Penn State shares winter weather cancellation procedures for 2022-23 season

Penn State is sharing guidance for students, faculty, and staff in the event normal operations on University campuses are disrupted due to winter weather during the 2022-23 season.

The University community is reminded that in the event of inclement weather, the Office of Physical Facilities will work diligently to clear sidewalks, parking lots and roads as quickly as possible. In the event that normal operations at a Penn State location are disrupted due to snow or other weather or emergency conditions, individuals are asked to avoid coming to campus, if possible, and those who must visit the campus must remain vigilant and avoid sections of the campus that may be covered in snow or ice.

When extreme weather conditions hit the Penn State University Park campus, individuals can stay informed of delays and cancellations using the System PSUAlert, Twitter accountthe Penn State News websiteand WPSU Television and Radio. Penn Staters at other campuses can stay informed of delays and cancellations through PSUAlert and their campus website and social media.

All employees and students are encouraged to take responsibility for their own safety. Faculty, staff, and students should exercise good judgment when considering traveling to campus or having to leave early in the event of inclement weather. Faculty and staff should review the management of absences in the event of bad weather (Guideline 10 on human resources) for specific information on how missed time for weather situations is handled. Employees represented by a union must refer to their collective agreements. Information on class attendance policies is available at undergraduate.psu.edu and in Faculty Senate Policy 42-27 (Class Attendance).

Classes

In the event of a change in normal campus operations due to weather or an emergency, such as during a delay or cancellation, in-person classes cannot, except in extenuating circumstances, be moved to a synchronous remote meeting, for Faculty Senate Policy 45-00due to the fact that all students, professors and instructors may not have the same access to University facilities and resources (such as Wi-Fi or equipment necessary for specialized teaching) or that they may have other commitments, such as childcare.

Depending on how a course is delivered, the following actions apply when there is a change in normal campus operations:

  • In person: The instructor can choose to cancel the course altogether or offer content asynchronously (for example, recording a lecture for students to watch at another time or asking students to complete a reading or other activity in independent learning). The class may not meet remotely synchronously unless there are extenuating circumstances (see University Faculty Senate Policy 45-00).
  • Hybrid: If the course is to meet in person on the day of the change to normal operations, content may be offered asynchronously or the course may be cancelled. Otherwise, asynchronous content may be served as expected.
  • The Web: Classes will continue to be offered as scheduled without change.

Employees

The employees who perform “essential” services: Employees who are required to report to campus for work and who have already been identified as performing duties critical to maintaining operations must report to campus as instructed. During such events, employees who are required to report to campus for work are eligible for time off campus compensation, subject to the provisions of the guidelines. Employees should clarify their essential or non-essential status with their supervisor prior to inclement weather strikes.

All other employees, except those employed at the Applied Research Laboratory (ARL), must not report to work until normal campus operations resume and are eligible for campus closure payment as per university policy. Employees should review the “Official Closures” section of the University’s Bad Weather Absence Management Policy (Guideline 10 on human resources) for specific information on how missed time for weather situations is handled. ARL will continue to follow ARL’s internal policies for all weather-related closures.

Employees who have questions about a campus closure should contact their unit Human Resources Advisor.

Delays

Following a delay, classes or activities beginning on or after the advertised time for the resumption of normal campus operations will take place as originally scheduled, unless a campus provides other specific guidelines. For example, in the event of a two-hour delay in the morning until 10 a.m. due to snow or ice, classes starting at 10 a.m. or later will continue on their regular schedule, while classes scheduled to start before 10 a.m. will be subject to the provisions described in the “Classes” section above. Note that some campuses follow a compressed schedule to account for delayed departures. Each campus community should check their campus website for the most up-to-date information.

All in-person activities scheduled to begin during a delayed campus opening are cancelled. Activities beginning on or after the advertised time for the resumption of campus activities will take place as originally scheduled.

Early layoffs

At times, the University may announce early layoff for students, faculty, and staff who are already on campus as part of their normal daily activities and classes. Some campuses may operate on a compressed schedule and will notify their communities of specific details on their campus websites.

To facilitate an orderly dismissal, the University will announce the dismissal as soon as possible via PSUAlert. The following termination method will be used to release students, faculty, and staff:

  • The students will be the first released.
  • Faculty and staff will be released simultaneously 30-45 minutes after student release.

Early terminations will be scheduled to occur either at the start of the hour or 30 minutes past the hour. This two-tier dismissal is intended to facilitate the flow of outbound traffic and give students the opportunity to leave common areas and buildings before they close.

If a fast-moving storm hits during normal operating hours, University officials will attempt to release weather information, as well as the expected duration of the storm, so that people on campus can make reasonable choices. If the storm is short-lived, staying on campus may be the best option for some. Other people may need to leave their jobs for family reasons.

Official source of information

The University’s main source of weather information is PSU Alert. An active Penn State account is required for users to access PSUAlert and add or edit contact settings, such as additional emails and mobile numbers for text messages. Although registration for the PSUAlert system is restricted to students, faculty, and staff, members of the public are encouraged to follow Penn State campus alerts via Facebook and Twitter. Specific links for those wishing to follow PSUAlert messages on Facebook and Twitter, as well as answers to frequently asked questions, can be found at psualert.psu.edu.

Although classes and other scheduled activities may be delayed or canceled, Penn State never really closes. There are thousands of students on Penn State campuses who need meals and warm lodging, and there are critical research projects that need constant attention, and livestock that need to be fed, watered and sheltered. For this reason, it is critical that Penn State effectively maintain services that affect safety and health when extreme cold, heavy snow, or other weather emergencies affect the area. University Police and other emergency services remain operational 24 hours a day, regardless of the weather.

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