Wichita State University Guidelines and Procedures

Inclement Weather and Emergency Events

  1. Purpose and Summary
    1. In the event of inclement weather and/or an emergency event, the University shall take all reasonable measures to protect the health and safety of students, faculty, and staff. Should such an event occur, the University may implement a temporary adjustment to its class and/or operations, including late start and moving class instruction and non-critical operations to remote delivery, where possible. Critical campus operations will continue to operate on-campus to the fullest extent possible.
    2. In order to facilitate the University’s decision making and communication process, and to recognize potential childcare challenges faced by University students and employees, the University will typically align with USD 259 in closing campus facilities or moving to remote learning/operations due to inclement weather or national, state, or local emergencies.
  2. Application of Guidelines and Procedures
      1. The guidelines and procedures below shall be followed in the event the University announces an inclement weather and/or an emergency event.
      2. These guidelines and procedures shall apply to all University and ICAA faculty and staff, except those employed in the Industry and Defense Programs division.
      3. These guidelines and procedures shall apply to the University Main Campus location and the satellite locations listed below. More information regarding satellite locations can be found here: https://www.wichita.edu/about/maps_directions.php#locations.
        1. WSU Old Town – A
        2. WSU Old Town – B
        3. WSU Old Town – C
        4. WSU Haysville
        5. WSU South
        6. WSU West
  3. Classes
    1. General Rule Regarding Classes. When the University announces an inclement weather event, WSU classes shall move to remote delivery and remote operations, except as otherwise set forth in these guidelines and procedures. Faculty teaching an in-person course (TCI) should provide alternative assignments where necessary to accommodate students without access to remote course delivery. Courses that have been previously identified as remote delivery should continue as planned.
    2. Exceptions.
      1. Labs and Other Circumstances Where Remote Delivery is Not Available. Faculty and instructors shall notify students in their course syllabus and/or Blackboard announcements when a lab or other course cannot be completed remotely. In such cases, faculty and instructors shall provide students with instructions for inclement weather and other circumstances where the University announces closure of University facilities or the limitation of University services.
      2. Practica and Clinics. Students completing clinical experiences such as practica or internships will follow the procedures established at their clinical/applied learning sites unless otherwise directed by their clinical site supervisor or clinical faculty member.
    3. Communicating Class Expectations and Remote Delivery. Faculty are expected to communicate course delivery instructions to students in their syllabus and/or Blackboard regarding expectations during inclement weather and/or an emergency event. Template language for syllabus and Blackboard communications is provided below.
  4. Campus Operations
    1. Critical Campus Operations.
      1. Critical Campus Operations are expected to continue during inclement weather. Employees who support Critical Campus Operations are deemed “essential” under WSU policies and are expected to report to campus or their regularly assigned worksite unless otherwise instructed by a Division Vice President or Dean. Employees should refer to Payroll website for more information on time reporting, pay, and leave.
      2. Critical Campus Operations include:
        1. Student Housing;
        2. Dining options (may reduce business hours as needed);
        3. Campus Police;
        4. Facilities Services;
        5. Research laboratories (at faculty discretion);
        6. Student Wellness (may reduce business hours as needed); and
        7. Operations otherwise designated by the President, Athletic Director, or any Vice President.
    2. Non-Critical Campus Operations – All operations that are not otherwise deemed Critical Campus Operations are considered Non-Critical Campus Operations. Employees supporting Non-Critical Campus Operations shall perform work remotely during campus closure due to inclement weather or an emergency event except where such remote work is not feasible or the head of the department or unit has determined that remote work is not necessary.
  5. Communication Guidelines
    1. Decision and Notification Protocols.
      1. The Executive Vice President (EVP) and Vice President of Finance and Administration (VPFA) shall determine if the University is to be closed and class delivery moved to remote, including the length of time and extent of closure / cancellations.
      2. The EVP and/or VPFA shall communicate the decision to the following:
        1. WSU Executive Team
        2. WSU Tech President
        3. WSU Foundation President
      3. All Vice Presidents shall communicate the decision to their direct reports and ensure the decision is communicated to any applicable affiliated entities and Centers under the VP’s supervision.
      4. Strategic Communications shall communicate the decision to the campus through regular channels of communication. Sample messaging: WSU will go to remote operations. Please follow inclement weather policies and procedures.
    2. Deans and Unit Heads. Deans and unit heads will communicate these expectations with their direct reports prior to the beginning of each semester so instructors and unit heads can make advance preparations. 
    3. Sample Syllabus Statement.  The following is a sample statement that may be included in syllabi:
      1. When university offices or facilities close due to inclement weather or an emergency event, course delivery will move to online delivery. Students who may experience difficulty in accessing courses remotely should consult with their instructor. [Insert additional instructions to students that are specific to the course.]
  6. Inclement Weather FAQs

    These Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) are answers to a collection of the most common questions relating to inclement weather. These may be shared with employees and students as needed.
    1. General 
      1. Why is the campus being closed due to inclement weather?

        The primary reason why the campus may be closed is for safety. Closing the campus reduces the number of employees and students on the roads during periods of weather when it may not be safe to travel, especially longer distances. Closing the campus also allows the University to clear roads, parking lots and sidewalks without working around cars. 
      2. Who determines when inclement weather is declared for WSU?

        The President and his designee(s) determine inclement weather closures. These decisions are frequently made in consultation with the Provost and Vice President for Finance and Administration. 
    2. Employees
      1. Does my position support critical campus operations? 

        Employees in the following positions support critical campus operations: (1) Student Housing; (2) Dining options (may reduce business hours as needed); (3) Campus Police; (4) Facilities Services; (5) Research laboratories (at faculty discretion); (6) Student Wellness (may reduce business hours as needed); and (7) as otherwise designated by the President or any Vice President. You should contact your direct supervisor if you have any questions as it relates to campus operations.
      2. If my position supports critical campus operations, what if I don’t feel safe traveling to campus? 

        If your position has been deemed to support critical campus operations and you don’t feel you can safely report to work, you should contact your direct supervisor to discuss the concerns and to determine if an accommodation can be made.  
      3. How long will the University be closed in the event of inclement weather or emergency?

        The time frame for closure is determined on a case-by-case basis and can range from an hour's delay of the start of the workday, to early closure, to an entire day, or multiple days.  Always monitor University announcements on WSU Today and stay in communication with your supervisor. 
      4. If I support an office that is deemed a non-critical campus operation, and that office is closed due to inclement weather, but I am able to still work remotely, does this mean that the office where I work is still open to the public or to students? 

        Possibly. Employees should confirm with their supervisor whether or not their campus operations will remain open and accessible to students and/or the public. Campus offices should make every effort to remain operable through remote means, including e-mail and phone, during inclement weather and emergency events. However, this may not always be feasible and each department, center or unit leader should determine whether or not they should remain open in a limited capacity and should make every effort to communicate that status through the appropriate communication channels (webpage alert, e-mail auto-reply, phone voice mail message, etc.).
      5. Will I receive additional pay if I support critical campus operations and report to campus to perform work during inclement weather?

        You should consult the University’s Timekeeping Reference Guide for more information regarding pay for leave and time worked during inclement weather.
    3. Students
      1. Can classes be held remotely during an inclement weather shutdown? 

        Faculty and Instructors are encouraged to make every effort to hold class remotely and communicate that decision via their course syllabus, WSU email or Blackboard to students. If an instructor cancels class, they are asked to immediately communicate with students. 
      2. I’m a student living in campus housing. Will Shocker Hall dining services continue to operate? 

        WSU’s Housing and Residence Life will remain open. Students who live in campus housing should visit the Dining Services website for available services and hours.   https://www.wichita.edu/student_life/housing/Diningservices.php 
      3. I’m a student employee. How does the inclement weather affect me? 

        Students who are employed by WSU should review the Employee FAQs above.

Change History:

SOP Version Effective Date Significant Change(s)
1. January 4, 2024   
2. January 8, 2024  Purpose and summary added; additional FAQ on office closures added; clarification that applicable to ICAA staff and coaches