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Wednesday, Oct 22, 2014

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OHIO Safe and Secure: Inclement winter weather


The brightly colored leaves falling from the trees around Ohio University's campuses serve as a reminder that winter is not far behind. With the change in seasons comes potentially nasty winter weather.

Here's what you need to know to be safe and secure in events of emergency winter weather on campus:

When is the University closed?

According to University policy 40.051, only the president or his designee can declare the main campus, regional campuses, or regional teaching sites of Ohio University closed. Regional campus deans may have this authority delegated to them. Additionally, it is up to the president to declare a closure and end shifts early. The only exception to a presidentially declared closure is a level III snow emergency declared by the county sheriff. A level III emergency, according to the Athens County sheriff's website, means "all roadways are closed to non-emergency personnel. No one should be out during these conditions unless it is absolutely necessary to travel. All employees should contact their employer to see if they should report to work. Those traveling on the roadways may subject themselves to arrest." Often, sheriff's departments will post snow emergency levels on their websites and distribute the information to local media.

What counts as an emergency?

An emergency is defined by University policy as "a period when the University must suspend normal operations due to an "act of God" or other unforeseen circumstance." Weather is not considered an excused absence if OHIO continues to operate as usual. Employees who are unable to get to work due to weather will be required to use personal or sick leave to cover their absence.

Who must report to work even during a level III snow emergency?

The University never truly ceases in operation during inclement weather or other emergencies. For example, residence halls and dining facilities must continue to operate even in emergency situations. With this in mind, certain employees are designated by their department heads or supervisors as essential personnel and are expected to report to work. Employees are encouraged to discuss with their managers if they are essential personnel in advance of a weather emergency.

How will I know if the University is closed?

If inclement winter weather forces the University to close, the information will be posted on OHIO's Alert page. The same information will be posted to Compass and department heads and managers will circulate the news to their staff. In some cases, notifications may be sent through text and email messages. To make sure your contact information is up to date in the emergency notification system, visit http://www.ohio.edu/riskandsafety/emergencyprograms/notification_system/.