Office of Emergency Management

Emergency Cancellations and Delays Policy
Situation Normal

Classes are in session and offices are open.

In-person 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, commuting students, faculty and staff must use their best judgment as to whether they feel comfortable traveling on the roadways. In these circumstances, it is up to the individual to decide whether to travel to campus. Because these circumstances occur only rarely, most professors are understanding of absences due to weather.

Faculty have the option to hold class meetings remotely in the event that in-person classes are cancelled. If they do meet remotely, they will not have to use makeup days later in the semester. This decision will be left to the discretion of the faculty member.

The College asks that students make an effort to notify professors of their planned absence, and that faculty communicate their plans to their students.

The College asks that employees make an effort to notify supervisors of their planned absence and their intention to use leave credits, as appropriate. If the employee can perform their work from home in accordance with SUNY’s telecommuting policy, then they do not need to charge accruals.

When the College makes the decision to delay or cancel in-person classes due to severely inclement weather or other emergency situations, this does not apply to online classes. However, a faculty member teaching an online course from a physical classroom on campus will have the discretion to cancel the class.  

Online class meetings will take place as originally scheduled unless otherwise noted. Faculty members who are unable to host online class meetings as scheduled are encouraged to notify students as quickly as possible upon making that determination.

 

Delay or Cancellation of In-Person Classes or Other On-Campus Activities

The decision to delay or cancel in-person classes is a collaborative process that involves Facilities Operations & Management, the president, and the provost.

There are many 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 in-person classes are delayed, all in-person classes on the affected day that begin before the delayed opening time will be cancelled. For example, if classes are delayed until 11 a.m., any classes scheduled to meet prior to 11 a.m. will be cancelled.

When in-person classes are cancelled or delayed, Facilities staff may not be able to keep up with snowfall or ice conditions to ensure all campus roadways and sidewalks are safe. Organizers of campus events should be aware of these conditions. It may be prudent for event organizers to cancel or postpone their events during severe weather. It is the responsibility of the event organizers to inform the campus community and any off-campus participants about any cancellation or postponement.

During and after a significant snowstorm, the College will prioritize major arterial roads for snow removal. This includes high-traffic walks and entrance ways, especially the ones that connect critical service areas such as University Police, the Health Center, the physical plant, residence halls, academic buildings and food service. 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.

When the College indicates that offices will open at 9:15 or 10:45 a.m., this means the campus is not ready for faculty, staff or commuter arrival. We need time for our essential employees to prepare campus roadways, parking lots and sidewalks. Thank you in advance for your cooperation. If you have questions about delayed office openings, please contact Human Resources at x3171.

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.

 

How We Communicate Delays and Cancellations

When the decision has been made to delay or cancel classes and/or delay office openings, the Office of Communication & Marketing will take the following steps to inform our community of that decision:

  • Send an email announcement to all students, faculty and staff via their @newpaltz.edu addresses
  • Send a text message (SMS) announcement to all students, faculty and staff via the NPAlert emergency communications system
  • Update the campus homepage (newpaltz.edu)
  • Record a message on the INFO phone line at (845) 257-INFO (4636)

These communications are the official sources of information on SUNY New Paltz delays and cancellations and supersede any other available public information.

The decision to delay or cancel on-campus activities will be announced 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 no less than 90 minutes prior to the cancellation of in-person classes. For example, a decision will be made and announced by 12:30 p.m. for afternoon in-person classes that begin at 2 p.m., or by 2 p.m. for those that begin at 3:30 p.m. or later. 

 

Closing of Campus Buildings or Offices

Only the Governor may close New York State offices due to weather conditions. Because we are a state university, we follow New York State policies regarding office closings.

SUNY New Paltz’s president is authorized to suspend campus activities, but can give non-teaching professional staff or classified civil service personnel time off without charge to leave credits only in very limited circumstances, including:

  • Delayed office openings
  • If the Governor takes action to close our campus or, pursuant to contract provisions, if there is an approved early departure.

The College must be mindful of the number of State-mandated contact hours necessary to earn academic credits.

 

Excused Tardiness and Policies for Essential and Non-Essential Employees

The appointing authority may excuse tardiness without charge to credits when uncontrollable conditions affect the arrival time of a group of employees. There is no limit to the amount of tardiness an appointing authority may excuse; however, full-day absences are not to be excused without charge to credits (per the Civil Service Time & Attendance Manual).

Please note that an announcement that in-person 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, work from home via the current telecommuting policy, or request approval to charge leave credits.

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.

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.

 

Energy Use Reduction

Periodically, the campus participates in mandatory energy use reduction directives during summer months and must cut back on our air conditioning use. While Facilities Management staff will make every effort to rotate the cycling on and off of our chillers to keep the buildings as comfortable as possible, we recognize that some working spaces may become uncomfortable. We apologize for this inconvenience.

In such circumstances, we wish to remind you that only the Governor can authorize an early departure from a state agency without charge to leave credits. Each individual employee must decide whether they wish to leave work early and must charge their leave credits if they do so. If the employee can perform their work from home in accordance with SUNY’s telecommuting policy, then they do not need to charge leave credits.

You can also help keep your working spaces cooler by closing blinds and turning off lights, where feasible. We would also ask that you close blinds and turn off lights and computers when you depart for the evening or the weekend.

 

Procedure for Communicating Office Status to Students, Staff and Visitors during Inclement Weather

While offices generally remain open during inclement weather unless otherwise directed by the Governor, it is common that many offices will be understaffed because all staff members in that unit have opted to remain 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 of office closings or reductions in staffing BEFORE they venture out in inclement weather.

If your office is closing or operating with reduced hours or staffing, please follow these steps:

  1. Each department head (or his/her designee) must first request approval from their Vice President or Dean to close their office, and indicate the time it will close.
  2. If the office closing is approved, the Vice President, Dean, Department/Office head or designee should submit information about office status using this campus webpage. Simply click “Submit/Update Office Closings,” log into your account, select the office to be updated and upload the closing information
    1. Please note: Additional notes can be added to the submission (i.e., “Career Resource Center to close after 2 p.m.”), and the listing will disappear after the applicable date.

When the Office of Communication & Marketing announces the College is canceling in-person 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 is posted.