Emergency Cancellations and Delays Policy
Classes will be cancelled or delayed only under extreme circumstances, such as severely inclement weather or other emergency situations. Students, faculty and staff have the ability to have emergency notifications sent to their cell phone. For instructions, see below.
In a situation where there is inclement weather, but classes are in session and offices are open, individuals (commuting students and faculty/staff) must use their best judgment as to whether or not they feel comfortable traveling on the roadways. In these circumstances, it is up to the individual to decide whether or not to travel to class and (because it only rarely occurs) most professors are understanding of absences due to weather. The College asks that students and staff make an effort to notify professors/supervisors of their planned absence and, for employees, their intention to use their leave credits as appropriate.
Delay or Cancellation of Classes or Other Campus Activities
The decision to delay or cancel classes is a collaborative process that involves the Facilities Operations and Management Departments, the president, and the provost.
The decision to delay or cancel campus activities will be made as early as possible (usually by 6 a.m.) for any day that is affected by severe weather. For inclement weather during the afternoon and evening, a decision will be made and announced by noon for afternoon classes and 2 p.m. for evening classes. There are a number of factors that are considered in this process, including the forecast from the National Weather Service, inclement weather in the immediate vicinity of the campus, local road conditions, and the ability to properly clear campus walkways and parking lots. When classes are delayed, all classes on the affected day that begin before the delayed opening time will be cancelled.
During and after a significant snow storm, major arterial roads, walks and entrance ways, especially the ones that connect critical service areas such as University Police, the Health Center, the physical plant and food service will have high priority for snow removal. Access to residence halls, academic buildings, dining halls are also usually given priority based on the type of storm and the time of day. Priority is also given to ADA walkways as directed by the Disability Resource Center. Secondary paths are given lower priority and are addressed as resources allow.
The College must consider the number of State-mandated contact hours necessary to earn academic credits.
Closing of Campus Buildings or Offices
Early departures or late arrivals due to weather cannot be excused without charge to leave credits and the president of SUNY New Paltz is not authorized to close state offices under such conditions.
State offices may be closed due to weather conditions only by order of the Governor.
Because we are a state university, we follow state policies* regarding office closings. SUNY New Paltz’s president is authorized to suspend campus activities, but can only give non-teaching professional staff or classified civil service personnel time off without charge to leave credits in very limited circumstances. This would include if the governor takes action to close our campus or, pursuant to contract provisions, if there is an approved early departure. In these limited cases, employees may not be required to charge leave credits for related absences. However, an announcement that classes are cancelled or delayed does not mean that campus offices or buildings are closed. “Essential state employees” are expected to report to work and, unless there is an announcement that the governor has closed the campus, “non-essential” state employees may report to work or request approval to charge leave credits. Unless closed by the governor, offices should remain open for those employees who are able to report to work. Thus, supervisors are urged to take advance steps to develop procedures for employees, such as establishing a staff telephone notification procedure, to ensure proper communication between supervisors and staff.
Employees are designated as “essential” if they are employed in positions that must be staffed to preserve the public safety or welfare of the campus community. If you are uncertain about which category of employee you are (essential or non-essential), contact your supervisor for clarification.
There is no exact science to predicting the weather. The conditions that each storm brings are unique. Some are more challenging than others to manage. We understand that it can be inconvenient at times for people's schedules. Ultimately, individuals should use their own best judgment in making decisions related to winter weather and travel.
Procedure for Communicating Office Status to Students, Staff and Visitors during Inclement Weather
During inclement weather, the campus will often cancel classes, but offices remain open. This is because state agencies are not allowed to close without the governor’s approval. However, at those times we also typically announce that non-essential staff may leave with supervisory approval (if they charge appropriate leave credits). It is common that many offices will be understaffed because all staff members in that unit have opted to go home for personal safety reasons.
Because we are a residential campus and students, staff and visitors who remain on campus are expecting offices to be open, we want to make them aware BEFORE they venture out in inclement weather to an office that had to close.
If your office is closing, please follow these steps:
- Each department head (or his/her designee) must report to their VP or Dean for approval in the decision to close their office and indicate the time it will close.
- VPs/Deans/Department Heads or designee should visit http://www.newpaltz.edu/officeclosings.
- Click Submit/Update Office Closings and log in.
- Select office to be updated.
- Add date office will be closed.
- Optional notes can be added (i.e. Office of Student Affairs to close after 2 p.m.)
- Click Submit.
- Listing will disappear after applicable date.
- When the Office of Communication & Marketing announces the College is canceling classes via all-fs/ all-stu messages, Communication & Marketing will include in that e-mail, and on the website home page, a link to a separate Web page (www.newpaltz.edu/officeclosings) where the status of department offices will be posted.
Below is a list of radio and television stations you can tune in to for announcements regarding cancellations and delays. A message will be recorded on the 257-INFO (4636) hot line and posted on the website.
LIST OF RADIO & TELEVISION STATIONS NOTIFIED FOR DELAYS & CANCELLATIONS
NOTE: These radio and television stations provide delay and cancellation announcements as a public service. The SUNY New Paltz website, NP Alert, the INFO line (257-INFO) and all-fs and all-stu messages are the official communication for the College and supersede any other available public information.
Radio - AM
Radio - FM
Note: Many of these stations will post delay/cancellation information on their websites as well.
HAVE DELAYS, CANCELLATIONS AND OTHER EMERGENCY NOTIFICATIONS SENT TO YOUR CELL, OFFICE AND/OR HOME PHONE:
The Office of Communication & Marketing offers an emergency alert system – NPAlert – as a part of its fully integrated and coordinated notification system. Faculty and staff may sign up to receive a phone call, text message, and/or e-mail in the event of a delay or cancellation due to inclement weather or on-campus emergency. This service augments the other communications tools used to convey urgent messages. (Standard text messaging rates apply for text messages received.)
If you are interested in signing up for this service, visit the NP Alert Web site for more information.
NOTE: If there is a campus-related event that needs to be delayed or cancelled, the Office of Communication & Marketing needs to be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible and that information will be put on the web and the INFO line.