Weather delays and class cancellations are “snow” problem at SRU

Traffic in snow

Slippery Rock University officials follow a procedure and provide resources, like e2Campus alerts, to inform the campus community about weather delays and cancellations.

Jan. 23, 2018

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Severe winter weather can affect your daily routine, especially when it can cause the delay or cancellation of classes, work and events. Even though the weather can be unpredictable, there are procedures and resources in place at Slippery Rock University to keep the campus community in the know and to maintain the safety of students, faculty, staff and visitors.

When severe weather is imminent, representatives from University Police and the Offices of Facilities, Planning and Environmental Safety and University Communication and Public Affairs work collaboratively to assess the situation and advise the president and provost as to whether or not classes should be delayed or canceled.

"Our priority is to keep everyone, either on our campus or traveling to our campus, as safe as possible," said Rita Abent, executive director for university communication and public affairs. "We gather as much information as we can, and once a decision is made we communicate the status as quickly as possible.

"We gather reports from the weather service, PennDot and the Pennsylvania State Police regarding road conditions or travel advisories. We also get an assessment from our own facilities crew as to the condition of campus walkways, parking lots and roads. Student, faculty, staff and visitor safety is our first concern."

Once a decision is made to delay classes, or to close the University, the communication and public affairs staff kicks into high gear to notify the media, send out e2Campus alerts, post the information to social media, alert the University switchboard, send a campus email and put the notification on the University homepage.

"Every effort is made to have a decision made by 6 a.m. so there is time to get the word out," Abent said.

According to the University Weather Policy, should the University close for a severe weather event, the closing applies to all campus locations and to all academic and extracurricular activities, this includes, but is not limited to: athletic events, plays, performances, guest lecturers and campus rentals. In the event of a closing, only those personnel and offices identified as "essential," are required to work and/or be open.

"We have 2,000 students that live on campus, so it's critical we maintain certain functions. Provisions will be made to keep Dining Services, Health Services, Residence Halls, University Police, the Switchboard and the University Help Desk up and running," Abent said.

Members of the campus community can take the following steps in order to make sure they are receiving the most up-to-date information in preparing for their winter weather-related day:

-Sign up for e2Campus alerts. SRU uses this mass notification system to alert the community about emergencies, delays and cancelations. Anyone can opt into this service to receive text messages and emails. The messages will also appear on the SRU website and social media outlets. Learn more about e2Campus alerts by clicking here.
-Verify all information on the SRU website. If you are relying on third parties, such as television news stations or your friend down the hall, to inform you about closings and cancellations, check the SRU website for the most up-to-date and accurate status before going about your day. An alert banner will appear on the SRU homepage at www.sru.edu if there is a delay or cancellation.
-In the event of a delay or cancellation, students should check Desire2Learn, SRU's online learning management system, and their University email to see if, despite there being no class, there is an assignment. Faculty are encouraged to post such materials by 10 a.m. on those days.
-In the event of a delay, students should follow the University's compressed class schedule. The plan ensures that all classes, especially those that meet early in the morning, have the opportunity to meet. The compressed class schedule is available by clicking here.

"Every weather event is different," Abent said. "Conditions could worsen or improve between 5 a.m. and 8 a.m. and a cancelation or delay could be determined in the best interest of everyone's safety. That's why it's so important to check the SRU website for the most current status if there is any uncertainty."

But what if severe winter weather hits once the day's normal activities have already begun?

"An evaluation process takes place to determine if evening classes, those starting at 5 p.m. or later, should be canceled," said Abent. "The University will try to alert everyone through e2Campus alerts, email and the SRU website by 3 p.m."

MEDIA CONTACT: Justin Zackal | 724.738.4854 | justin.zackal@sru.edu