Inclement weather policy

 

Jefferson Community and Technical College Inclement Weather Plan

This plan outlines Jefferson Community and Technical College’s actions in response to a weather emergency. It is the policy of the College to remain open at all possible times in order to maintain our commitment to providing service to our students. In the event of severe or inclement weather, however, the College reserves the right to interrupt or reduce services in such a way as to limit negative impact for sustained periods of time. This plan reflects the high value that Jefferson places on its faculty, staff, and students by ensuring the safety of the Jefferson community. The plan is reviewed annually and distributed to the college community. It can also be found on the college web site. In order for this plan to be successful, all employees need to have a basic understanding of its logistics and goals.

The decision to open, close, or delay is made due to either existing weather conditions or those which are forecasted. These decisions may, at times, be perplexing to some persons depending on the type of road they must travel to arrive on campus and the varying weather conditions throughout the city. Unfortunately, no decision can take into account the particular conditions in each locale from which students and employees are traveling. Each student and employee must make an individual decision with safety foremost in mind. If the campus is open but employees decide it is not safe for them to travel, they must inform their supervisor of the decision. If students decide it is not safe for them to travel, they must inform professors of that decision and, with faculty approval, arrange for make-up work if necessary. Professors and supervisors, in turn, should expect individuals to make responsible judgments about their personal safety, and they should be as flexible as possible in accommodating their students’ or employees’ reasonable decisions. Individual faculty members who cannot reach campus safely may need to cancel class when the College is open; they are responsible for notifying their students of this decision.

A determination to remain open does not guarantee all walkways or lots will be plowed, but it does indicate the majority are considered clear.

A Weather-related Emergency is defined as severe or inclement weather that has the potential to disrupt the normal operation and /or activities of the College. Examples include snow, ice, severe cold, or flooding.

The Weather Emergency Team is comprised of college employees who are responsible for coordination and implementation of the emergency plan. It is comprised of the Vice President of Administration/Chief Financial Officer, Associate Dean of Business Affairs, Grounds Supervisor, Facilities Supervisor, Director of Marketing and Public Relations, Chief Information Technology Officer, and Director of Campus Safety.

Emergency Personnel are college employees identified by their divisional vice president or supervisor as providing essential campus services during a weather emergency.

Response Categories

If inclement weather occurs and has the potential to disrupt normal college operations, one of three responses will be implemented as appropriate.

  • Delayed Opening
    • When the college announces a delayed schedule, students, faculty and staff are given a time to report to the College. For example, if it announced that “Jefferson Community and Technical College will open today at 10 a.m.,” students, faculty, and staff should simply report to the class or workstation where they would ordinarily be at 10 a.m. for that day and subsequently follow the regular class or work schedule for the rest of the day. It is possible that a class may only have minutes left to meet, faculty and students should report to that class anyway. Emergency personnel report to work at the regular time or earlier depending on campus needs.
  • College Closed
    • All classes are canceled and administrative offices closed during the specified time. Emergency personnel are to report to work at their regular work times unless previously notified of an earlier or later time by their supervisor. Nonemergency personnel need not report to work.
  • Classes Canceled
    • At times, the college may remain open, but classes will be canceled. Staff report to work at regular times. Faculty teaching classes during the affected times need not report to work. A decision will be made as soon as possible if inclement weather during the day dictates the cancellation of evening block classes.

Note: Closing and delayed schedules can vary by campus.

The College makes weather-related decisions based on road and campus conditions, with consideration of classes, clinicals, and other campus events. Jefferson’s decisions are in no way influenced by those of other colleges or local school systems. The College may be open when Jefferson County Public Schools and other school districts are closed.

  • Public Events
    • A decision to cancel a previously scheduled public event on a Jefferson campus will be made by the event sponsor in conjunction with the Vice President of Administration or the Associate Dean for Business Affairs. They will determine whether the campus buildings can be safely utilized, whether sidewalks and parking lots can be cleared to allow for safe passage of the public, and whether predicted weather conditions are acceptable. Non-emergency personnel who have not reported to work due to the closing are not expected to come to campus to provide services for a public event that is not canceled.
  • Taking Leave Due to Weather Conditions
    • If a non-emergency employees feel that weather conditions require them to remain at home or leave campus early for their personal safety when the College is open, they have the option to request accrued leave for that purpose. Employees choosing to do so must notify their supervisors as soon as possible.
  • Weather Emergency Team Meetings
    • The Weather Emergency Team will meet during normal business hours if severe weather is forecast to begin within the next 24-48 hours. The team will be briefed on the latest forecast, review emergency procedures, and discuss departmental action should the predicted weather occur. These employees will be on "standby" and available by phone during the time preceding the predicted weather event.
    • The Weather Emergency Team will maintain frequent communication with each other throughout the weather related emergency in order to ensure essential services are being provided and to determine if additional actions are needed.

Early Morning Weather Emergency - Implementation of Response

  1. Weather Monitoring
    • The campus safety officer(s) working the evening shifts will monitor weather conditions, forecasts by the National Weather Service, and road and campus conditions throughout the night.
      - Should inclement weather occur, the on-duty officer will notify the grounds supervisor no later than 11:00 pm.
  2. The facilities supervisor and grounds supervisor will mobilize physical plant staff to begin clearing sidewalks and parking lots of snow or ice, spread ice melt, and perform other associated precautionary tasks. This will be done regardless of which response category is activated. The grounds supervisor will communicate with the Vice President of Administration or the Associate Dean of Business Affairs regarding the condition of roads and parking lots by 4 a.m. Facilities supervisors will report sidewalk and campus conditions by 6 a.m.
  3. The extended campuses will brief the Vice President or Associate Dean on the conditions at extended campuses at approximately 4:45 a.m. Using their input and other information about current weather, road, and campus conditions as well as short and long-range forecasts, the Vice President or Associate Dean will to determine the College’s response options.
  4. Decision Making
    • The authority for implementing an emergency response category rests with the Vice President of Administration.
    • A decision to implement a response category should be made by 5:00 a.m.
    • However, sudden or untimely conditions may result in a later notification.
  5. Notification
    • When a response category is implemented, notification will be as follows:
      • The Vice President of Administration or the Associate Dean of Business Affairs will notify the President, the Director of Marketing and Public Relations, the Chief Information Technology Officer, campus safety, and extended campuses.
      • The Director of Marketing and Public Relations will:
      • The Chief Information Technology Officer or Technology Solutions will:
        • Send SNAP alerts
        • Take the locking system offline
        • Update the web page
        • Update the main automated attendant
      • The grounds and facilities managers will be responsible for coordinating snow and ice removal accordingly.
    • Employees and students can receive notification via email and SNAP alerts, through the campus phone system, or by visiting the College’s website or social media platforms. Local media are only a redundancy option and should not be considered a primary point of contact, although the Director of Marketing and Public Relations will notify local media of the decision.

Please use your own judgment as to whether you should travel during inclement weather.

The most accurate closing and delay information is available from the following sources:

News media are given the information, but some stations cannot report details, such as the time of day classes will begin. If you hear about a delayed schedule, it is best to double check one of the college's official sources.

*In the absence of any broadcasts about Jefferson Community and Technical College, employees and students should assume the college is operating on a normal schedule.*

Other sources of weather related information:

General Criteria for Response Categories

  • Delayed Opening - AM
    • The weather and road conditions are such that the majority of the commuter students and faculty / staff would have difficulty arriving by 8:00 a.m., but improving road and campus conditions indicate that arrival at campus to open and begin classes at 10:00 am is feasible.
    • This response would be typically used when early morning (6 -8 a.m.) weather conditions make traveling on primary roads hazardous, but rising temperatures (above 32 degrees) and improved conditions are expected by midmorning.
    • A 1-3 inch snowfall with mild temperatures and no ice or sleet may fall into this category.
  • College Closed
    • This response would be typically used when early morning weather conditions make traveling on primary and secondary highways extremely hazardous and conditions are predicted to remain the same or deteriorate throughout the day.
    • Another factor is that local Law Enforcement Agencies are advising people to stay off the highways or there is a likelihood of interrupted utility (gas, electric, water) service to the campus.
    • This response should be considered if faculty, non-emergency staff, and students commuting to campus might become stranded, or travel home would be hazardous.
    • Campus conditions are such that the grounds and facilities department is unable to maintain safe conditions for parking lots and sidewalks.
    • Typical conditions for closure would be heavy snow, ice, or freezing rain preceding or following an ice storm, bitter cold temperatures making being outside for extended periods unsafe, or high wind warnings making wind chills dangerously low and walking across campus hazardous.
  • Classes Canceled
    • This category is for specific situations.
    • An example would be that day classes are held, but due to severe weather conditions developing throughout the day, night classes cannot be held.

All parties are encouraged to verify that their information in People Soft is correct.

  • Students would automatically get:
    • Home Phone (Voice)
    • Home Email
    • Mobile (SMS)
    • School email
  • Employees would automatically get:
    • Home Email
    • Mobile (SMS)
    • School Email
    • Notification to their college phone and computer if that notification is sent.

Tips for Driving in Severe Weather/Emergency Conditions

  • Avoid low-lying areas and underpasses. • Know safe alternate route, between home and work.
  • Beware of downed power lines and debris.
  • Do not cross flooded roads. You can be stranded even in shallow water.
  • Do not enter areas that are posted or blocked with emergency signage.
  • If you must evacuate, disconnect electrical equipment if it is safe to do so.
  • Take your keys and valuables.
  • Drive slowly and cautiously.
  • Be careful of "black" ice on roadways.
  • Clean debris, snow and/or ice off car windows, bumpers, and roof before driving.

Please use your own judgment as to whether you should travel during inclement weather.