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
    September 10, 2019

    Purpose

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

    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 (IUP) 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 notifications will be made about the status of cancellations or closures.

    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 faculty with on-campus instructional assignments are not required to report to campus and they may leave the university at the designated time. Faculty members with teaching responsibilities are expected to make up time for canceled classes. IUP students engaged in internships, clinicals, student teaching, etc. at off-campus locations should follow local site guidance from the organization, agency, or school district. Specific exemptions may be made for regional campuses and off-campus sites. 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.

    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 employees who have not been specifically designated as “essential” 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 a university closing. (Typically this includes all Safety Services personnel, Maintenance, Grounds, and Co-Gen facility personnel.)
    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 and 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 and Finance of its findings.

    2. The vice president for Administration and 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)
    Revisions (unapproved) September 10, 2019
    Revisions (unapproved) February 28, 2020

    General Process

    In the event of potential or current inclement weather, the threat or presence of severe weather or natural disasters such as earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, or threats to the university’s physical plant (fires, building collapse, chemical contamination), the director of Public Safety 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 or 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 use available leave and follow departmental practices for reporting.

    • Cancellation of classes does not necessarily mean that the university is closed. Any class cancellations will apply to all university locations unless otherwise specified. Teaching faculty members will be expected to make up time for canceled classes.

    • Class cancellation does not imply that there is no class assignment for that day. Students are instructed to check D2L and their university email for readings or assignments that can be completed through electronic means. While faculty may make up lost class time as they choose, they are encouraged to provide alternate online assignments. Such assignments should be posted by 10:00 a.m. on days when classes are canceled due to severe weather conditions.

    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 email. 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 director of Public Safety 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 executive director of Media Relations will provide leadership for consistent information for the IUP website and for the emergency messaging system (text message, voice mail, email). The executive director of Media Relations will relay this information to appropriate media and record messaging on the IUP Information Line.

    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 Division of Marketing and Communications at 724-357-3062 or email web-team@iup.edu, mpowers@iup.edu, jgroll@iup.edu and mfryling@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.

    Duties of the Division of Marketing and Communications:

    • The executive director of Media Relations will text or email an updated message to the director of Digital Strategy for posting on the IUP website and will text this message to the designed IT person to send out the message to all subscribers via Everbridge and Alertus. IT will use Everbridge to communicate through the following channels: text message, voice call, email, IUP social media channels (Twitter and Facebook) and through Alertus to be displayed on university-owned computers in university labs and classrooms. 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 and to check the website for updated information.

    • The cancellation or closure message will also be posted to MyIUP, the Beak, and IUP Daily (as possible). Information about specific event cancellation or postponements will also be posted to the website and these sites.

    • For clarity, the following statements may be provided, e.g.:

      • “Classes are canceled. Students should check D2L and their university email for alternate online assignments. All offices are open. Staff are expected to report as scheduled.”

      • “The university is closed. Students should check D2L and their university email for alternate online assignments. All offices are closed except for essential services. Essential employees should report as scheduled.”

    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; or, for what hour:
    • Evening classes for date:
    • Day classes for date:
    • Single day for date:
    • Specific, multiple days:
    • Resume date/time of cancellations (i.e., when do things open back up?)

    3. Where?

    • All campuses
    • Indiana campus only
    • Punxsutawney campus
      • Fairman Centre
      • Academy of Culinary Arts
    • Northpointe campus
    • Pittsburgh East Center
    • Off-campus sites
    • Online courses?

    4. Why?

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

    5. Parking/Access 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

    6. Who is to Report?

    • All employees
    • All non-instructional employees
    • Essential employees Only
    • No one
    • Other
    • Exercise caution/use best judgment when traveling

    7. Liberal Leave Invoked?