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Winter Weather Policies and Procedures

Policy
Purpose: 

To describe the several policies and procedures (personnel, class cancellation, campus closing) that may be implemented when the region experiences severe winter weather.

Applies to: 

Students, faculty, staff, and visitors on the Lawrence campus, Edwards campus, and other KU sites outside of Lawrence

Campus: 
Lawrence
Edwards
Parsons
Juniper Gardens
Yoder
Wichita
Topeka
Policy Statement: 

Introduction

The policies and procedures that affect university operations when the region experiences severe weather are summarized below.

The Inclement Weather Policy is a personnel policy modeled on one created by an executive order of the governor. It permits employees to arrive late to work or to leave work early when snow or other inclement weather conditions impede travel. Detailed information is included in section 1 below.

Occasionally it is necessary to cancel classes or curtail other campus operations because of weather conditions. Procedures for canceling classes or curtailing other operations on the Lawrence campus are summarized in section 2, those for the Edwards campus and other university offices outside Lawrence appear in section 3, and the policies governing operation of Lawrence campus libraries during severe weather are in section 4.

On rare occasions it may be necessary to close the Lawrence campus, the Edwards campus, or another KU location due to extreme weather or other conditions. Those procedures are outlined in Section 5. Finally, the personnel policies that are in effect during declarations of inclement weather or when the campus is closed are detailed in section 6.

  1. Inclement Weather Policy

    In the event that severe weather is likely to cause travel delays for employees, the chancellor or provost and executive vice chancellor may implement the Inclement Weather Policy. The governor has delegated to the chancellor and the presidents of the other Regents universities the authority to determine that a weather emergency exists for their campuses. Inclement weather declarations issued by the governor's office do not affect KU employees.

    The Inclement Weather Policy is intended to accommodate the needs of employees for additional time in traveling to and/or from work. A declaration of an inclement weather emergency is a separate issue from cancellation of classes. There may be instances when although classes are cancelled, an inclement weather emergency is not declared.

    When the Inclement Weather Policy is implemented at the start of the work shift, non-exempt employees normally will be allowed a period of one hour in which to report to work after the start of the normal work shift without receiving a reduction in pay for the delay in reporting. Employees whose shifts are ending may be permitted to depart up to one hour early. In very unusual situations, a longer period of time may be announced and that longer period will then be allowed for arrival. Employees who will be late or are unable to get to work are expected to notify their departments as soon as possible.

    If an inclement weather emergency is declared during the day, employees will be notified via a broadcast email and text message from the Office of Public Affairs.

    Any emergency declaration will be announced via area news media (after 5:45 a.m.), the inclement weather line (864-SNOW after 6:00 a.m.), the KU home page and campus alerts website, the Information Center (864-3506), and broadcast email and text message from the Office of Public Affairs (during the workday). Hearing impaired individuals who have TTY/TDD equipment will be able to obtain information through the Kansas Relay Center (1-800-766-3777).

    Directors and chairpersons must determine their staffing requirements in advance to ensure the maintenance of essential programs and activities. During periods of inclement weather, essential emergency services include but are not limited to maintaining building operations; clearing walkways, streets and parking lots; student residence hall services; and public safety. Detailed information about the process for designating emergency (“weather essential”) staff is included in Section 6, Personnel procedures.

  2. Procedures for canceling classes or curtailing other operations, Lawrence campus

    Whenever forecasts or weather conditions suggest that travel in the area could become hazardous, the Vice Provost for Administration and Finance or designate will confer with the offices of Public Safety and Facilities Services to assess the conditions of streets, roads, and parking lots and the anticipated changes in weather conditions. The Vice Provost for Administration and Finance will consult with the Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and will make recommendations to the provost and executive vice chancellor. By 5:30 a.m., the provost and executive vice chancellor or the chancellor will make a decision. If classes are to be canceled, the inclement weather policy is to be declared, or the campus is to be closed, the provost or a designate will inform the Office of Public Affairs of the decision. Public Affairs will announce any emergency declaration via area news media (after 5:45 a.m.), the inclement weather line (864-SNOW after 6:00 a.m.), the KU home page and campus alerts website, the Information Center (864-3506), and broadcast email and text message (during the workday). Hearing impaired individuals who have TTY/TDD equipment will be able to obtain information through the Kansas Relay Center (1-800-766-3777).

    If severe weather develops during the course of a workday, the same procedures will be used to decide whether to dismiss employees early or to cancel afternoon or evening classes, and the Office of Public Affairs will send a broadcast email and text message to notify faculty and staff. Departments that have responsibility for critical 24-hour-a-day, 7-day-a-week operations should have prearranged plans for staffing during periods of inclement weather so that services or operations are not interrupted.

  3. Procedures for canceling classes or curtailing other operations at the Edwards campus and other offices outside of Lawrence

    The Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs is responsible for decisions to cancel classes on the Lawrence campus. Class schedules and the student population at the Edwards campus differ from those on the Lawrence campus; weather and road conditions in other parts of the state often vary from those in Lawrence. Thus, decisions to cancel classes or curtail other operations at the Edwards campus, the School of Pharmacy in Wichita, the Law Enforcement Training Center in Hutchinson, and other university offices outside of Lawrence will be independent of decisions made for the Lawrence campus.

    Edwards Campus: The vice chancellor of the Edwards campus, in consultation with members of the staff and with the provost or designate, will determine whether classes should be suspended and/or whether the inclement weather policy should be implemented. When a decision has been made, an Edwards campus representative will notify the Office of Public Affairs, local media, and the KU Information Line. Class cancellations and other relevant information will be posted on both the Edwards campus and Lawrence campus websites. Edwards campus updates will be posted on the alerts web page.

    When the weather is threatening, decisions affecting the Edwards campus will be made twice each day. For classes offered during the day until 4:00 p.m., the decision will be made by 7:00 a.m. For classes that begin at 4:00 p.m. or later, the decision will be made and announced by 2:00 p.m. The KU Edwards campus has its own weather line that can be reached by dialing 864-8499 from Lawrence or (913) 897-8499 from Kansas City.

    Other KU offices outside of Lawrence: Decisions affecting the operations of the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center, the School of Pharmacy in Wichita, the Juniper Gardens Children’s Project, the University of Kansas at Parsons, the KU Public Management Center in Topeka, and other KU offices outside of Lawrence will be made by the on-site administrators after consultation with the Lawrence administrators to whom they report. When a decision has been made, the on-site administrator will inform local media as appropriate.

  4. Policies for operation of the KU Lawrence campus libraries during severe weather

    Opening: The KU Lawrence campus libraries, including the Law library, will open for regularly scheduled hours of service unless the university announces that the campus is to be closed. In all other cases, the libraries on the Lawrence campus will open at regularly scheduled times, based on the availability of staff. The highest priority for staffing to maintain regular hours of opening will be Watson library and the Anschutz library.

    Early Closing: The dean of libraries or designate may close branch libraries as is necessary to ensure adequate staffing of Watson and Anschutz libraries. Watson and Anschutz libraries may be closed early if, in the dean's judgment after consultation with the provost or designee, the safety of users and staff would be threatened by remaining open. The dean of libraries and the provost or their designees will confer with the director of the Law library and the dean of the School of Law to ensure coordination of action.

    Announcement of Closing: When a determination to close any or all of the libraries is made, the dean of the libraries will inform responsible library staff, the Information Center, the director of the Law Library, and the Office of Public Affairs, which will notify the local media.

  5. Procedures for closing the Lawrence campus

    The Lawrence campus will be considered “closed” when classes are cancelled and weather or other conditions are so extreme that only emergency (“weather essential”) staff must report for work. (Section 6, personnel procedures, describes the procedure for designating emergency or “weather essential” staff.) Decisions to close the Edwards campus, the Law Enforcement Training Center, or other KU offices outside of Lawrence will be made by the on-site administrators after consultation with the Lawrence campus administrators to whom they report.

    The determination and notice process described in the Inclement Weather Policy (Section 1 above) will be used in declaring the Lawrence campus closed. In addition, The Office of Public Affairs will send a broadcast email and text message to all faculty, staff, and students. The wording of the notice will differ slightly from the inclement weather declaration in that it will state, “The University of Kansas Lawrence campus is closed. Only emergency (“weather essential”) staff should report for work.” When possible, the notice will specify how long the University will be closed.

    If the decision to close the campus is made after the workday has begun, the notice process described in section 2 (above) will be used.

  6. Personnel procedures for inclement weather and university closings

    Maintaining essential programs and services: During periods of inclement weather or other emergency conditions, essential emergency services include but are not limited to maintaining building operations, clearing walkways, streets and parking lots, student residence hall services, and public safety. Directors and chairpersons must determine their staffing requirements in advance to ensure the maintenance of these services. In some cases, specific employees will be identified as emergency (“weather essential”) staff; in other instances, certain functions or responsibilities that can be performed by more than one employee in a unit will be so identified and the employees who may potentially perform those functions will be listed. Unit heads are required to inform employees in advance of this determination.

    Each year, unit heads are asked to review and update the list of employees and/or essential departmental functions that have been designated as emergency (“weather essential”) staff and submit the list to HR at hrdept@ku.edu. December 1 (or the following work day, if December 1 falls on a weekend) is the submission deadline for such lists. Non-exempt employees who have been identified by their department heads as emergency (“weather essential”) staff are expected to report to work in accordance with the supervisor’s instructions.

    Hours reporting for inclement weather: When inclement weather has been declared, emergency (“weather essential”) staff shall be eligible for compensatory time on an hour-for-hour basis. Employees who have been designated as emergency (“weather essential”) staff who do not report to work may be considered for disciplinary action.

    Other employees who do not report to work or who elect to return home after reporting to work during an inclement weather or other emergency condition can select one of the following options for handling the lost time:

    1. Charge their discretionary holiday. (Discretionary holiday may not be used for less than a normal workday, e.g., eight hours for full-time employees.)
    2. Charge accrued compensatory time (non-exempt employees only),
    3. Charge accrued holiday compensatory time,
    4. Charge accrued vacation leave,
    5. Charge leave without pay with departmental approval (non-exempt employees) or, for exempt employees, in half or whole work day increments only), or
    6. Make up the absent-from-duty hours within the same workweek on an hour-for-hour basis (non-exempt employees only). Plans for make-up time must be approved by the department in advance. Time not made up within the specified period will be charged to accrued vacation leave or to leave without pay.

    Employees who are unable to report for work shall be charged leave time for the entire period, including the time covered by the declaration of inclement weather. They are expected to notify their departments in a timely fashion. Employees on authorized leave, holidays, or sick days will not be affected by these emergency procedures and are not eligible for adjusting their previously authorized leave based on the inclement weather declaration.

    Hours reporting when the university is closed: Employees are not expected to report for work when the university is closed unless they have been designated as emergency (“weather essential”) staff. Paid administrative leave will be granted to non-exempt staff for the time period that the university is closed. Faculty and exempt staff will receive their normal pay and do not need to report any form of leave. Administrative leave will not be granted to any exempt or non-exempt staff who are on paid sick leave, vacation leave, or other forms of pre-arranged, paid leave. Detailed time reporting guidelines for inclement weather reporting for Time Reviewers are available.

    Employees who report for work but are not designated emergency staff may be sent home. They will be paid at the regular rate for any time spent at work and will be granted administrative leave for the remainder of the day but will not receive any compensatory time. Non-exempt emergency (“weather essential”) staff who report for work or remain at work when the university is closed will be granted compensatory time on an hour-for-hour basis for the hours that they work. Exempt emergency (“weather essential”) staff will be paid their normal salaries. Emergency (“weather essential”) employees who do not report for work or do not remain at work when the university is closed may be subject to disciplinary action.

Please feel free to contact the Department of Human Resources (864-4946) with any questions regarding these personnel procedures.

Contact: 

Policy Office, a division of the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
Strong Hall
1450 Jayhawk Boulevard, Room 250
Lawrence, KS 66045
785-864-9600
policy@ku.edu

Approved by: 
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
Approved on: 
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Effective on: 
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Review Cycle: 
Annual (As Needed)
Keywords: 
Inclement weather, campus closing, canceling classes
Review, Approval & Change History: 

11/04/2015:Fixed broken link.

12/16/2014: Fixed link to Emergencies & Inclement Weather under Related Other (broken due to HRM's website update).

12/05/2014: Policy formatting cleanup (e.g., spacing, bolding).

11/09/2014: Updated Section 1 to reflect current communication practices. Updated link to time reporting guidelines for inclement weather reporting for Time Reviewers in Section 6.

10/15/2014: Policy formatting cleanup (e.g., spacing, bolding).

11/11/2013: Updated to reflect Edwards Campus administrative title changes and changes to hours reporting protocol.

10/26/2012: Updated.

11/28/2011: Updated.

10/27/2010: Updated.

10/30/2009: Updated.

11/24/2008: Updated.

12/05/2007: Approved by the Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor.

Operational Categories: 
Environment
Facilities
Personnel: Affiliates/Volunteers Categories: 
Workplace Rules & Guidelines
Personnel: Faculty/Academic Staff Categories: 
Workplace Rules & Guidelines
Personnel: Staff Categories: 
Workplace Rules & Guidelines
Personnel: Student Employees Categories: 
Workplace Rules & Guidelines

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