As winter nears, with the potential for ice and snow to impact the University’s operating schedule, I write to explain UVA’s decision-making process and the criteria involved in any decision to cancel classes. President Sullivan has delegated to me the authority to make weather-related changes to the University’s academic or Health System schedule. I make these decisions in coordination with EVP-Provost Tom Katsouleas and EVP for Health Affairs Rick Shannon, among others. Life safety is always our top priority.
How do we decide? Before every inclement weather event, a team of University officials closely monitors developing weather conditions and assesses the University’s ability to respond. The team reviews the expected impact on the University’s infrastructure and facilities and the accessibility of parking lots, sidewalks, streets, and Grounds in general. This information plays a key role in a decision to delay or cancel classes. If the University anticipates any change in schedule, we try to announce this decision as early in the morning as possible to give members of our community time to plan.
Even when classes are canceled, many core University services such as patient care, University Police, Facility and IT operations, food services, and access to recreational facilities and libraries continue. Some employees are designated to report to work to provide these services.
How can the UVA community learn about schedule changes?
When the University or Medical Center modifies the academic schedule or health care operations, we communicate this information to our community via email, on our phone hotlines (434-243-7669 or 434-924-7669), and through local media (radio and television). I encourage you to explore the following online resources:
How do employees know their emergency reporting status?
In an effort to ensure that only those employees essential to critical services report to work when UVA has closed or altered its schedule, the University has assigned an emergency event status to all employees: “designated” or “non-designated.”
Designated Academic Division employees should report as directed by their supervisor. Academic Division employees who work in UVAMC or UPG clinics should check with the manager regarding early closure or delayed openings if times are different from the Academic Division. Academic Division employees can check their emergency event status on the University Human Resources site by clicking the “Self Service” tab and selecting “My Information.”
Designated Medical Center employees should refer to HR Policy 510, Emergency Event Declaration. Employees should know their emergency reporting status and understand their responsibilities. If they have any questions, they should talk to their supervisor.
How to communicate school- or department-specific special event changes?
If the University remains open, schools and departments still have discretionary authority to cancel or alter schedules for special events within their area. Please send these changes to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have questions or concerns about decision-making for your special event, contact Director of Safety and Emergency Preparedness Marge Sidebottom at (434) 924-8745 (office) or (434) 964-7912 (mobile).
Although any changes in the operating schedule are based on the best information available, weather is unpredictable. I recognize that our employees come from a wide geographic area where road and weather conditions vary greatly. Many of our students live off Grounds. I ask supervisors and faculty to be flexible in granting leave and consideration to employees and students who feel that it is not safe to travel. We should also be sensitive to employees with childcare or eldercare issues and other such responsibilities.
I welcome your suggestions about how we can improve our handling of weather situations. Thank you for your support.
Patrick D. Hogan
Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
University of Virginia
Post Office Box 400228
Charlottesville, VA 22904-4228