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Inclement Weather

I. POLICY STATEMENT

It is the policy of Oklahoma City University to operate in accordance with the approved University Calendar and to maintain full operations unless a specific decision to close is announced by University officials. In the event of inclement weather/emergency conditions, the President has delegated authority to the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs (VPAA), or his or her designee, to close the University.

Decisions to alter the University’s academic or operating schedule for reasons other than weather will be made in response to specific emergency conditions, including local and regional traffic and infrastructure issues. Changes will be communicated to all affected individuals as quickly as possible in accordance with established emergency notification procedures. Decisions regarding schedule changes or closings will be made no later than 5:00 a.m. when possible.

For the sake of clarity and consistency, the downtown location of the OKCU School of Law will follow the same operating schedule during inclement weather/emergency conditions to the extent possible. The Provost or his or her designee, in consultation with the dean of the School of Law, will make determinations regarding a modified operating schedule or full closure for the School of Law. The School of Law is governed by the rules and standards of the American Bar Association regarding attendance and actual class hours. If classes are canceled for any reason, there must be make-up sessions.

Faculty, staff, and students must assume responsibility for their own health and safety, as well as for their class or work responsibilities. While this frequently requires a delicate balance, each individual must be the ultimate arbiter of whether to travel to Oklahoma City University under varying conditions.

II. PROCESS

Decisions to alter University operations and/or the University’s academic or operating schedule are made by the Provost/VPAA or his or her designee, upon the recommendation of the Emergency Operations Policy Group1 as established in the University’s Emergency Operations Plan, the University Risk Manager, and the Chief of Police.

Anticipated Weather Event

When severe weather (e.g., snow, tornado, extreme cold, or extreme heat) is anticipated, the decisions to delay opening or to close the University must be made by 5:00 a.m. when possible to facilitate public notification.

Mid-Day Weather Event

When possible and when safety permits, modifications to class schedules and University operations will be coordinated with the academic schedule. Factors to Consider: The following are factors that will be taken into account when deciding on the alteration of the academic or operational schedule. Due to the complex nature of weather emergencies, decisions should not be limited to this list.

  • Current and future road conditions surrounding Oklahoma City University
  • Current and future closures/suspensions of public transportation
  • Current and future status of regional and University utilities (i.e., power, water, and sewer services)
  • Current and future conditions of roads, parking lots, and walkways on campus

Weather Resources

General weather information, including historical and current data, for Oklahoma County provided by the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration (NOAA) will be consulted, as well as local NOAA forecasts for surrounding counties.

Extreme Temperatures

When the region experiences extreme heat or cold, all outdoor academic or operational activities will be postponed or limited in duration to avoid harmful exposure unless absolutely necessary. Faculty members must notify their students and plan accordingly. Facilities supervisors are responsible for ensuring that employees are properly outfitted for the weather conditions. The University will communicate the danger of extreme temperatures whenever potentially harmful conditions exist.

Non-Weather Related Emergency

In the event of a non-weather related emergency, the decision to modify the University’s academic or operating schedule will be based upon the unique circumstances of the specific emergency.

[1] The Emergency Operations Policy Group includes the President, Provost, Vice President for Student Affairs, Law School Dean, and University General Counsel. [back]

IV. SPECIFIC ALTERATIONS OF UNIVERSITY SCHEDULING

Modified Operating Schedule

One or more University activities are delayed, postponed, cancelled, or released early.

  • Classes, work schedules, outdoor activities, and/or events are delayed, released early, or cancelled.
  • Students, faculty and staff should observe official announcements regarding operating schedules or conditions posted on the University homepage, Blue Alert, OKCU Facebook and Twitter accounts, or local media outlets.
  • Students should observe modified class schedules and continue to monitor email or D2L for additional information or assignments from their instructors or the University.
  • Faculty and Staff are obligated to determine whether their attendance is required, whether telework is acceptable, whether unscheduled leave can be taken, or whether other arrangements should be made.
  • Tenant organizations and private event coordinators must coordinate their activities with the appropriate University staff member(s) to ensure that staffing and facilities are available and must consider the safety of their employees and patrons.
  • Language used to announce a modified operating schedule will be consistent with local media outlet announcements. Examples include: delayed, early dismissal, activities canceled, classes canceled, or open 2 hours late. 

Full Closure

All activities with the exception of facilities and resident student support are cancelled.

  • The University is closed; all nonessential eligible employees receive Inclement Weather Leave.
  • The University is closed; scheduled events and other activities are assumed cancelled or postponed. The dean or vice president of the school or department sponsoring the event or activity will assume responsibility for notifying activity or event participants of the cancellation or postponement in a timely manner.
  • Only designated personnel are required to report to work.
  • The Emergency Operations Center and Emergency Operations Group is activated.
  • Language used to announce a full closure will be consistent with local media outlet announcements. Examples include: closed, essential employees only, closed Thursday, or closing at 3 p.m.

Canceling or Postponing OKCU Sponsored or Hosted Events or Activities

When the University is closed all activities and events are canceled. Only by explicit exception granted by the Provost/VPAA or his or her designee may events or activities occur during a University closing. Decisions about major events, e.g. athletic events or theatrical productions, will be made by the Provost/VPAA or his or her designee in consultation with the event manager. If the Provost/VPAA or his or her designee grants permission for an event or activity to occur during a University closing, it is the responsibility of the sponsoring entity to arrange, through University procedures, for required security, snow/ice removal, or other University services necessary for the event.

If there is a request to host an OKCU sponsored event or activity during the time the University is closed due to inclement weather conditions, several factors will be consider including but not limited to the following:

  • Current and future road conditions surrounding Oklahoma City University
  • Current and future closures/suspensions of public transportation
  • Current and future status of regional and University utilities (i.e., power, water, and sewer services)
  • The ability to properly clear University roads, parking lots, and walkways
  • University resources needed to support the event or activity 

Re-opening

Unless specific announcements extending cancellations are made, classes will resume the next regularly scheduled class day and the University will re-open at the beginning of the next morning shift or regular business day.

V. ACADEMIC SCHEDULE(S)

Faculty members are asked to discuss the University’s Inclement Weather/Emergency Closure Policy with their classes, to make known their own expectations and plans of action, and to review how students will be informed of weather-related/emergency decisions; for example via e-mail, notices on classroom doors, Blue Alert, and University Information (405.208.5871).

In the event hazardous conditions make travel unsafe, even if classes have not been cancelled, teaching faculty will notify department chairpersons when they are unable to conduct classes. Academic departments should make every effort to inform students when an individual faculty member is unable to travel to campus because of travel conditions.

Students who miss scheduled academic activities due to canceled classes or university closings will be allowed to make up missed assignments, examinations, and other related course activities.

In the event the University opens late and the established opening time falls within a scheduled academic class, laboratory, or studio, the class will not meet if less than one-half of the class length remains after the established opening time, e.g., if the University opens at 10am and a class is scheduled to meet from 9:30am to 12 noon, the class would meet and from 10am to 12 noon. If the university opens at 12 noon, and a class is scheduled to meet from 11am to 12:15pm, the class would be cancelled.

Faculty members will make arrangements for students to complete all interrupted academic activities required for the course.

If the University is closed or the opening is delayed during finals week, the following guidelines are in place:

  • On the day of a delayed opening, final exams scheduled to begin prior to the opening will be canceled.
  • If severe weather prevents the administration of a final examination, the student's final course grade will be calculated based on the work in the course completed to that point in time as well as on the faculty member's considered judgment as instructor of record. Final exams will not be rescheduled, and a grade of "I" will not be given as a result of the missed exam.
  • Exams conducted by electronic media are not affected by this policy.

Notice: At any time the University is closed, the Dulaney-Browne Library will also be closed.

Decisions regarding weekend classes will be made using the same procedures as decisions regarding weekday classes.

VI. COMPENSATION

Should the University close for a day(s) due to inclement weather or other emergency, exempt and nonexempt employees will receive up to 8 hours per workday of Inclement Weather Leave for each workday the University is closed not to exceed 80 hours.

A. Essential Employees

Essential employees are expected to report for work on time. Essential employees are employees assigned to positions identified by their departments as necessary to the maintenance of operations and services to the University. Essential employees may be required to work during inclement weather/emergency conditions in order to perform security functions, maintenance, snow/ice removal, or to provide other necessary services. Departments will inform employees that have been designated as “essential” in writing prior to employment or shortly thereafter, or as needed in the case of emergency conditions. Essential employees should report to work under all conditions, unless conditions prohibit safe travel.

Essential employees will vary based on the circumstances of the emergency condition. The following is a non-exhaustive list of essential employees. It is the responsibility of the supervisor of essential employees to notify these employees when their services are required on or off campus during inclement weather or other emergency.

OKCU Police

  • Supervisors
  • Officers
  • Dispatcher

Risk Manager

Plant Operations

  • Skilled Crafts
  • Personnel for snow/ice removal
  • Engineers

Directors of Auxiliary Services

  • Food Services
  • Housekeeping

Communications

  • University Relations Communications Director
  • Web Master

Campus Technology

  • Network Services
  • Administrative Information Services
  • Telecommunications

Student Affairs

  • Intramural and Recreational Sports
  • Residence Life
  • University Center Operations
  • Counseling Services

Financial Accounting Services (emergency purchasing and processing authority)

  • Procurement (selected staff and managers)
  • Controller
  • Budget Officer
  • Student Health Services
  • Payroll

Human Resources

  • Select Human Resources Staff

President’s Cabinet

B. Pay for Nonessential Personnel

Full-time, benefit-eligible staff not required to report to work will receive pay for regularly scheduled work hours missed due to official closing (up to 80 hours) or late opening and will not be required to make up the work time or report such time as annual or other accrued leave.

In the event of a catastrophic event that requires the University to close in excess of 80 work hours, the University may place staff on annual vacation leave or an unpaid leave of absence, if no paid vacation leave is available.

Faculty under contract at the time of an extended closing will continue instruction through alternative means or in alternative locations. If a catastrophic event occurs that results in the interruption of revenue, instruction, and University business for an extended period of time, the Board of Trustees Executive Committee may vote to suspend the terms and conditions of current faculty and administrative employment agreements.

Part-time, term, and student employees will not be paid for non-worked hours. These employees are not required to make up the hours of work missed, but may request the opportunity to do so from their supervisor.

C. Pay for Essential Personnel

Essential personnel will be paid for time worked during the emergency. Non-exempt essential personnel will be paid at 1.5 times their hourly rate of pay for work in excess of 40 hours during that week. Exempt personnel will be paid at their regular rate of pay.

D. Alternate Work Locations

Employees who work in alternate locations not affected by the adverse weather or emergency conditions that require the university to close are expected to work their normal schedule.

VII. NOTIFICATION

When a change in University operating status is determined, the Provost/VPAA or his or her designee will contact the Communications and Marketing Department, the University Police Department, and Campus Technology. Following the Provost/VPAA’s notification, each of these entities/individuals will be responsible for the following:

Communication and Marketing Department

  • Post announcement on OKCU homepage 
  • Send e-mail notification to the campus 
  • Post announcement on University social media sites 
  • Notify local and regional media outlets

University Police Department 

  • Management of campus safety and security 
  • Notification of OCUPD supervisors 
  • Send notification using the Blue Alert (Emergency/Event Notification) system

Campus Technology 

  • Announcement of change in status for university telephone hotline

Facilities Department

The director of facilities is responsible for management of streets, sidewalks, parking, and transit operations during University closings.

Department Notification/Implementation of Plan

The primary information resources for students, employees, and the public regarding the campus’s current open/closed status are:

  • The University’s home page: www.okcu.edu 
  • The University’s Emergency Weather Information Hotline: 405-208-5871 
  • Local media outlets

Deans, department chairs, department heads, and supervisors will ensure that faculty, staff, and students are aware of inclement weather/emergency conditions, and of the manner in which information regarding the canceling of classes and the closing of the University will be communicated. Should conditions warrant, and should a decision be made to remain open during inclement weather or emergency conditions, every attempt will be made to provide a midday update to the University community to advise them of the decision to remain open.

Sanctuary Role of the University

There may be circumstances when it is not safe for an employee or student to leave campus during a declared emergency. Under such conditions, the individual may remain in his or her workplace or other campus facility as directed by the essential personnel managing the emergency. Such employees may be required to assist in managing the situation to the extent their training and ability permits. Nonessential personnel remaining on campus must notify the OKCU Police Department.