2009-2010 Inclement Weather Policy and Procedures
From Leonard Sandridge
Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
Dec. 4, 2009
We are in the months when we will face weather-related schedule decisions. It is essential that we work together and communicate in a coordinated way during times of bad weather. It is our objective to keep the University open and functioning on a regular schedule to the extent possible. We deploy our resources to support that objective. Many of our operations involving significant numbers of our employees must provide services regardless of weather conditions -- the Medical Center, police, heating plant, student dining and housing and some research activities are examples.
It is essential that any modifications to the University schedule be institutionally coordinated. I am charged with the responsibility for making decisions on shift modifications, closings or schedule changes related to inclement weather. I am supported in that role by the Office of Emergency Preparedness. Other vice presidents, deans, directors, faculty members and employees are not authorized make changes in the University's academic or work schedule due to inclement weather.
When we make decisions about operations during periods of inclement weather, we gather information from a wide range of sources. I make every attempt to personally experience road and related weather conditions both on- and off-Grounds before making final schedule decisions. On all matters related to changes in class or school schedules, we coordinate with Provost Garson or his representative. We seek input from those on-Grounds who know first-hand what is happening -- Facilities Management snow removal crews, bus and parking operations staff and the University Police. We rely on external sources to assess road and weather conditions in the region. We are in regular contact with the Health System management team about decisions affecting clinical operations. We do our best to make decisions based on good, timely and relevant information.
Inclement weather affects each person differently. I ask you to be flexible in granting appropriate leave and consideration to those employees and students who feel that it is not safe to travel in bad weather when the University is open. Our employees come from a wide geographic area; conditions can vary substantially over the region. We should be especially sensitive to the child care and family problems that result from school closings and other weather-related changes.
Announcements are made on regional radio and television stations whenever it is necessary to modify a work schedule, authorize a grace period because of extremely difficult transportation problems or adjust the Medical Center's delivery of outpatient services. We attempt to do this at least 2-1/2 hours before the start times for the first, second and third shifts, which are most commonly 8 a.m., 3:30 p.m. and 11 p.m. The Office of Public Affairs keeps up-to-date information regarding operating schedules on the University’s homepage, and the Office of Emergency Preparedness maintains the University's inclement weather information telephone lines (243-SNOW or 924-SNOW). To avoid confusion, only Human Resources staff are authorized to contact radio and television stations with University schedule information.
Representatives of schools and departments who wish to cancel or alter schedules for school- or department-based events may contact Marge Sidebottom, Director of Emergency Preparedness, at 924-8745 (office) or 531-5758 (cell); please do not call radio and television stations. She will work with departments/schools to include announcements about special events on the inclement weather telephone lines or on the University’s Web site as appropriate. Schools and departments should have systems in place to communicate information to their students and faculty about individual classes and special events.
Obviously, it is not possible to cover every situation in this e-mail. I encourage you to raise questions and make suggestions about how we can handle weather situations better. This is an area where I especially appreciate and need your support and cooperation.
Please feel free to share this information with employees in your area.