Information Line at 724-357-7538. The Communications Office staff will be responsible for submitting and posting correct and accurate information about class and event cancellations or closures to the following sources:

Radio:

  • WDAD-AM 1450
  • WCCS-AM 1160
  • U-92 FM (92.5) (Indiana, Punxsutawney, Greensburg)
  • WTAE-AM radio (1250 Pittsburgh)
  • KDKA-AM radio (1020 Pittsburgh)

Television:

  • KDKA-TV
  • WTAE-TV
  • WJAC-TV
  • WPXI-TV

Other Media:

  • www.iup.edu
  • IUP Information Line (724) 357-7538
  • IUP Daily
  • IUP Text Subscribers
  • Social Media

Essential Information

In order to be as clear and consistent as possible, the following uniform statements will be used in case of inclement weather messages:

1. Status declared:

  • University closed
  • Classes canceled
  • IUP-sponsored or hosted activities or events canceled or postponed

2. When?

  • Immediately for what hour:
  • Evening classes for date:
  • Day classes for date:
  • Single day for date:
  • Multiple days for days:
  • Resume date/time of cancellations (i.e., when do things open back up?)
  • All Campuses
  • Indiana campus only
  • Punxsutawney campus
    • Fairman Centre
    • Academy of Culinary Arts
  • Northpointe campus
  • Monroeville Center
  • Online courses?

3. Why?

  • Snow
  • Ice
  • Tornado
  • Hurricane
  • High wind
  • Flood
  • Storm
  • Fire
  • Lightning
  • Other

4. Parking Restrictions?

  • Yes; details:
    • Student parking
    • Remove vehicles from campus?
    • Employee parking
    • Handicapped parking
    • On-street parking, if applicable
    • Shuttle service, if applicable
    • Violations/towing
    • Parking enforcement
    • Start date/time of parking lot closures
    • Resume date/time of parking lot openings
  • None; no restrictions

5. Who is to Report?

  • All employees

  • All non-instructional employees

  • Essential employees Only

  • No one

  • Other

  • Exercise caution/use best judgment when traveling

6. Liberal Leave Invoked?

  • Human Resources Office
  • Sutton Hall, Room G8
    1011 South Drive
    Indiana, PA 15705
  • Phone: 724-357-2431
  • Fax: 724-357-2685
  • Office Hours
  • Monday through Friday
  • 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.