I. Policy Statement

This policy is adopted to support the safety and wellbeing of University of Puget Sound faculty, staff, and students during periods of inclement weather or other emergency events such as heavy snow, ice, severe winds, power outages, or flooding, while also ensuring that essential and critical services are provided to the campus. As a residential college, Puget Sound does not “close” for inclement weather, but occasionally inclement weather necessitates modifications to in-person classes, on-campus services and other aspects of regular operations and work schedules. With due consideration of safety, the university will remain fully operational to the greatest extent possible. 

Any decision regarding university-wide modified operations will be formally announced and certain necessary staff members will be required to report to work on campus to provide essential support for campus residents and provide critical campus services, as described below.

II. Decisions to Modify Campus Operations and/or Classes

Any decision to modify operations will be made via official announcement and governed by concern for the safety of university faculty, staff, and students, and also the ability to perform educational and service functions effectively. Decisions will also be based on the nature and degree of each inclement weather event and timing relative to academic and event calendars.

When classes are in session, any decision affecting in-person classes and on-campus services and operations because of an inclement weather event will be made jointly by the provost and executive vice president and chief financial officer, in consultation with the chief risk management officer, dean of faculty and graduate studies, associate vice president for facilities services, and/or the director of security services and others.

When classes are not in session, the chief risk management officer, associate vice president for facilities services and/or the director of security services will recommend changes, if any, to the executive vice president and chief financial officer. The dean of faculty and graduate studies will be notified of these changes.

During periods of modified operations due to inclement weather, certain necessary staff members are needed on campus to provide essential support for campus residents and provide critical campus services. Department heads, in consultation with the provost or area vice president, will determine on-campus staffing requirements during modified operations.

III. Implementation

When inclement weather leads to a decision not to hold in-person classes, certain offices must maintain an appropriate level of on-campus operations to provide essential support for resident students and provide critical campus services, including Security Services; Dining and Conference Services; Dean of Students; Library; Technology Services; Residential Life; Counseling, Health, and Wellness Services; Fitness Center; critical Academic support and Facilities Services. Other student support and administrative offices will operate remotely to the extent feasible. 

If a determination is made not to hold in-person classes, faculty have the option of holding an online class sessions for their in-person course. Class sessions for online courses may be cancelled at the faculty member’s discretion. Faculty are responsible for notifying their students that an in-person class will be taught online or that an online class will not be held.  

Department heads, in consultation with the provost or applicable vice president, shall identify the services to be offered remotely during modified operations and those to be provided in-person on campus. This includes determining which staff are authorized to work remotely and which staff are needed on campus based on the academic schedule, special events, time of year, day of the week, and nature of the inclement weather circumstances.

Department heads must have a plan to respond to modified university operations and must promptly inform faculty and staff in their department of actions to take during such circumstances. The department plan should take into consideration whether students are in residence or when students are not in residence. The plan should include emergency notification procedures (including emergency contact email and phone numbers) to enable department heads and/or supervisors to immediately notify all of their staff members regarding on-campus or remote modified work assignments.

IV. Announcements

When a decision about modified operations is made during regular business hours, the university will make an announcement, typically via electronic mail, the university home page and/or other available means.  When a decision is made outside of regular business hours, Security Services will notify the Office of Communications, which will post the announcement on the university's home page. This decision and announcement are typically made between 4:30 p.m. and 5:30 a.m. Although the university's home page is the most reliable source of information, Security Services will also create a recorded message on the university’s emergency voice message on the number 253.879.4900 and will notify a provider of emergency communication services that collects and distributes weather-related operating modifications to local radio and television stations. The university's home page should be consulted first if at all possible; radio and television station announcements may not include the most timely and relevant information. In some cases the university might also utilize its emergency mass notification system (to campus member cell phones, text message, and/or other personal contact methods).

Calls to Security Services should be of an emergency nature only. Security staff will not know whether particular staff in other departments are to report for work.

Returning to the regular campus schedule will occur at the earliest opportunity. No announcement means regular operations.

V. Safety, Discretion, and Judgment by Faculty, Staff, and Students

During inclement weather, faculty, staff, and students should evaluate their own circumstances carefully, exercise appropriate judgment, and take responsibility for their safety.  Depending on where campus members live, weather and conditions could vary widely and may be subject to sudden change.

The decision to not alter the university daily schedule during an inclement weather event is based on weather conditions affecting the campus directly, which may be quite different from weather conditions in other geographical areas. The university is not responsible for the consequences of a personal decision to come to campus to work in inclement weather.

VI. Compensation

Compensation practices for periods of modified operations will be determined by the chief Human Resources officer and the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer and will depend on the nature of the event.

VII. Effective Date

This policy is effective February 10, 2021 and supersedes previous inclement weather guidance or statements.


Policy Owner: Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer and Provost
Date Adopted: February 10, 2021