Public Safety

Winter Weather Closure Policy

In the event of a severe winter storm that could affect student and/or employee access to the University, the Director of Public Safety will decide whether a closure, class cancellation or delay will be declared due to weather conditions. Every effort will be made to communicate a weather related delay or closing by 5:30AM.

Some campuses, such as Medical, Blue Ash, and Clermont, may have unique issues required to be addressed separately from the Uptown Campus.  The academic leadership of these campuses should contact the Director of Public Safety or his/her designee to review such cases. 

Campus units designated as non-essential must first receive approval from the Director of Public Safety prior to hosting campus events during weather delays or closings.

Winter Weather Closure Procedures

A. Terminology

  1. SNOW WATCH:  Declared when the National Weather Service predicts the possibility of heavy snow accumulation.
  2. SNOW WARNING:  Declared when the National Weather Service predicts large volumes of snow.
  3. WINTER WEATHER CLOSURE FOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE AND/OR READING CAMPUS:  All classes are cancelled for the time period specified, and only essential employees are to report to work.  Declared only by the President after consultation with the Director of Public Safety, the Provost, and the Sr. Vice President for Health Affairs.
  4. CLASS CANCELLATION WITHOUT CLOSURE: Cancellation of classes for an entire day, or a portion thereof, for one or more campuses.  The University remains open for normal business other than classes, and all employees are expected to report to work. The Director of Public Safety may cancel classes based on the following:
    1. Weather conditions exist such that students’ walking to campus or between buildings on campus are hazardous.
    2. Road conditions allow employees to travel to work.
    3. The National Weather Service declares a wind chill warning (approximately -25 degrees) for an extended period of time during the daily commute or normal University operating hours.
  5. SNOW EMERGENCY:  Pursuant to Attorney General Opinion 86-023 the Sheriff of a County may declare a snow emergency and temporarily close County and Township roads within a jurisdiction for the preservation of the public peace.  Attorney General Opinion 97-015 also allows the Sheriff to close State and Municipal roads. In order to clarify the definition of the snow emergency, Ohio Sheriffs adopted guidelines to be followed when closing highways due to severe weather.  The policy is as follows:
    • Level I SNOW ALERT - Roadways are hazardous with blowing and drifting snow.
    • Level II SNOW ADVISORY - Roadways are hazardous with blowing and drifting snow. Only those who feel it is necessary to drive should be out on the roadways. Contact your employer to see if you should report to work. If the applicable county sheriff declares a Level 1 or 2 snow emergency, the University will most likely issue a delay or closing.
    • Level III SNOW EMERGENCY - All Municipal, Township, County, and State roadways are closed to non-emergency personnel. No one should be out during these conditions unless it is absolutely necessary to travel. Those traveling on the roadways may subject themselves to arrest. If the respective county sheriff declares a Level 3 snow emergency, the University will close.
    • For severe weather where no county-wide declaration is made, the University will assess the need for a delay or closing based on several variables such as: road conditions, driving visibility, forecast conditions, temperature, ice, and academic calendar considerations, etc.
  6. ESSENTIAL EMPLOYEES:  Each division and office of the University is responsible for identifying employees who are essential, and are required to report to work despite a campus closure.  

B. Preparedness

  1. Salt, sand and gravel are to be procured by Parking and/or Grounds for use throughout the university.
  2. Coordination meetings with the City of Cincinnati and ODOT will be attended annually or as needed by the Director of Public Safety or designee
  3. News releases on snow emergency procedures will be issued by University Communications (Marketing + Communications) or the Public Safety Public Information Officer.

C. Weather Monitoring and Decision Process

  1. The Director of Public Safety or designee will monitor weather forecasts via National Weather Service (NWS) and contract weather services. Road conditions will be monitored using ODOT resources.
  2. If necessary, the Director of Emergency Management and Business Continuity or designee will notify Emergency Management Advisory Committee (EMAC) of potential severe weather by email.
  3. The police supervisor on nights and weekends will notify Dispatch of serious winter weather conditions, and Dispatch will notify the Director of Public Safety or designee. For overnight weather conditions, this notification must occur by 4:00 AM.
  4. If necessary the Director of Grounds Maintenance will activate snow removal resources. The Director of Grounds Maintenance will notify Grounds Superintendents to activate resources for snow removal. The Assistant Director of Parking Maintenance or designee is responsible for snow removal for parking facilities.
  5. If necessary, (and before 5:30 AM or before 10:00 PM, if possible), The Director of Public Safety or designee will confer with the following: 
    1. The Dean (or delegate) for Blue Ash College and/or Clermont College as necessary.
    2. The Vice President for Health Affairs
    3. The Provost
  6. If classes are cancelled or postponed, the Director of Public Safety or designee will:
    1. Issue an email to all UC email accounts advising of the closure or change in schedule
    2. Issue a text message to all UC students and employees who have not opted out of the emergency text notification system
    3. Issue a text message and email to all persons who have signed up for notifications via Rave Alert
    4. Change the voice message on the campus status recording (513-556-3333)
  7. The Director of Public Relations or designee will post the schedule change or cancellation on the University home page (www.uc.edu). Public Safety will send text messages and emails, update the 513-556-3333 phone line and Twitter, and contact the University Communications Director or designee (M+C). Digital signage boards and the voice capable alarm system may also be utilized to communicate a winter weather closure. The University Communications Director or designee (M+C) will draft a weather related notification statement to be placed on the UC web page by M+C personnel.
  8. UCiT personnel will change the voice message on the University main phone line (513-556-6000).
  9. Regional campuses may host, cancel, or postpone class independent from the Uptown campuses. 
  10. Unless specifically stated otherwise, the Academic Health Center is excluded from general schedule changes or closures.
  11. Schedule changes or cancellations may also be needed for evening or weekends.

Snow Removal Procedures

In the event of a snow or ice storm that will affect safe travel around campus, either on foot or in vehicles, the Police shift supervisor will notify Public Safety Dispatch.  The dispatcher will contact personnel for Grounds and Parking by text, email, or telephone and will also advise the Director of Public Safety or designee.

The Assistant Director of Parking Maintenance and the Director of Grounds, Moving & Transportation will manage personnel to effect snow removal as necessary.

The managers of maintenance operations at the regional campuses will manage personnel to effect snow removal as necessary.

Snow Removal Priorities

Director of Grounds, Moving & Transportation and Assistant Director of Parking Maintenance (or designees) snow removal priorities:

  1. All sidewalks, steps and handicap ramps and curb cuts.
  2. Clear all lots, garage entrances, ramps, exposed top decks of garages, and all campus drives including Academic Health Center and Victory Parkway lots.
  3. Roads, sidewalks and lots will be cleared by Regional Campus crews and/or contractors, except Victory Parkway, which will be serviced by Parking Maintenance. Grounds Maintenance will clear sidewalks, entries and steps at Victory Parkway.
  4. UC Reading Campus snow removal is coordinated by Parking Maintenance.

Campus Closure

Emergency closures: announcement.

The University of Cincinnati is officially ‘always’ open. During periods of severe weather, public emergency, or other crisis, the Director of Public Safety or a designated cabinet officer of the University of Cincinnati may issue an announcement of campus status as appropriate to the particular situation. The university electronic mail system and local mass media outlets are used to make these announcements. In general, such announcements will inform the general public, as well as University of Cincinnati students and employees, that a University of Cincinnati campus or a designated portion of a campus, is closed for a set time period.

  • Such announcements may specify that University of Cincinnati classes (with the exception of the College of Medicine) are canceled for a specific time period or for an entire day.
  • Such announcements may specify that all events and programs (e.g. university events or non-university events) hosted in university facilities are canceled.
  • Such announcements may specify that certain university offices and facilities are closed (except for essential offices that never close) and which are identified in rule 3361:30-16-01 of the Administrative Code.

Emergency Closures: Compensation

Compensation and attendance rules see: University Rule 30-16-01 or appropriate collective bargaining agreement

Weather-suspended shuttle service procedure

Route safety will be assessed by the driver, suspension of route called by Croswell

Croswell notifies: Facilities-Grounds Moving & Transportation 513-556-4147

Transportation notifies:           

  • Public Safety Dispatch: 513-556-1111
  • Help Desk: 513-556-4357
  • Campus Park Apts.: 513-221-3111 (East Route)

Personal phone contact with one of the above is required (use the order listed)

Announcements/Notifications:

Croswell monitors and updates the Doublemap Tracker System webpage noting route closures and route re-openings. Whenever possible, route closure notifications should occur one hour prior to actual closing.

If there is a class cancelation without closure, limited shuttles will operate.

Traffic notifications:

Extended route changes (more than 30 minutes) due to traffic conditions are to be posted by Croswell on Doublemap Tracker System webpage.

NightRide Service Suspension

  1. NightRide route safety
    1. Individual drivers may determine that a specific road or road segment is not safe to drive, and discharge passengers at the nearest, safest location.
  2. NightRide service suspension
    1. The Community Safety Manager will monitor road conditions during inclement weather, and determine if the service will be suspended.
    2. In general, service will be suspended when the Uptown campus is closed.
    3. If a closure is announced during the operating times for NightRide, efforts will be made to provide service to calls already scheduled. No further requests for service will be taken.
    4. If service is suspended, the information will be posted on the NightRide Twitter feed, and a recorded message placed on the 513-556-RIDE phone line.

University of Cincinnati Weather-Related Policy and Protocols:

Why The University Closes

When inclement weather threatens the safety of the University of Cincinnati community, the Director of Public Safety may declare an emergency closing. It is possible that only some campuses of the university may close. 
  
The following units (described in University Rule 3361:30-16-01) are never closed, no matter what the status of the rest of the university.

  • College of Medicine;
  • University Police; 
  • Hoxworth Blood Center; 
  • Office of Residence Life/Housing units; 
  • Utility plants; 
  • Emergency maintenance operations; 
  • Any research unit where the integrity of the research must be preserved; 
  • Service units that routinely operate on a seven day per week, 24 hour per day service schedule.

Students at the Academic Health Center should follow their college’s inclement weather plan.

University Hospital, UC Health, and related patient care units are not affected by this notice. Please visit www.UCHealth.com for information about University of Cincinnati Physicians’ offices and UC Health hospitals.

How the University Communicates A Closing

If the university is closed due to inclement weather, the following media are used to communicate the closing:

[1] RAVE; 2018-2019

How the University Communicates It Is Open

If the university is open:

  • There will be no change to the homepage, no email or text message, no notice via the media, and the main telephone number will operate as usual.
  • The voicemail message at UC’s campus status telephone number, 513-556-3333, will report that UC is open.

What You Can Do To Prepare

There are a variety of steps you can take now to prepare for inclement weather:

  • Make sure you haven’t opted out of emergency text messages. See ucdirectory.uc.edu/EmergencyTextMessaging.asp.
  • Make sure you are following the university and Public Safety’s official Twitter and Facebook pages.
  • If you commute, familiarize yourself with bus routes and other alternative transportation. When the snow falls, it may be better to leave the driving to a professional.
  • If you walk to campus, be aware that Cincinnati does not require sidewalks to be cleared. You may need to use an alternate path.
  • If you are a student, clarify the expectations with your faculty: When are absences excused and not? How can assignments be made up? How will faculty notify students should they be unable to meet the class?
  • If you are a member of the faculty, give guidance to your students. How will weather affect assignments and deadlines? How must students communicate their inability to travel? How will you notify students that you are unable to attend class?
  • If you are responsible for a university service, how will you notify your clients of your status?
  • If you are responsible for a university event, how will you handle cancelations, refunds and rescheduling?

Please direct all questions regarding this policy to UC Public Safety at 513-556-4900.