Winter Weather Advisory Information for 2012/2013
The warmth of summer has quickly faded. While I am normally an optimistic person, I know we need to anticipate some bad weather days ahead. In my role as senior vice president for finance and administration, part of my responsibility includes the decision on Kent Campus cancellations and closures. After consulting with the primary resources guiding these decisions (Department of Public Safety and Facilities Planning and Operations), the general policy and priorities used in guiding such decisions are as follows.
Generally speaking, the university does not close or cancel classes. Please note that we do not close campus because of cold weather, and winter ice and snow conditions rarely prompt the cancellation of classes or closure of the campus. Now would be a good time to buy your winter wardrobe. Walking from the parking lot to the office, or for students, between class locations can become bitter without protective warm clothing.
On those very rare occasions, weather conditions may delay classes or result in cancellation of class schedules. When extreme weather conditions exist in the Kent area, any consideration for a delay of classes or campus closure are made before 6 a.m. for morning and all-day cancellations, 10 a.m. for afternoon classes and 3 p.m. for evening classes. Below are key points to keep in mind:
- In the event of an early morning delay, classes will not begin before 10 a.m. (Students in special classes, i.e., clinicals, should consult with their dean regarding the appropriate procedures for an early morning delay or cancellation.)
- Employees shall report to work when the delay has been lifted, with the exception of those staff members who must report according to their job duties. If you are not sure of your status, please check with your supervisor.
- In most instances, university services and offices remain open and operate even when classes are canceled.
- Our university staff members work very hard to keep campus sidewalks, roads and parking lots clear for your convenience. Only when the university is “closed” due to weather are offices closed and some services not available. Even in that situation, critical staff members must report to work so that operations needing 24-hour attention are maintained, such as providing essential services for students living in the residence halls, as well as staff members keeping the road and walkways cleared.
We do recognize that many of our students are commuters, and we work very closely with city and county officials on their thinking about closing and keeping people off the roads if road crews are unable to keep pace with a storm. In order for us to make a decision to delay or cancel classes, we have to anticipate where the severe weather is heading. The decision is based upon the best knowledge we have at the time for what the conditions will be like. Sometimes a delay is an appropriate thing to do in order to gain two to four hours to get the campuses ready for vehicular and pedestrian traffic. When making any decision for the Kent Campus, there can be a wide range of weather conditions in the outlying areas, and although we take into account the commuter students in regions close to Kent, the decision is based on the weather and forecasts in the Kent area.
Still, students, supervisors and employees are expected to exercise good judgment during severe weather conditions. Travel conditions may cause an employee to arrive to work late, be absent or leave work early. Employees should notify their supervisors if they are unable to report to work or feel it necessary to leave early for safety reasons.
At times there has been confusion when the Governor’s Office issues a closing order, or when the local sheriffs’ departments have posted snow emergency advisories. Please note that a closing order from the Governor’s Office is issued primarily for state office buildings and other state employees in the field. Colleges and universities do not fall into this category. Sheriffs’ departments issue snow emergency levels ranging from one to three. These orders do not apply to employees required to provide critical functions at their workplace. Kent State’s Department of Public Safety monitors this information very closely and considers all information during a severe weather situation. They are in constant contact with the Ohio State Highway Patrol, local police departments and the National Weather Service to monitor the current and predicted conditions.
There are three ways of learning about class cancellations and campus closings:
- Flash ALERTS message and FlashLine email. The Flash ALERTS message will notify subscribers to check the university’s Advisory Web page for up-to-the-minute reports on campus and class status. Individuals can subscribe to the Flash ALERTS service online at www.kent.edu/flashalerts.
- Kent State’s Advisory Web page at www.kent.edu/advisory. This page lists any closings across the university’s eight-campus system. A red bar will appear on the top of the www.kent.edu home page should there be a cancellation or closing listed on the Advisory Web page. Also the information is posted to the university’s Facebook page and Twitter.
- Through television and radio broadcasts. For a complete listing of all of the television and radio stations to which Kent Campus cancellation information is reported, please visit this guide.
Regional Campus delays, cancellations or closings are determined by each campus’s respective dean. When such decisions are made, the advisory information will be communicated via the same vehicles as those used by the Kent Campus.
Kent State’s operations involve special duties that exceed the expectations of private businesses, public schools and even some other colleges and universities. Serving residential students, maintaining the operation of a power plant, keeping roads and parking lots open, as well as attending to research and computer activities, are some of the many responsibilities that necessitate the Kent Campus and Regional Campuses remain open if at all possible. At the same time, everyone’s safety is a priority, and good judgment should be exercised during severe weather conditions.
Be safe, enjoy your time in Northeast Ohio, and stay optimistic that we will have great weather all winter!
Gregg S. Floyd
Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration