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Inclement Weather Policies and Procedures

Policy
Purpose: 
To describe the several policies and procedures (personnel, class cancellation, campus closing, etc.) that may be implemented when the region experiences inclement weather.
Applies to: 

Students, faculty, staff, affiliates, and visitors on the Lawrence campus, Edwards campus, and other KU designated locations.

Campus: 
Edwards
Lawrence
Juniper Gardens
Parsons
Yoder
Topeka
Policy Statement: 

Introduction

Ocassionaly it is necessary to cancel classes, curtail campus operations, or close a campus or other designated location due to inclement weather or other conditions. The policies and procedures that affect university operations when the region experiences inclement weather are summarized below.
 
The Inclement Weather Policy is a Human Resource Management policy which, permits employees to arrive late or to leave work early when inclement weather conditions impede travel. The personnel policies that are in effect during declarations of inclement weather or when the campus is closed provide details for managing essential programs and services or hours reporting for working on-site.
  1. Inclement Weather Policy

    In the event that inclement weather is likely to cause adverse conditions for employees, the Chancellor or Provost/Executive Vice Chancellor have been delegated by the governor to implement the Inclement Weather Policy. Inclement weather declarations issued by the governor's office do not affect KU employees.

    The Inclement Weather Policy is intended to provide additional travel time to and/or from the designated campus location. A declaration of inclement weather is a separate designation from the cancellation of classes. There may be instances when classes are cancelled, but an inclement weather declaration is not declared. This additional travel time is not applicable to employees working from home or at an off-campus worksite.

    When the Inclement Weather Policy is implemented at the start of the work shift, employees may be allowed a specific time period (generally one hour) in which to report to the campus work site after the start of the normal work shift without receiving a reduction in pay. Employees whose shifts are ending may be permitted to depart early (generally one hour) without receiving a reduction in pay. In very unusual situations, a longer period of time may be announced. Employees who arrive past the specified time period or are unable to get to work are expected to notify their supervisor/unit as soon as possible.

    Any emergency declaration will be announced via area news media (after 5:45 a.m.), the inclement weather line (785-864-SNOW after 6:00 a.m.), the KU home page and campus alerts website, the KU Information Center (785-864-3506), and by broadcast email and text message from the Office of Public Affairs (during the workday). Hearing impaired individuals who have TTY/TDD equipment will be able to obtain information through the Kansas Relay Center (1-800-766-3777). If inclement weather is declared during the day, employees will be notified via a broadcast email and text message from the Office of Public Affairs.

    Directors and chairpersons must determine their staffing requirements prior to an inclement weather declaration to ensure the maintenance of essential programs and activities. During periods of inclement weather, essential emergency services include but are not limited to maintaining building operations; clearing walkways, streets, and parking lots; student residence hall services; and public safety. Detailed information about the process for designating emergency (“weather essential”) staff is included in Section 6, Personnel procedures for inclement weather and university cloasings.

  2. Procedures for Canceling Classes or Curtailing Other Operations, Lawrence Campus

    Whenever forecasts or weather conditions suggest that travel in the area could become hazardous, the Vice Provost for Operations or designee will confer with the offices of Public Safety and Operations (Facilities Services) to assess the conditions of streets, roads, and parking lots with the anticipated changes in weather conditions.

    The Vice Provost of Operations will consult with and provide recommenedations to the Provost/Executive Vice Chancellor. By 5:30 a.m., the Provost/Executive Vice Chancellor or the Chancellor will make a decision.

    If inclement weather develops during the course of a workday, the same procedures will be used to decide whether to dismiss employees located on-site early, cancel afternoon and/or evening classes. Units that have responsibility for critical 24/7 operations should have prearranged plans for staffing during periods of inclement weather so that services or operations are not interrupted. Detailed information about the process for designating emergency ("weather essential") staff is included in Section 6, Personnel procedures for inclement weather and university closings.

  3. Procedures for Canceling Classes or Curtailing Other Operations at the Edwards Campus/Leavenworth Location and Other Offices Outside of Lawrence

    Edwards Campus/Leavenworth: The Dean of the Edwards Campus/Leavenworth or designee, in consultation with members of the staff and with the Provost/Executive Vice Chancellor or designee, will determine whether classes should be cancelled and/or whether the inclement weather policy should be implemented. When a decision has been made, an Edwards Campus representative will notify the Office of Public Affairs, local media, and the KU Information Line. Class cancellations and other relevant information will be posted on both the Edwards Campus and Lawrence campus websites. Edwards Campus/Leavenworth updates will be posted on the alerts web page.

    When the weather is threatening, decisions affecting the Edwards Campus/Leavenworth will be made twice each day. For classes offered during the day until 4:00 p.m., the Edwards Campus will endeavor to make and announce the decision by 7:00 a.m. For classes that begin at 4:00 p.m. or later, the Edwards Campus will endeavor to make and announce the decision by 2:00 p.m. The KU Edwards Campus/Leavenworth has its own weather line that can be reached by dialing (913) 897-8499.

    Other KU offices outside of Lawrence: Decisions affecting the operations of the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center, the Juniper Gardens Children’s Project, the University of Kansas at Parsons, the KU Public Management Center in Topeka, and other KU offices outside of Lawrence will be made by the on-site administrators after consultation with the Lawrence or Edwards Campus administrators to whom they report. When a decision has been made, the on-site administrator will inform local media as appropriate.

  4. Policies for Operation of the KU Lawrence Campus Libraries During Inclement Weather

    Opening: The KU Lawrence campus libraries, including the Wheat Law Library, will open for regularly scheduled hours of service unless the university announces that the campus is to be closed. In all other cases, the libraries on the Lawrence campus will open at regularly scheduled times, based on the availability of staff. The highest priority for staffing to maintain regular hours of opening will be Watson Library and the Anschutz Library.

    Early Closing: The Dean of Libraries or their designee may close branch libraries as is necessary to ensure adequate staffing of Watson and Anschutz Libraries. Watson and Anschutz Libraries may be closed early if, in the Dean's judgment after consultation with the Provost/Executive Vice Chancellor or their designee, the safety of users and staff would be threatened by remaining open. The Dean of Libraries and the Provost/Executive Vice Chancellor or their designees will confer with the Director of the Wheat Law Library and the Dean of the School of Law to ensure coordination of action.

    Announcement of Closing: When a determination to close any or all of the libraries is made, the Dean of the Libraries will inform responsible library staff, the Information Center, the Director of the Wheat Law Library, and the Office of Public Affairs, which will notify the local media.

  5. Procedures for Closing Campus

    The Lawrence campus will be considered “closed” when (a) classes are cancelled and (b) weather or other conditions are so severe that only emergency (“weather essential”) staff must report to work. (Detailed information about the process for designating emergency ("weather essential") staff is included in Section 6, Personnel procedures for inclement weather and university closings. Decisions to close the Edwards campus, the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center, or other KU offices outside of Lawrence will be made by the on-site administrators after consultation with the Lawrence campus administrators to whom they report.

    The determination and notice process described in the Inclement Weather Policy (Section 1 above) will be used in declaring the Lawrence campus closed. In addition, The Office of Public Affairs will send a broadcast email and text message to all faculty, staff, and students. The wording of the notice will differ slightly from the inclement weather declaration in that it will state, “The University of Kansas Lawrence campus is closed. Only emergency (“weather essential”) staff should report for work.” When possible, the notice will specify how long the University will be closed.

    If the decision to close the campus is made after the workday has begun, the notice process described in section 2 (above) will be used.

  6. Personnel Procedures for Inclement Weather and University Closings

    Maintaining essential programs and services: During periods of inclement weather or other emergency conditions, essential emergency services include but are not limited to maintaining building operations, clearing walkways, streets and parking lots, student residence hall services, and public safety. Directors and chairpersons must determine their staffing requirements prior to an inclement weather declaration to ensure the maintenance of these services. In some cases, specific employees will be identified as emergency (“weather essential”) staff; in other instances, certain functions or responsibilities that can be performed by more than one employee in a unit will be so identified and the employees who may potentially perform those functions will be listed. Unit heads are required to inform employees in advance of this determination.

    Each year, unit heads are asked to review and update the list of regular employees and/or essential departmental functions that have been designated as emergency (“weather essential”) staff and submit the list to HRM by the designated deadline at hrdept@ku.edu. Non-exempt employees who have been identified by their unit heads as emergency (“weather essential”) staff are expected to report to their campus worksite in accordance with the supervisor’s instructions.

    Hours reporting for working on-site during inclement weather: When inclement weather has been declared, emergency (“weather essential”) hourly staff shall be eligible for compensatory time on an hour-for-hour basis for time worked during the designated period. Employees who have been designated as emergency (“weather essential”) staff who do not report to work may be considered for disciplinary action.

    Emergency ("weather essential") staff who do not report to work or elect to return home after reporting to work during inclement weather or other emergency conditions may select one of the following options which requires supervisor approval:

    1. Use their accrued discretionary holiday. (Discretionary holiday may only be used for one full day);

    2. Use accrued compensatory time (non-exempt employees only);

    3. Use accrued holiday compensatory time;

    4. Use accrued vacation leave;

    5. Request leave without pay (if no leave available) with departmental approval (non-exempt employees an hour for hour rate or full days only for exempt employees); or

    6. Make up the absent-from-duty hours within the same workweek on an hour-for-hour basis (non-exempt employees only). Plans for make-up time must be approved by the unit in advance. Time not made up within the specified period will be charged to accrued leave or will be leave without pay.

    Employees ("weather essential") staff required to work on-campus and who are unable to report to work shall be charged leave time for the entire period, including the time covered by the declaration of inclement weather. They are expected to notify their units in a timely fashion. Employees on authorized leave, holidays, sick days, or working remotely will not be affected by these emergency procedures and are not eligible for designated inclement weather periods nor may previously authorized leave be adjusted based on the inclement weather declaration.

    Hours reporting when the university is closed: Employees are not expected to report to the campus work-site when the university is closed unless they have been designated as emergency (“weather essential”) staff. Paid inclement weather leave will be granted to regular, non-exempt, non-designated "weather essential" staff with supervisor's approval who work on campus for the time period that the university is closed. Faculty and exempt staff will receive their normal pay and do not need to report any form of leave. Non-designated weather essential employees assigned to an on-site location are to receive supervisor approval to remain working after an inclement weather declaration or to travel to campus after a campus closure has been announced. Further information is available via the Inclement Weather Time Reporting Guidelines

    Employees who report to work on campus but are not designated as emergency ("weather essentail") staff may be sent home. They will be paid at the regular rate for any time spent at work and will be granted inclement leave for the remainder of the day but will not receive any compensatory time.

    Non-exempt emergency (“weather essential”) staff who report to work or remain at work when the university is closed will be granted compensatory time on an hour-for-hour basis for the hours that they work. Exempt emergency (“weather essential”) staff will be paid their normal salaries.

Exclusions or Special Circumstances: 
Individuals working remotely or who have a flexible work schedule that does not require reporting to a campus location on a day inclement weather or a campus closure is declared are (1) not eligible for inclement weather leave and (2) are required to report to work unless leave has been approved by the supervisor in advance. Employees who do not work on a covered campus site are not eligible for inclement weather leave.
Consequences: 
Emergency (“weather essential”) staff who do not report to work or do not remain at work when the university is closed may be subject to disciplinary action.
Contact: 

Office of the Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
Strong Hall
1450 Jayhawk Boulevard, Room 250
Lawrence, KS 66045
785-864-4904
provost@ku.edu

Approved by: 
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
Approved on: 
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Effective on: 
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Review Cycle: 
Annual (As Needed)
Background: 

This policy was originally modelled after an executive order of the Governor of Kansas.

Keywords: 
Inclement weather, campus closing, canceling classes
Change History: 

11/09/2020: Replaced Vice Provost for Finance/CFO with Vice Provost for Operations and replaced Facilities Services with Operations. Updated to clarify inclement weather leave is only applicable to those working on-site at a campus location.
10/21/2019: Changed SVP for Academic Affairs to Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor. 
03/07/2019: Changed VP for Administration and Finance title to Chief Financial Officer and VP for Finance. 
02/07/2018: Removed outdated phone number.
12/12/2017: Updated contact information.
11/04/2015:Fixed broken link.
12/16/2014: Fixed link to Emergencies & Inclement Weather under Related Other (broken due to HRM's website update).
12/05/2014: Policy formatting cleanup (e.g., spacing, bolding).
11/09/2014: Updated Section 1 to reflect current communication practices. Updated link to time reporting guidelines for inclement weather reporting for Time Reviewers in Section 6.
10/15/2014: Policy formatting cleanup (e.g., spacing, bolding).
11/11/2013: Updated to reflect Edwards Campus administrative title changes and changes to hours reporting protocol.
10/26/2012: Updated.
11/28/2011: Updated.
10/27/2010: Updated.
10/30/2009: Updated.
11/24/2008: Updated.
12/05/2007: Approved by the Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor.

Operational Categories: 
Environment
Facilities
Personnel: Affiliates/Volunteers Categories: 
Workplace Rules & Guidelines
Personnel: Faculty/Academic Staff Categories: 
Workplace Rules & Guidelines
Personnel: Staff Categories: 
Workplace Rules & Guidelines
Personnel: Student Employees Categories: 
Workplace Rules & Guidelines

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