Policy Information

Date Established: 6/29/2017
Date Last Updated:
Category:
Administration and Governance
Responsible Office:
UB Emergency Management
Responsible Executive:
Vice President for Finance and Administration

Policy Contents

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Adverse Weather Operations Policy

Summary

During adverse weather, the university follows a decision making process to change scheduled operations and will make a timely announcement to cancel or delay classes and events, allow an early departure for employees, or conduct operations as usual.

Policy Statement

The University at Buffalo (UB, university) recognizes that adverse weather conditions, including winter weather, can impact university operations. The safety of students, employees, visitors, and guests is a primary concern in making any weather-related decision about campus operations. While every attempt is made to maintain scheduled operations, it may be necessary to change scheduled operations when adverse weather conditions occur. In such circumstances, the President or designee may make a decision to change scheduled operations resulting in class cancellations, class delays, an early departure*, or a closing*.

* Only the governor can officially declare that the University at Buffalo is closed or direct early departure and only the governor can authorize employees to remain away from work without charge to leave accruals. A declaration of emergency, even by the governor, does not automatically mean the closure of the university.

Recommendation to Change Scheduled Operations

A recommendation to the President to remain open or to cancel or delay classes and events will be made with sufficient time to notify the campus community as follows:

  • before 5:30 a.m., for daytime classes or events
  • before 3:00 p.m. for classes or events scheduled after 5:00 p.m.

If there is an opportunity to assess the situation and potential impact of adverse weather conditions, advance notice will be issued before any actions resulting from a change in scheduled operations are required. Likewise if conditions change rapidly, a more time sensitive recommendation and decision process will take place.

Decision to Change Scheduled Operations

The decision to cancel or delay classes or events, or issue an early departure is based on numerous factors and input from the Emergency Planning Oversight Committee, including officials from departments responsible for student life and safety, academic scheduling, emergency management, athletics, human resources, facilities operations, and campus infrastructure. The Emergency Planning Oversight Committee monitors and discusses current weather conditions and forecasts throughout the region, road conditions both on and off campus, scheduled academic and extracurricular activities, and circumstances which may affect a particular region or campus (North, South, or Downtown).

During the decision making process, the Emergency Planning Oversight Committee considers information issued by the National Weather Service (NWS) Buffalo Office (including announcements of a weather advisory, watch, or warning), current and expected campus conditions, and all scheduled classes, events, and activities.

Change in Scheduled Operations Options

Based on information considered during the decision making process, including conditions that may affect a particular region or campus, the Emergency Planning Oversight Committee will recommend activation of one or more of the following change in scheduled operations options:

Change in Scheduled Operations Options
Description
All Classes and Events Canceled

All classes and events are canceled. Weather conditions are severe enough to threaten the safety of the campus community. As the situation improves, this restriction will be altered, as necessary, to resume scheduled operations.

Only those individuals designated as essential personnel should report to work.

Scheduled performing arts or athletic events may or may not be affected by this announcement. Ticketholders are advised to check with the sponsoring unit of a public event.

Classes and Events Delayed

All classes and events are delayed for a specific time period based on current conditions and forecasts.

Essential personnel should report for work if conditions allow.

Early Departure for Employees

Weather conditions have deteriorated to the point where transportation and health and safety of employees may be jeopardized.

Employees should not be required to leave, but instead permitted to leave then or any time after the early departure announcement is made.

Classes and Campus Operations Conducted as Usual

All classes and events will continue as scheduled, but officials will continuously monitor campus conditions and communicate any changes as necessary.

Although the university is open during periods of adverse conditions, supervisors and department chairs may alter work schedules to make allowances for unique travel problems.

Essential Services and Personnel

Services related to the health and safety of students, faculty, staff, and guests, and the security and maintenance of facilities are essential and must continue in spite of adverse conditions. Departments should conduct a detailed analysis of their services and determine which services must continue during adverse weather conditions. The determination of essential services and personnel may vary depending on the adverse weather conditions and its impact on communities in western New York.     

Departments may also determine, based on the impact of the weather conditions, which employees are essential. Departments may approve an alternate work arrangement (e.g., telecommuting) to support university activity and meet the business needs of a department during adverse weather.

Employee Absences

In accordance with New York State policy, employee absences resulting from any change in scheduled operations including class cancellations, early departures, and closings must be charged to appropriate leave accruals. An employee who does not have sufficient leave accruals may borrow from future accruals. Only the governor can officially declare that the University at Buffalo is closed or  direct an early departure and only the governor can authorize employees to remain away from work without charge to leave accruals. Any person who reports to work will not be deprived of the opportunity to work. During adverse weather and where applicable, a provision must be made for alternate campus work locations and alternate work for those who do get to the campus but who cannot go to their regular work places or cannot perform their regular work assignments.

Communication of a Decision to Change Scheduled Operations

 A change in scheduled operations including class cancellations, early departure, and closing announcements will be made through one or more of the following communication methods:

  • UB Alert – UB Emergency Alert System
  • all campus email (faculty, staff, students), as appropriate
  • www.buffalo.edu  – UB homepage
  • www.emergency.buffalo.edu – UB emergency page
  • www.buffalo.edu/aboutmyub  -  MyUB, web-based personal portal
  • www.buffalo.edu/now - UB faculty-staff newspaper
  • local broadcast media (radio and TV)
  • 1620 AM – campus traffic radio broadcast
  • 716-645-2345 – University Police campus condition phone line
  • 716-645-NEWS (716-645-6397) – UB information phone line
  • official UB social media accounts

Background

The possibility of snow, ice, or other adverse weather may affect classes, events, and work schedules. Whenever possible, the university will continue scheduled operations, including classes and events, during adverse weather to the extent that students, faculty, and staff can travel safely to and from campus given local conditions.

Applicability

This policy applies to all members of the campus community, including students, employees, visitors, and guests.

Definitions

Essential Employee

An employee who has been deemed necessary by their supervisor and is expected to report to or remain at work during a change in scheduled operations. Employees who are deemed necessary may vary depending on the conditions.  

National Weather Service (NWS)

The official government agency tasked with warning the public of pending hazards associated with weather. The NWS issues the following alerts during periods of severe winter weather:

  • Advisory - Conditions are expected to cause significant inconveniences that may be hazardous. If caution is used, these situations should not be life-threatening.
  • Watch - Severe conditions such as snow and/or ice may affect one or more campuses and surrounding communities, but the location and timing are still uncertain. A watch is issued 12 to 36 hours in advance of potential severe weather.
  • Warning - A winter storm warning is issued when four or more inches of snow are expected over the next twelve hours, or six or more inches in 24 hours, or ¼ inch or more of ice accumulation is expected. A warning may also be issued if the storm is expected to hit during high-traffic driving times like rush hour.    

University Closing

Only the governor can officially declare that the University at Buffalo is closed or direct early departure and only the governor can authorize employees to remain away from work without charge to leave accruals. A declaration of emergency, even by the governor, does not automatically mean the closure of the university.

Responsibility

Office of the President

  • Issue a timely decision to change scheduled operations based on a recommendation from the Vice President for Finance and Administration (VPFA).

Vice President for Finance and Administration (VPFA)

  • Communicate the recommendation to change scheduled operations based on adverse weather conditions to the Office of the President for decision.

Emergency Management

  • Coordinate consensus recommendations based on conditions and input from operational departments.

University Police

  • Continuously monitor campus conditions.
  • Provide input about risk to public safety based on conditions.

University Facilities

  • Monitor campus conditions.
  • Work to clear snow and ice from roadways, parking lots, and walkways.
  • Provide input regarding accessibility to the campus based on conditions.

University Officials

  • Recommend and advise specific protective actions based on adverse weather conditions.

University Communications

  • Participate in the recommendation process.
  • Disseminate pertinent and timely information to the campus community.

Students, Employees, Guests, and Visitors

  • Use caution and personal judgment when traveling to and from campus.
  • Dress appropriately for protection against cold temperatures and wind chills.

Contact Information

UB Emergency Management
252 Capen Hall
Buffalo, NY  14260
Phone:  716-645-3134
Email:  jayroor@buffalo.edu
Website:  http://www.emergency.buffalo.edu

Related Information

University Links

Presidential Approval

Signed by President Satish K. Tripathi

Satish K. Tripathi, President

6/29/2017

Date