Get ready in case it snows

Learn how the university communicates about inclement weather

Is the University of Cincinnati open or closed? You can prepare by understanding why the university closes, how the university communicates that it is closed and what you can do to prepare for inclement weather.

Why the university closes

When inclement weather threatens the safety of the University of Cincinnati community, University Rule 3361: 10-55-01 will be invoked, and an emergency closing will be declared. It is possible that only some campuses of the university may close.

UC's Winter Weather Closure Procedures may call for cancellation when 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.

“When we recommend closing the university for an entire day, or for part of a day, it is because we are concerned about the safety of the university community,” said Public Safety Director Eliot Isaac. “However, when inclement weather is predicted, we ask people to plan ahead in case the university does not 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 of Cincinnati Medical Center, UC Health, and related patient care units are not affected by this notice. Please visit for information about University of Cincinnati Physicians offices and UC Health hospitals.

You'll be able to find important information regarding the status of UC campuses on the UC Alert page. In the event of an emergency or inclement weather, please check this page. You may want to bookmark it for future use.

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-activated building alarm system.
  • An email will be sent to everyone who is signed up for safety notifications. If you forward your email, make sure that forwarded messages get through.

  • A copy of the email notification will be posted on the Bearcats Notification page.

  • An emergency message will be posted to UC’s homepage.
  • A text message will be sent to everyone who has provided a cell number to the university. The University of Cincinnati offers a text messaging service to alert students, faculty and staff members about any campus closings and other emergencies. For more information or to check to make sure you are signed up for safety notifications, please review your account.  
  • The message will be sent to most 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, etc. Unless the above notifications take place, the university is operating as usual.

Modifications to snow removal operations

UC’s Facilities Management, the unit responsible for snow removal on campus, has worked with UC Sustainability; Planning, Design and Construction; and Meisner and Associates, to update the university’s snow-removal plan.

Critical areas, such as accessibility ramps and fire-exit doors, will be cleared first. All primary and secondary pedestrian areas will be cleared as soon as practical after snow events. When needed to aid with snow removal, vendor Brightview will lend assistance to UC’s Grounds Services.

As part of the university’s sustainability and environmental stewardship efforts, UC’s Grounds Services’ snow-removal efforts have adopted more eco-friendly methods. UC uses liquid de-icer before and after snow and ice events. This liquid de-icer helps prevent sodium damage to landscape and lawn areas. Salt usage and the environmental damage it can cause has also been reduced by select, strategic reductions in snow clearance. For instance, select areas like the Braid on Sigma Sigma Commons, will not be cleared (though primary walkways nearby will be). Or, broad portions of very wide staircases will be cleared to make for safe passage vs. complete clearance.

What you can do to prepare

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

  • 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 travel by UC shuttle, visit the Shuttle Services page. If the University of Cincinnati closes due to severe weather, etc., shuttles will continue to operate for one hour after the official university closing time, provided the roads are safe and passable. In order to use the shuttle tracker, visit the TRANSLOC link.
  • 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?
  • If you are responsible for a university event, how will you handle cancellations, refunds and rescheduling?

Remember: This is Cincinnati. During the winter, it snows. A little preparation now will help you when the flakes inevitably fall.


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