INCLEMENT WEATHER AND UNIVERSITY OPERATIONS
Because it is a residential campus with 24/7 operations, the University of Oregon historically has not closed during inclement weather. In rare circumstances, however, extremely dangerous weather conditions may force cancellation of classes and/or activities for part or all of a day.
Essential services: Regardless of the cancellation decision, employees who perform essential duties will be expected to come to work. Examples include public safety employees, residence hall kitchen workers and those responsible for snow removal or storm clean-up. Supervisors of employees who perform essential service work are responsible for communicating attendance expectations in advance and discussing anticipated transportation difficulties.
For all other faculty and staff members and students, it is understood that not everyone will be able to travel to campus during inclement weather even if classes or activities are not cancelled. Members of the campus community are expected to use their best judgment in assessing the risk of coming to campus and returning home, based on individual circumstances. Those who believe that the road conditions from home are dangerous are urged and even expected to stay there to prevent injury.
Notification: In the event of inclement weather, the UO home webpage (http://www.uoregon.edu/) will include a banner at the top of the page displaying information about delay, cancellation or closure decisions for the Eugene campus. In addition, local television and radio stations will broadcast delay and cancellation information.
Programs Outside Eugene: The White Stag campus in Portland follows Portland State University delay, cancellation and closure decisions. The Oregon Marine Institute of Biology in Charleston and the Pine Mountain Observatory in Bend will make decisions about delay, cancellation and closure based on local conditions rather than Eugene’s.
Faculty Notification of Class Cancellation: Faculty members not able to travel to campus to convene their classes have the responsibility of notifying students in a timely way if their classes will be cancelled. It is incumbent on faculty to share the communication strategy by announcing in class and/or in the course syllabus, so that students fully understand in advance of inclement weather how to get this information prior to traveling to campus. Faculty members should contact their home department with the information as a first point of contact and use at least one other method that may come from the following examples, any of which may be accomplished from off campus:
- Use Blackboard, which has both an announcements function and the capacity to send email to all enrolled students; or
- Send an email directly to all students; or
- Use the university voicemail greeting system on their office phone to announce the class cancellation.
Again, it is very important that the students know in advance what method(s) each faculty member will use. In addition, all faculty members are asked to exercise flexibility with students who miss class or are unable to submit coursework as a result of inclement weather.
Managers’ and Supervisors’ Communication: University managers and supervisors need to prepare for inclement weather in two ways. First, they must notify those employees (if any) who perform essential duties of the expectation that they will report to work during inclement weather regardless of a university closure and discuss transportation options if that poses difficulties for the employees. Second, they need to prepare for notification by assembling up-to-date home phone lists, assigning calling responsibilities, providing employees with their home phone numbers and reviewing the process with staff. It is important to respect the confidentiality of employee home phone numbers and to notify student employees as well.
Leave Options: Employees who are unable to report to work because of bad weather or because the university has closed may use accrued vacation, compensatory time, exchange time, personal leave or leave without pay to cover the work time missed. Use of accrued sick leave is appropriate only in the case of illness. In cases in which employees do not have sufficient leave to cover the unexpected absence, supervisors are encouraged to allow employees to make up the time, if operational needs permit.
Public School Closures: The university often remains open while public schools and local child-care centers close due to bad weather. Supervisors are encouraged to recognize the difficulties this creates for working parents by responding with as much flexibility as the particular work environment will allow successfully. Supervisors may permit parents to bring their children with them to work or to allow them to take work home, if the specific job duties accommodate it.