Guidance Due to Inclement Weather
To the University Community:
With the winter storm season upon us, we’d like to refresh your knowledge about operations at the Storrs and regional campuses during inclement weather. This information does not apply to UConn Health, which has its own relevant policies.
For those of you who are new to the UConn community, these details will be helpful to understand the University’s decision-making processes before and during unusual weather conditions or other unexpected changes in class schedules and business operations.
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 inclement weather or other unusual events.
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 forecasts, road conditions, and other considerations.
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.
We encourage you to review the University’s policy for details about how these decisions are made, expectations of employees, and other information. That policy has not changed in light of UConn’s COVID-related health and safety measures, but any added complexities they present are considered as decisions are made.
The following guidance applies to all UConn locations except UConn Health.
How you’ll know UConn’s status:
- When we determine it is necessary to cancel or delay classes, or to change 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, can 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 stays open, what might change:
- If classes are cancelled, this applies to all classes — including those online.
- UConn follows suit if the Governor closes state agencies, releases state employees from work, or restricts road travel due to weather conditions.
- Certain essential operations continue despite inclement weather, including University Safety, residential and dining services, health services, animal care, facility maintenance, and other critical services.
- Decisions about whether to continue or cancel specific 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 the University has not announced a delay or cancellation of classes, faculty are expected to hold their classes as scheduled in the modality originally advertised.
- In circumstances when a faculty member determines that they cannot travel safely to campus, the faculty member must notify all students in the class in a timely manner along with their dean and department head.
- Faculty must not preemptively cancel class before the University decides and announces whether UConn’s normal schedule will be changed.
- Students should contact their professors as soon as possible if they must miss a class or other activity due to weather conditions.
- Faculty should respect the decisions of commuting students who decide not to travel to campus or to leave class early to get home safely, and should provide options for them to make up missed work.
Keep safety first:
- 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 should evaluate the circumstances they face, plan extra time for their commute if necessary, and take other common-sense measures.
- Employees and students are reminded to be particularly vigilant while driving or walking on campus during inclement weather, including around vehicles conducting plowing and sanding activities. Remember that pedestrians always have the right of way.
Who reports to campus, and when:
- Emergency and essential staff must remain at or report to in-person work as directed, and supervisors must learn and follow their units’ related procedures. UConn’s policy is helpful in understanding these expectations.
- Employees who decide not to come to campus or to leave campus early due to travel safety concerns may use a vacation day, personal time, or other accrued time without advance approval, but must notify their supervisors that they are doing so.
- If approved by their supervisor, they may also be able to work remotely.
- For typically in-person employees: If UConn directs those employees not to report to campus due to weather or other operational changes, they are expected to work from home unless they have a manager-approved flexible schedule.
- Those employees may use any eligible accrued time if they cannot work from home during such circumstances and have not created a manager-approved flexible schedule.
- Supervisors are encouraged to consider difficulties that storms may cause for employees, such as electrical or internet outages.
- All employees working remotely are expected to be accessible and responsive to supervisors during work hours by email and telephone. Supervisors may expect that assigned work that can be accomplished remotely is completed on time.
- Employees on an approved telecommuting or remote work schedule should continue to work that schedule unless they receive approval to flex their time that day.
- Supervisors may make reasonable adjustments to continue University business, including holding meetings by teleconference or virtually; and employees who would normally be present at work may be required to participate.
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 and other operational changes to emergency situations at UConn Storrs and regional campuses.
We wish you enjoyable winter season, and we thank you again for being a valued member of the UConn community.