Chapter 22 – Extreme Weather Protocol

(President 3/18/91; amended 9/93; 12/01; 4/11; 7/1/17; 1/8/24)

Effective January 8, 2024, this policy has been revised. For individual changes see the redlined version.

22.1 General Policy

(4/11; 1/8/24)

The University of Iowa is never fully closed. The residential, healthcare, research, and overall public safety aspects of University of Iowa operations make this a necessity. The university continues to function, to the extent possible, during inclement weather. Regularly scheduled classes meet to the extent that students and faculty are able to safely attend classes. The University of Iowa may reduce operations under various conditions and to various extents. This could include, but is not limited to, canceling classes, reducing operations to essential operations only, etc. A reduction of operations may impact units differently based on a range of factors, including current conditions, time frame, etc. Campus administrative functions continue to the extent that faculty, staff, and administrators can conduct business, as applicable. Individuals should use good judgment and avoid serious risks when traveling to campus or attending classes.

22.2 Postponing or Canceling University Activities

(Amended 1/8/24)

The authority to make extreme weather operational decisions on behalf of the university has been delegated by the university President to the Executive Vice President and Provost. The university maintains an Extreme Weather Plan that is reviewed, updated, and distributed annually. This plan addresses roles, operational decision making, and communication protocols in the event that activities need to be postponed or cancelled and/or operations need to be adjusted due to extreme weather conditions.

22.3 Attendance During Extreme Weather Conditions

(Amended 12/01; 7/1/17; 1/8/24)

University employees will be expected to make every reasonable effort to report to work as scheduled, even in severe weather conditions. Whenever possible, employees should maintain awareness of local weather forecasts, including potential impacts and also anticipate the potential for delays in travel/transportation. Upon evaluation of their individual circumstances, employees are expected to make reasonable judgments to avoid serious risks when traveling to and from work. Employees are encouraged to actively communicate with their supervisor or other proper authority regarding their timeliness and attendance during extreme weather conditions, in order to assure proper staffing. When delayed, employees may be expected to report to work as soon as they become available, unless otherwise excused by their supervisor, in order to meet operational needs. Supervisory staff are expected to use their discretion reasonably and humanely in relation to this policy.

Absences due to severe weather conditions may be addressed in the following manner, as applicable:

  1. Employees may be authorized to perform work at home or an alternate location, to the extent such is available, practical, and feasible, and provided appropriate accountability.
  2. Employees may be authorized to make up the time absent through an alternate work schedule within the same work week.
  3. Employees may utilize accrued compensatory time (merit) or accrued annual leave (vacation), if available, to remain in pay status, or be placed on leave without pay.

If the university reduces operations to essential operations only, employees who perform critical functions should report to work, as applicable. Unless otherwise determined by a specific department’s business continuity plan, critical functions are those that relate directly to the health, safety, and welfare of the university community, ensure continuity of key operations, and maintain and protect university property and resources. These include but may not be limited to specific operations within University of Iowa Health Care, Dental Clinics, Campus Safety, University Housing and Dining, State Hygienic Laboratory, and Facilities Management.

(See also III-22 Absences.)