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 to the campus community by 5:30AM.
Individual campuses, such as the Medical Campus, Blue Ash Campus, and Clermont Campus, may have specific concerns or issues that require they be addressed separately from the Uptown Campus. The academic heads of these campuses should contact the Director of Public Safety or his designee for consultation in such cases.
If a campus unit designated as non-essential seeks to hold a campus event during a weather related delay or closing, they must first receive approval from the Director of Public Safety.
Winter Weather Closure Procedures
- SNOW WATCH: Declared at such time the National Weather Service predicts the possibility of heavy accumulation of snow.
- SNOW WARNING: Declared at such time that the National Weather Service predicts large quantities of snow.
- WINTER WEATHER CLOSURE FOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE CAMPUS AND/OR THE UC 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 VP of Safety & Reform, the Provost, and the Sr. Vice President for Health Affairs.
- 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 the Director of Public Safety may declare class cancellation based on the following circumstances:
- Weather conditions exist such that students’ walking to the campus or between buildings on campus is hazardous.
- Road conditions allow employees to travel to work.
- This typically will be considered when the National Weather Service declares a wind chill warning (approximately -25 degree range) for an extended period of time during the daily commute or normal operating hours, the University will most likely issue a delay or closing.
- 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 his jurisdiction for the preservation of the public peace. Attorney General Opinion 97-015 also allows the Sheriff to close State and Municipal roads.
- 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.
In order to clarify the definition of the snow emergency, Ohio Sheriff's 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 applicable 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 multiple complex variables such as: road conditions, driving visibility, forecast conditions, temperature, ice, implications for the academic calendar, etc.
- Salt, sand and gravel procured by contract by Parking and/or Grounds for their use throughout the university.
- Coordination meetings with City of Cincinnati, ODOT, will be attended annually or as needed by the Director of Public Safety or his designee.
- News releases on snow emergency procedures issued by the Director of Public Relations or the Public Safety Public Information Officer.
C. Weather Monitoring and Decision Process
- The Director of Public Safety or his designee will monitor weather forecasts via National Weather Service and contract weather service, as well as road conditions by ODOT and ARTIMIS systems. Gathers information on conditions from highway maintenance and police as needed.
- The Director of Emergency Management and Business Continuity will notify Emergency Management Advisory Committee (EMAC) of potential severe weather by e-mail.
- Police officer in charge on nights and weekends will notify Dispatch of serious winter weather conditions, and Dispatch will notify the Director of Public Safety or his designee. For overnight weather conditions, this notification must occur by 4:00 AM.
- If and when necessary, the Director of Grounds Maintenance will call in snow removal crews. The Director of Grounds Maintenance will call Grounds Superintendents who will, in turn, call in people to start clearing procedures. The Asst. Director of Parking Maintenance will call in snow removal crews for parking facilities.
- If necessary, before 5:30 AM (or before 10:00 PM, if possible), The Director of Public Safety or designee will confer with the President to discuss road and parking conditions and future weather.
- The Director of Public Safety or designee will confer with the Dean (or delegate) for Blue Ash College and/or Clermont College as necessary prior to contacting the President.
- Should unusual circumstances indicate a schedule change or closure may be necessary for the Academic Health Center Campus, the Director of Public Safety or designee will consult with the Vice President for Health Affairs
- If a decision is made to close or alter classroom or office schedules, the Director of Public Safety will notify the President or designee who will notify the Provost. The Director of Public Safety will, designate PS PIO to coordinate the following with M+C.
- Issue an email to all UC email accounts advising of the closure or change in schedule
- Issue a text message to all UC students and employees who have not opted out of the emergency text notification system
- Issue a text message and email to all persons who have signed up for notifications via Bearcat Guardian.
- The Director of Public Relations or designee will post the schedule change or cancellation on the University home page (www.uc.edu). If needed, digital signage boards and the voice capable alarm system may also be utilized to communicate a winter weather closure.
- UCit’s Tom Ridgeway or Pete Ramsey will change the voice message on the University main phone line (556-6000).
- Based upon conditions and circumstances, the regional campuses may be considered for schedule changes or closure separate from any decisions made on the Uptown campus.
- Unless specifically stated otherwise, the Academic Health Center is excluded from general schedule changes or closures.
- It should be kept in mind that classes are held beyond the Monday-Friday schedule and that snow removal cannot always be delayed over a weekend. Likewise, schedule changes or cancellations may 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 notify contact personnel for Grounds and Parking by text, e-mail, or telephone (as appropriate), and will also advise the Director of Public Safety, or designee.
The Asst. Director of Parking Maintenance and the Director of Grounds, Moving & Transportation will call in appropriate personnel to effect snow removal as necessary.
The managers of maintenance operations at the regional campuses will call in appropriate personnel to effect snow removal as necessary.
Snow Removal Priorities
After a decision is reached by Director of Grounds, Moving & Transportation (or his/her alternate), and Asst. Director of Parking Maintenance to remove snow, the following order of priority is in effect for Grounds Maintenance crews:
- All sidewalks, steps and handicap ramps and curb cuts.
- Parking Maintenance crews will clear all lots, garage entrances, ramps, exposed top decks of garages, and all campus drives including Academic Health Center and Victory Parkway lots.
- Call out procedures for the Regional Campuses will take place at the same time the decision is made on the Uptown Campus. Roads, sidewalks and lots will be cleared by Regional Campus crews and/or contractors, except Victory Parkway, which will be serviced by Parking Maintenance. At Victory Parkway, Grounds Maintenance will clear sidewalks, entries and steps.
- UC Reading Campus snow removal is by contract services, which is coordinated by Parking Maintenance.
Emergency closures: announcement.
The University of Cincinnati is always officially open. During periods of severe inclement 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 situation on the university electronic mail system and through local mass media outlets. In general, such a campus status announcement will inform the general public, as well as University of Cincinnati students and employees, that the University of Cincinnati campus, or a specific designated portion of the campus, is closed for a specific time period.
- Such announcements may specify that University of Cincinnati classes, with the exception of the college of medicine, are canceled until or after a specific time, or for an entire day.
- Such announcements may specify that all events and programs, including both university events and non-university events held in university facilities, are canceled.
- Such announcements may specify that certain university offices and facilities are closed, except for essential offices that never close under any circumstances, 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: Beth Rains, work # (513) 556-4147
Personal phone contact with one (in order listed) of the above required
Transportation notifies: Public Safety Dispatch (513) 556-1111; Help Desk (513) 556-4357
Campus Park Apts. (513) 221-3111 (East Route)
Croswell monitors and updates TRANSLOC tracker system web page noting route closures and route re openings.
When possible, route closure notification to occur one hour prior to actual closing.
If there is a class cancelation without closure, limited shuttles will operate.
Extended route changes (more than 30 minutes) due to traffic conditions to be posted by Croswell on TRANSLOC tracker system web page.
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, twenty-four 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:
- If the closing is announced during the day, it will be communicated via UC’s voice warning system in the buildings.
- An email will be sent to everyone with an active UC email account. If you forward your email, make sure that forwarded messages get through.
- An emergency message will be posted to UC’s homepage at http://www.uc.edu .
- The voicemail message at UC’s main telephone number, 513-556-6000, will be changed to announce the closing.
- A text message will be sent to everyone who has not opted out of the service. The University of Cincinnati offers a text messaging service to alert students, faculty and staff members about any campus closings and other emergencies. See https://ucdirectory.uc.edu/EmergencyTextMessaging.asp
- A text message, tweet, or email will be sent to everyone who signs up for UC’s Campus Safety Network. Find a link here: http://www.uc.edu/publicsafety/records-reports/advisories.html
- UC social media will carry closing information via Twitter (@uofcincy) and via Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/uofcincinnati)
- The message will be sent to Cincinnati news media for broadcast or posting to station Web sites.
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.
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 https://ucdirectory.uc.edu/EmergencyTextMessaging.asp
- Make sure you are following the university’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 everyone does not clean sidewalks as well as the UC Facilities team. You may need to use an alternate path.
- If you are a student, clarify the expectations of your faculty: When are absences excused and not? How can assignments be made up? How will your faculty let you know if they are 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 will you accommodate snow days? How must students communicate their inability to travel? How will you let students know you are unable to travel?
- If you are responsible for a university service, how will you notify your clients of your status?