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Procedures for Delayed Openings and Campus Closings Due to Inclement Weather

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  1. Purpose and Applicability

    The University academic calendar is constructed with the expectation that instructional and other programs will be carried out as scheduled. To the extent practicable, the University will adhere to the academic calendar despite weather conditions. The University also will maintain services to residents in University facilities. However, the University may delay openings or close the campus in the event that inclement weather conditions pose a serious threat to the health and safety of the University community.

    These guidelines describe the procedures the University of Maryland follows in response to inclement weather conditions.

  2. Inclement Weather The term "inclement weather" refers to the conditions that constitute a hazardous weather emergency, as determined by the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost in consultation with the Department of Facilities Management.

  3. Cancellation of Classes and Programs

    Where the terms "delayed opening," " early closing," and "campus closed" are used in notices, they will be understood to mean that, for a specified period of time, all classes will be canceled, and all university offices and non-essential services will be closed, except those specifically excepted in the notices. The sponsors and coordinators of scheduled events and programs will determine their status, and will communicate directly with their guests and participants.

  4. Reporting for Class and Work

    University students and employees are expected to report for classes and work as scheduled, unless otherwise notified through established campus procedures. They are also expected to exercise good judgment regarding their personal circumstances.

    In the case of a delayed or late opening, students are expected to report to any class that would normally be in session at the time the university opens. For example, if a class runs from 9:30 to 10:45 a.m. and the university is opening late at 10:00 a.m., students will be expected to attend that class for its remaining time, from 10:00 to 10:45 a.m. In some circumstances, a shortened class meeting may not be feasible or practical. In these cases, instructors are advised to use their best judgement, in coordination with their academic unit head, and provide clear instruction to their students.

    Essential employees are required to report for duty and to perform their duties despite the notification of a weather-related emergency. The term "essential employee" will be deemed to include an employee of a facility who has been designated as vital to the operation of the facility, whose presence is required regardless of the existence of an emergency condition, and whose absence from duty would endanger the safety and well being of the campus population and/or physical plant. Employees are advised to consult with their supervisors to determine whether they are essential or non-essential employees, and to obtain specific information about the proper reporting procedures.

    In those circumstances in which faculty members are unable to meet with their classes due to weather conditions that do not result in delayed openings or campus closings, faculty are expected to consult with their department chairpersons prior to canceling their classes.

    Students are encouraged to notify their professors in the event that the students are unable to attend class due to weather conditions that do not result in delayed openings or campus closings.

  5. Procedures:

    1. The Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost will be responsible for determining when safety considerations require delayed openings or campus closings. This decision will be made in consultation with the Snow Command Center in Facilities Management regarding the following factors:

      1. Type of forecast conditions (i.e., wind, snow, ice)
      2. Severity of forecast conditions
      3. Reliability of the forecast
      4. Temperature
      5. Visibility
      6. Conditions of campus roads, parking areas, sidewalks and exterior steps
      7. Readiness and mobilization level of grounds maintenance operations
      8. Feasibility of continued operation of ShuttleUM
      9. Traffic and roadway conditions in surrounding vicinity
      10. Conditions at the University of Maryland University College campus
      11. Impact on the academic program
      12. Implications for the academic calendar, including the commencement and semester breaks

    2. Closings and Delayed Openings:

      When conditions are predicted to affect the daytime schedule, reasonable effort will be made to announce delayed opening of campus facilities or campus closing no later than 6:00 a.m. When conditions develop during the business day or are predicted to occur during the evening hours, closings will be announced as soon as practicable. The announcement will include the time at which the closing will take effect. When conditions are predicted to occur during weekends, holidays and breaks, the status of the campus will be determined in accordance with the procedure described in section V.A, above. In addition, program sponsors and coordinators will consult directly with the Snow Command Center regarding the status of any events or programs scheduled to occur during such weekends, holidays and breaks.

    3. Offsite Locations:

      The University offers courses and services at numerous sites beyond the campus at College Park. Specifically,

      1. The College of Agriculture and Natural Resources operates in county offices throughout the state of Maryland.
      2. The R.H. Smith School of Business operates in Baltimore, Montgomery County (Shady Grove Center), and Washington, D.C.
      3. The A. James Clark School of Engineering operates in Montgomery County (Shady Grove Center), and St. Mary's County (Southern Maryland Higher Education Center). (In past years, live courses have been offered in the Higher Education Applied Technology Center in Harford County.)
      4. The College of Education offers lives courses in Howard, Montgomery and Prince George's Counties, and expects to expand its offerings to the Eastern Shore and Harford County next year.

      The academic deans of the colleges and schools that administer these programs are authorized to develop and publicize inclement weather procedures for their offsite programs. These procedures should include a method for notifying faculty, staff and students of the status of facilities, classes, and services.

    4. Notices:

      The Office of University Communications will be responsible for communicating weather alerts and schedule adjustments to the general campus community and to the general public. The weather alerts and weather-related schedule adjustments will be announced on the University website (http://www.umd.edu/) and "snow phone line" (301-405-SNOW), and reported to local radio and television stations. The announcements will include a request that guests and participants in scheduled events and programs contact the program and event sponsors or coordinators regarding the status of events and programs that are scheduled to occur during the period in which the campus will be closed.

      The Work Control Center in the Department of Facilities Management will be responsible for announcing delayed openings and closings to the following offices and units: Campus Recreation Services, Dining Services, Personnel Services Department, Residential Facilities, ShuttleUM, Stamp Student Union Information Desk, University Health Center, and University Police Department.

      Sponsors and coordinators of programs and events scheduled to occur during the winter months are encouraged to develop a means of directly notifying guests and participants of the status of scheduled events that may be impacted by inclement weather and campus closings.

      Faculty are encouraged to develop and publicize a method of communicating directly with students in the event that faculty members are unable to meet with their classes due to weather conditions that do not result in delayed openings and campus closings. Faculty will contact their department chairs prior to canceling classes due to these weather conditions.

    5. Academic Calendar and Academic Requirements:

      Adjustments to the academic calendar, and exceptions to academic requirements due to inclement weather will be made by the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost and the academic deans in accordance with university policy.