Roanoke College

Inclement Weather Plan

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This plan outlines college action in response to a weather emergency. It is reviewed annually and distributed to the college community. The plan can be found on the college web site. All employees should develop a basic understanding of this plan.

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. The listed employees or their appointed designee are members of the team. Director of Campus Safety, Assoc. Dean /Registrar, Assoc. Dean for Student Affairs, Manager of Plant Operations, Director of Auxiliary Services, Director of Public Relations, Housekeeping Manager, Vice President for Information Technology and the Vice President / Dean of the College.

Emergency Personnel are college personnel identified by their Divisional Vice President or supervisor as providing essential campus services during a weather emergency (see page 5).

Response Categories

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

  1. Delayed Opening - Administrative offices will open and classes begin at 9:30 a.m. and will follow the Delayed Schedule on page 6. Emergency personnel report to work at regular times. The Dining Commons opens at 8:30 am.
  2. Half Day Delayed Opening - Administrative offices will open at 1:00 p.m. Classes begin with Block 5 at 1:10 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and with Block 11 at 1:10 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursdays. Emergency personnel report to work at regular times. The Dining Commons opens at 10:30 am.
  3. 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. Non-emergency personnel need not report to work. Dining Commons opens at 10:30 am.
  4. Classes Canceled - A decision will be made by 3:00 PM if inclement weather during the day dictates the cancellation of evening block classes. Staff report to work at regular times. Faculty teaching classes during the affected times need not report to work.

Public Events
Normally all public events will be cancelled. A decision not to cancel a previously scheduled public event will be made by the event sponsor in conjunction with the Directors of Campus Safety and Manager of Physical Plant. They will determine whether the campus building can be safely utilized, sidewalks and parking lots can be cleared to allow for safe passage of the public, and predicted weather conditions are acceptable. Providing essential services to residential students takes priority over service for a public event. 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 cancelled.

Events catered by the college Dinning Services are canceled when the college is closed.

Note: Olin Hall preparatory classes are canceled, when Salem City schools are closed.

Special Note for Employees
If a non-emergency employee feels that weather conditions require them to remain at home or leave campus early for their personal safety when the college is open, the employee has the option to use accrued vacation or personal leave for that purpose (see section 4.7 of the Staff Handbook). Such staff must notify their supervisor as soon as possible that they will be late or not be reporting to work.

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 personnel will be on "standby" and available by phone or pager during the time preceding the predicted weather. The latest forecast may be obtained from the Campus Safety Office where a National Weather Service emergency radio is located. There is also access to weather information and forecast maps via the internet and television. The Director of Campus Safety will send periodic forecast updates via email to team members.

Early Morning Weather Emergency - Implementation of Response

  1. Weather Monitoring-The Campus Safety Officer(s) working the evening and midnight shifts will monitor weather conditions, forecasts by the National Weather Service, and road and campus conditions throughout the night. Should inclement weather occur the duty officer will notify the Director of Campus Safety no later than 4:45 am.
  2. The Manager of Plant Operations and Manager of Grounds 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 Physical Plant will contact the Campus Safety Office at 5:30 a.m. to check on the status of school opening.
  3. The Director of Campus Safety will contact the Vice President / Dean at approximately 5:15 a.m. and will brief the Dean of the current weather, road and campus conditions, short and long range forecast, pertinent area college or school closings, and discuss the college response options.
  4. Decision Making -The authority for implementing an emergency response category rests with the Vice President / Dean of the College. Should the Dean be unavailable, the progression of decision-making will be as follows: Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Vice President of Business Affairs, and Vice President of Student Affairs. A decision to implement a response category must be made by 5:30 AM.
  5. Notification - When a response category is implemented, notification will be as follows (see page 4 also).
    • The Director of Campus Safety will notify the Director of Public Relations, the Campus Switchboard, the CS Duty Officer of the decision.
    • The Director of Public Relations will:
      Notify local media
      Record a closing or delay message on the college voice mail
      Notify the Internet Communications Manager
    • The Internet Communications manager will:
      Post pre-written notifications on the college Website under News Center
      Post any additional information related to the announcement as needed (i.e. on the emergency page located at www.roanoke.edu/emergency)
    • The Director of Campus Safety will:
      Activate the Maroon Alerts System for closings and delays.
      Send a campus e-mail message by use of the RC Portal Notification System.
    • The Managers of Physical Plant and Grounds Departments will be responsible for checking Maroon Alerts or contacting the Campus Safety Office after 5:30 AM to check on the college opening status and coordinate snow and ice removal accordingly. Employees and students seeking information need to check local broadcast media and media websites, check their e-mail, the college web page, or campus voice mail (see # 6).
  6. Information - about the status of Roanoke College can be obtained from:

The communications room at Campus Safety is the "clearing house" for information about the status of the college. Should events on campus be canceled or postponed, the operator needs to be advised as soon as possible in order that questions from callers can be answered appropriately. Call 375-2500. Sponsoring departments should use the college "e-mail" network as appropriate to disseminate information to the campus community about the status of specific events.

Other sources of weather related information:

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

  • 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 Action Plan Communications and Information Flow Chart

General Criteria for Response Categories

Delayed Opening - 9:30 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 9:30 am is feasible. This response would be typically used when early morning (6 am-8 am) weather conditions make traveling on the primary highways hazardous but predicted 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 would fall into this category.

Half Day Delayed Opening - 1:00 PM
Weather and road conditions are such that a large number of commuter students and faculty / staff would be unable to arrive at the campus by early morning; however, they could be expected to arrive without difficulty by 1:00 p.m. Campus conditions are such that Physical Plant would need until noon to get the campus cleared. This response would be used when early morning weather conditions make traveling on the primary and secondary highways hazardous. Rising temperatures (above 32 degrees) and improved conditions are expected by late morning or early afternoon. A 4-6 inch snowfall with moderate temperatures would fall into this category. Early morning sleet or ice that is expected to melt by late morning or early afternoon would be included.

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 Physical Plant is unable to maintain safe conditions for parking lots and sidewalks. Typical conditions when closing the college would be considered are: subfreezing temperatures throughout a storm, blizzard conditions, heavy snow of 6 or more inches, ice or freezing rain preceding or following a snow storm, an ice storm, bitter cold temperatures where being outside for extended periods would be unsafe, or high wind warnings making wind chill factors 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. It can also be used for situations where conditions in the Roanoke Valley are not severe enough to close the college but severe conditions in other parts of the country are causing ground and air travel to be delayed preventing a significant number of students from returning to campus after a break period.

Roanoke College Emergency Personnel

Information Technology and Public Relations Division

a. Director of Public Relations
b. Telecommunications Coordinator

Business Affairs Division

a. Manager of Plant Operations
b. Manager of Grounds
c. Manager of Housekeeping
d. Maintenance and Grounds Hourly Personnel
e. Lead Housekeeper
f. Director of Dining and Auxiliary Services
g. Dining Services Managers
h. Dining Services Hourly Personnel
i. Catering Staff (2) (As needed for special events not cancelled)

Student Affairs Division

a. Campus Safety Department-All Personnel
b. Associate Dean for Student Affairs
c. Assistant Dean - Residence Life
d. Area Coordinators (Residence Life)
e. Director of Student Health Center (or designee)

Delayed Class Schedules 2007-2008

Regular Delayed Schedule - 9:30 AM Opening
Half Day Delayed Schedule - 1:00 PM Opening

Dining Commons Hours

Delayed Opening at 9:30 - Commons opens at 8:30 am
Delayed Opening at 1 PM or Closed - Commons opens at 10:30 am

Fintel Library Inclement Weather Hours

If night classes are cancelled Fintel Library will close at 10:00 pm