Classes are in session and offices are open.
Updated October 2020 with new policies and practices for inclement weather events in the current era of telecommuting and given the mix of remote and in-person instruction due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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, 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 campus and (because it only rarely occurs) most professors are understanding of absences due to weather.
Faculty have the option to meet 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 and staff make an effort to notify professors/supervisors 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 and take advantage of the current telecommuting policy, then they would 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 the Facilities Operations and Management Departments, the president, and the provost.
The decision to delay or cancel on-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 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 2:00 p.m. and at 2:00 p.m. for those that begin at 3:30 p.m. or later. 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 in-person classes are delayed, all in-person classes on the affected day that begin before the delayed opening time will be cancelled.
Approved on-campus events and activities during the pandemic will be held at the discretion of the organizers. However, in the event that in-person classes are cancelled or delayed, this means facilities staff may not be able to keep up with snowfall or ice conditions to ensure roadways and sidewalks are safe. In the event of in-person class cancellations, it is prudent for event organizers to cancel or postpone their events. 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 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.
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 regarding this, please contact Human Resources at x3171. When the College cancels in-person classes, please be aware that walkways, parking lots and buildings may not be accessible.
Closing of Campus Buildings or Offices
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 give non-teaching professional staff or classified civil service personnel time off without charge to leave credits only in very limited circumstances. This would include 1) delayed office openings or 2) 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.
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. (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. 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.
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. 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
During inclement weather, the campus will often cancel in-person 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.
- VP/Deans/Department Heads or designee should visit http://www.newpaltz.edu/officeclosings.
- Optional notes can be added (i.e. Office of Student Affairs to close after 2 p.m.)
- Listing will disappear after applicable date.
- Click Submit/Update Office Closings and log in.
- Select office to be updated.
- Add date office will be closed.
- Click Submit.
- 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 will be posted.
Below is a list of radio and television stations and online news outlets the College notifies with announcements regarding cancellations and delays. A message will also be recorded on the INFO line at (845) 257-INFO (4636) and posted on the College website.
NOTE: These outlets provide delay and cancellation announcements as a public service. The College is not responsible for incorrect information that may appear via media channels.
Radio - AM
Radio - FM
Online News Outlets