Early Releases, Delays or Cancellations Due to Inclement Weather


November 20, 2020

To the University Community:

With the winter storm season approaching, we’d like to refresh your knowledge about UConn operations statewide during inclement weather.

For those of you who are new to the UConn community, this information is meant to clearly outline the University’s decision-making process before and during unusual weather conditions. It also includes helpful links and tips.

The University’s Emergency Closing Policy has not changed in light of the current pandemic, but the added complexities it presents will be considered as decisions are made about weather-related operational changes.

First and foremost, the safety of our students, faculty, and staff is paramount. At the same time, the University has important teaching, research, and service missions to carry out.

We balance these factors when considering whether the University can safely and effectively maintain normal operations during and after unusual weather conditions.

With that in mind, we make decisions about cancelling classes or curbing business operations at our campuses very carefully, using the information available to us about weather predictions and road conditions.

You’re part of this process, too. One of the most important steps you can take right now as a member of the UConn community is to sign up to receive text message notifications on your cell phone about schedule changes, cancellations, emergencies, and other important information.

The process is quick and easy, and signing up is free. Instructions can be found under the “Get Alerts” section of the UConnALERT page.

Even if you believe you are already signed up, it’s wise to check to ensure that the system reflects your most current cell phone number and other contact information.

UConn completed a comprehensive update in recent years of its Emergency Closing Policy, which is also on the UConnALERT page. We encourage you to review it carefully for details about how these decisions are made, expectations of employees, and other information.

The following guidance applies to all UConn locations except UConn Health.

How you’ll know the University’s status during inclement weather:

  • When we determine it is necessary to cancel or delay classes, or to close business operations at the University, we’ll notify the UConn community as quickly as possible.
  • When storms occur overnight, we try to make this notification by 5 a.m. Sometimes conditions change rapidly, however, and we might need to adjust decisions about class schedules and business operations on short notice.
  • The UConnALERT webpage (http://alert.uconn.edu) is the definitive source of information about the University’s operating status.
  • UConn community members at all locations, excluding UConn Health, are encouraged to also check the 24-hour emergency closing information number: 860-486-3768.
  • The University notifies the news media about operating changes at UConn’s campuses, but we cannot guarantee that details provided by news outlets represent the most current or complete information.

What closes, what stays open:

  • UConn follows suit if the governor closes state agencies, releases state employees from work, or restricts road travel due to weather conditions.
  • Certain operations must continue even in severe weather, including public safety, residential and dining services, health services, animal care, facility maintenance, and other critical services.
  • Decisions about whether to continue or cancel particular services, such as transportation, are made on a case-by-case basis depending on existing conditions and needs.
  • The Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts, UConn Athletics, and other units that sponsor events and activities decide independently whether to continue or cancel their events, and you should contact them directly with questions.
  • If classes are cancelled, this applies to all classes — including those online.

Who reports to campus, and when:

  • Emergency Support Services / Essential Staff are expected to remain at or report to work as directed. Supervisors must learn and follow their units’ applicable policies and procedures. Guidance in the closing policy will be particularly helpful in understanding these expectations.
  • If the University has not announced a delay or cancellation of classes, faculty are expected to hold classes as scheduled in the modality originally advertised.
  • In exceptional circumstances when a faculty member determines that he or she is unable to travel safely to campus, the faculty member must notify his or her dean and department head, and must also notify all students in the class. However, faculty must not cancel class prior to the University’s decision about whether the University will alter its normal schedule.
  • Faculty should respect the decisions of commuting students who decide not to travel to campus or to leave class early in order to get home safely, and should provide options for them to make up missed work.
  • Students should contact their professors as soon as possible if they must miss a class or other activity due to weather conditions.

Keep safety first when traveling:

  • Always consider your safety first. Weather and road conditions may vary considerably across the state and from one UConn campus to another.
  • With that in mind, all members of the University community must evaluate the circumstances they face, plan extra time for their commute if necessary, and take other common sense measures.
  • Supervisors and employees are encouraged to explore whether telecommuting or flex time may be an appropriate alternative, especially for employees who anticipate childcare concerns. At the same time, supervisors are asked to consider logistical difficulties that storms may cause for employees, such as electrical or internet outages.
  • Even when the University remains open for business, individuals may appropriately decide not to come to campus or to leave campus early. In these situations, employees may use a vacation day, personal time, or other accrued time without advance approval, but they must notify their supervisors that they are doing so.

Expectations for employees:

  •  Employees who are not on a pre-approved leave during a closing and who would normally be present at work in person are expected to be accessible and responsive to their supervisors as needed during regularly scheduled work hours.
  • Supervisors may require that employees check and respond to email regularly and respond to work calls, and may expect that assigned work that can be accomplished remotely is completed on time regardless of emergency cancellations.
  • Likewise, supervisors may make reasonable adjustments to be able to continue University business, including holding meetings by teleconference or virtually, and handling normal business by email, and employees who would normally be present at work may be required to participate.
  • Employees who are on an approved telecommuting schedule, either full-time or rotational, are expected to continue to work their normal schedule unless they have been approved to flex for childcare issues or in the event of logistical issues as noted above.

Again, we wish to emphasize the paramount importance of safety. Faculty, staff, and students should evaluate their own circumstances carefully, exercise appropriate judgment, and take responsibility for their safety when making decisions during inclement weather.

We wish you a productive semester and an enjoyable winter season.

 

Sincerely,

Carl Lejuez

Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs

 

Scott A. Jordan

Executive Vice President for Administration and CFO