Penn State provides guidance on weather disruptions during hybrid operations

February 12, 2021

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — With Penn State returning to a hybrid of in-person and remote operations on Feb. 15, the University has updated its guidance for students, faculty and staff in the event a campus ceases normal operations due to weather, power outages or other emergencies.

Classes

In the event of a change in normal campus operations due to weather, instructors teaching in any mode of instruction may opt to deliver instruction asynchronously.

When a change in normal campus operations due to weather or other local emergency circumstances occurs, students, faculty and instructors may not have the same access to University facilities and resources (such as Wi-Fi or materials needed for specialized instruction) and may have other commitments such as childcare.

During a change in normal operations, there are different options for the various COVID course modes:

  • COVID In-Person (CP) courses may not be moved to a synchronous online meeting per Faculty Senate policy. In the event of a change in normal campus operations, the instructor can choose to offer content asynchronously or may cancel class altogether.
  • Hybrid/COVID Mixed-Mode (CM) courses are structured differently, so instructors need to specify in their syllabi how class content will be delivered. If a course is scheduled to meet in person on the day of a change in normal campus operations, instructors should give serious consideration to meeting asynchronously. As with CP courses, the instructor may choose to offer content asynchronously or cancel class altogether.
  • COVID Remote (CR) courses may continue to meet remote synchronously at the usual time, or the instructor may choose to offer content asynchronously or cancel class altogether.
  • Web and COVID Remote Asynchronous (CW) courses will continue with no changes.

On-campus, in-person activities

Any scheduled in-person activities that begin before the announced delay time are canceled. Activities beginning at or after the announced delay time will be held as originally scheduled.

Employees

While segments of University employees continue to work remotely during the pandemic, Penn State has provided the following guidance for all employees in the event of a change in normal campus operations:

  • Employees reporting to campus and performing essential duties: Employees who currently report to campus for work and have been previously identified as performing duties essential to maintaining campus operations should report to campus as directed. Employees who are required to report to campus during the cancellation period will be eligible for Campus Closure Compensatory Pay in accordance with the HRG 10 guideline provisions.
  • Employees working on campus who have not been previously identified as performing essential duties: Employees who are not identified as performing duties essential to maintaining campus operations should consult with their supervisor to see if they can perform work remotely during the cancellation period. If they can work remotely, these employees will work their approved schedule, and will not be eligible for Campus Closure Compensatory Pay.

Those who are unable to perform their work remotely, and are currently required to report to campus for their job, should not report to work during the cancellation period. These employees will be eligible for Campus Closure Pay during the cancellation period, subject to guideline requirements.

  • Employees working remotely: Employees who are working remotely (because of the COVID-19 pandemic, under an approved telecommuting arrangement, or otherwise), and who continue to be able to work should perform their regularly assigned duties. Employees working remotely are not eligible for Campus Closure Compensatory Time.

Employees working a rotating schedule of on-campus and remote work should work remotely, regardless of rotation schedule. Supervisors of remote employees should be flexible to allow employees the option to use accrued vacation or personal holiday time and flexible hours during a change in normal campus operations or transition to remote operations, where feasible. Employees who work remotely are not eligible for Campus Closure Compensatory Time or Campus Closure Pay.

  • Employees working at an alternate work location: If an employee is working at an alternate location, such as attending a conference or training, the employee is not eligible for Campus Closure Compensatory Time if they are able to continue their work responsibilities.

Employees who have questions about campus closure should contact their unit human resources consultant. 

Official information sources

For information on inclement weather, the Penn State community should check WPSU-FM and Penn State News — the official sources for weather-related delay or cancellation advisories at University Park campus. In addition, advisories will be sent directly to cellphones, email and Twitter via PSUAlert. An active Penn State access account is required for users to access PSUAlert and add or change contact settings, such as additional emails and cell numbers for text messages. Although signup for the PSUAlert system is reserved for students, faculty and staff, members of the public are encouraged to follow alerts from Penn State’s campuses via Facebook and Twitter. Specific links for those who wish to follow PSUAlert messages on Facebook and Twitter are available at https://news.psu.edu/PSUAlert-social/.

For more information about PSUAlert, visit the FAQ.

The operating status at Penn State Altoona and Penn State DuBois will be aired on WPSU, which broadcasts in those regions. All other campus locations should identify their preferred method of communication before inclement weather strikes and distribute that information to their communities.

WPSU, which airs 24-hour programming, can be heard at 91.5 FM in State College, Bellefonte, Lock Haven and surrounding areas, and 90.1 FM in northern Pennsylvania counties. A complete list of station frequencies can be found at http://radio.wpsu.org/frequencies/. The station is also at http://wpsu.org, and closings are listed at http://wpsu.org/closings. When notified, WPSU will begin its live broadcasting earlier than usual start time of 5 a.m., and will interrupt regularly scheduled programming to give periodic updates throughout the day or night.

In addition to WPSU, information also will be promptly and prominently issued online at Penn State News — https://news.psu.edu — assuming that power and internet connectivity are not adversely affected by the weather.

The University community is reminded that during inclement weather, the Office of Physical Plant will be working diligently to clear sidewalks and roadways as quickly as possible. In the event that normal operations at a Penn State location are disrupted due to snow, individuals are urged to avoid coming to campus, if possible, and those who must visit campus should remain alert and avoid sections of campus that may be covered in snow or ice.

Last Updated February 15, 2021