Section: Personnel
Policy Number: 4-23
Policy Name: Extreme Weather Conditions/Power Outages
Date: 1997
Revisions: October 9, 2001; January 10, 2003


    It is the policy of the University of Delaware to remain open except under the most extreme weather conditions. The decision to excuse or dismiss employees from work due to extreme weather conditions rests with the Vice President for Administration in consultation with the President. (In the absence of the Vice President for Administration, the Executive Vice President shall assume this responsibility.) Unit supervisors are not authorized to make such decisions individually, except as noted below and with the consent of the Vice President.

    1. Cancellation of Classes

      1. Notification

        It will be the responsibility of the Vice President for Administration to issue appropriate public announcements to the media through the Office of Public Relations regarding cancellation of classes. Decisions made during normal work hours will be communicated by the Vice President for Administration to other Vice Presidents who will notify their respective units. During "off" hours, efforts will be made to contact other Vice Presidents.

        With regard to Continuing Education classes, it will be the responsibility of the Associate Provost for Continuing and Distance Education, in consultation with the Vice President for Administration and appropriate area supervisors, to determine what action will be taken. The Associate Provost for Continuing and Distance Education will be responsible for contacting broadcast media to announce cancellation of evening and/or weekend classes.

        Decisions regarding the Parallel Program will be made by the appropriate campus (branch) of Delaware Technical and Community College.

        Decisions regarding all other University operations in Kent and Sussex Counties, including the designation of essential personnel, will be made by the appropriate Deans, in consultation with the Vice President for Administration. These Deans or their designates will be responsible for contacting broadcast media in Kent and Sussex Counties to announce closing and cancellations affecting Kent and Sussex facilities.

      2. Personal Safety Considerations, Faculty & Students

        Faculty and students are not expected to take unnecessary risks to meet their teaching and learning obligations due to inclement weather. When classes have not been canceled, it is a matter of personal judgment whether traveling to campus is hazardous. Faculty should notify their departmental offices when weather precludes them from meeting their teaching obligations; similarly, students should notify their professors when inclement weather precludes them from class attendance. In such cases, students should be allowed to make up missed class time and, whenever possible, canceled classes should be rescheduled.

    2. Designated Essential Personnel

      Since several thousand students live in campus residence halls, support operations directly involved with maintaining the health and safety of those students are considered essential. These essential support operations include University Dining Services, Facilities Management, Housing and Conference Facilities, Student Health Services, and Public Safety. Morris Library, because of high demand for services during extreme weather, and Information Technologies, because of the need to operate continually, is considered an essential operation. It is the responsibility of the directors of these respective units to designate essential personnel required to report for work and to notify such persons. It is also the responsibility of these directors to develop appropriate reporting and work assignment procedures for essential personnel. These procedures must be communicated to the Vice President for Administration so that this information can be included in public announcements.

    3. Compensation Policy

      When a decision is made to close the University or individual units as specified in I-A, the following will apply:

      1. When a decision is made to delay the start of the work day or dismiss before the close of the work day, employees who have not been designated essential will be compensated at their regular pay regardless of time lost. Employees who have committed to annual leave, sick leave, or time off without pay, prior to announcement of closure or delayed opening, will be charged for the time accordingly, regardless of the University's status.

      2. Salaried and hourly employees designated as essential and who are thus required to report to work or to remain at work during extreme weather conditions will be compensated at double-time rates until the emergency is declared over by the Vice President for Administration or the appropriate administrative officer. Only those employees who report for work and remain in a work status until excused will be eligible for double-time pay. Those deemed essential who do not report to work because of their personal concern with the weather, must take annual leave or leave without pay, whichever is appropriate.

      3. The cancellation of classes and/or the closing of offices do not constitute an emergency situation for premium pay unless designated as such by the Vice President of Administration.

    4. Employee Personal Safety Precautions

      1. The University does not expect employees to take unnecessary risks to report to or remain at work. In cases where an employee decides, due to personal circumstances, that it is best not to report or to leave early because of adverse weather conditions and where the University has not issued a closing, late opening or early dismissal, the employee is expected to take annual leave or leave without pay, whichever is appropriate.

      2. Power Outages - If the employee deems his/her work environment to be unsafe during a power outage they may leave after consulting with their supervisor regarding the duration of the outage. All provisions in Section D.1 are otherwise applicable.


    The following procedures will be employed where there is a likelihood of extreme weather conditions in the State of Delaware or adjacent areas.

    1. Telephone Services will be responsible for disseminating information regarding closing and/or cancellation for faculty, staff, students and the public.

    2. The Department of Public Safety's Communications Center will be responsible for obtaining information regarding extreme weather conditions or travelers warnings.

      • Upon receipt of information concerning extreme weather conditions or other emergency situations, the Director of Public Safety or his designee will immediately inform the Vice President for Administration.

      • The Office of Public Relations and/or administrative units specified in I-A, in consultation with the Vice President for Administration, shall provide announcements of closings or other changes in University operations to broadcast media serving the State of Delaware and neighboring counties. These stations will be asked to announce such changes during scheduled weather reports.

      • A list of specific stations is available from the Office of Communications and Marketing

Submitted By: Labor Relations