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The University of Kentucky has worked with emergency management officials, faculty and staff on the following policies with respect to inclement weather. Ensuring the health, safety and well-being of our community requires all of us to follow procedures and protocols and take responsible steps and precautions when alerts are issued. 

UK classes and work schedules are rarely altered by the impacts of severe weather. However, the president and executive vice president for finance and administration – in consultation with senior staff – will make the final decision in the unlikely event that classes must be canceled or delayed, or when offices (excluding UK HealthCare) must be closed, to ensure the safety of our community. Delay and cancelation decisions will be made after reviewing information about road conditions, weather reports, local transit service and area business and industry response.  

If there is a change in the university’s status, in terms of delay or closure, the university will send a UK Alert. Any additional updates – including major changes regarding facilities, operations and our weather efforts – will also be shared via email, UK’s social media accounts and at omelocotton.com/alerts.

UK Alerts 

UK Alert, the university’s emergency notification system, is activated in times of university closings, delays, early dismissals due to weather, tornado warnings and other major emergencies on campus that require immediate action. UK encourages all students, faculty and staff to review and update your UK Alert account. Log in to myUK and click the UK Alert tab to access your account.  
 
You can also find the most up-to-date information during emergencies in the following places: 

Emergency preparedness and response information 

Safety and weather alerts must be taken seriously. The information below details the standard protocols we follow during a severe storm or tornado warning: 

  • Protect yourself from lightning and flying debris – seek shelter immediately 

  • Stop what you’re doing and move to an interior room or hallway on the building’s lowest level 

  • Avoid outside doors and windows 

  • Find recommended shelter locations marked on the emergency floor plans posted throughout campus buildings 

More emergency preparedness and response guidance from UK Police’s Crisis Management and Preparedness Division is available at gk.omelocotton.com/cmp

Transportation 

UK Transportation Services makes every effort to maintain campus bus service, including during campus closures, delays and early dismissals. However, there are rare instances where bus service must be interrupted due to imminent severe weather, road conditions or at the direction of emergency officials. 

During tornado warnings, campus bus service will be temporarily suspended and resume once the warning has been lifted. Updates will be provided at omelocotton.com/alerts

In the interest of safety for UK bus drivers and passengers, UK buses in service will be directed to the nearest facility and instructed to seek shelter indoors until the emergency condition has passed. 

Navigating campus safely 

Find tips on navigating campus safely during winter weather and smart walking routes, the first sidewalks to be cleared of snow and ice, from UK Human Resources here.  

Information for students and faculty 

Per University Senate Rules, students enrolled in online classes (or hybrid classes in which the schedule for the day of closure or delay was to be virtual or online) would continue course work and meetings virtually, regardless of an emergency closure, unless canceled at the discretion of the course instructor. 

When there is an unscheduled closing, all in-person activities during the closure time are canceled. Asynchronous activities may be held; asynchronous activities may replace a scheduled synchronous activity if they can be completed in the same amount of time. Synchronous activities may be held only within the scheduled time slot and only if the instructor also provides an asynchronous option that can be completed in the same amount of time. Asynchronous activities may be attended or performed at a time of the student's choosing, subject to reasonable constraints. 

The Senate Council and the Office for Faculty Advancement recommend faculty members include syllabus language during the winter intersession and spring semester that provides guidance for students regarding such winter weather closings, inclusive of the method of conducting class in the event of a closure or delay and definition of an excused/unexcused absence in the event of a delay or closure. 

Information for staff 

Plan B is the university's emergency severe weather plan implemented when classes must be canceled or delayed, or offices closed. 

The three designations for employees under Plan B are:  

  • Designated employee: Regular on-site attendance is required when Plan B operations are in effect. 

  • Designated employee via remote access: Employee will work remotely during Plan B operations. 

  • Non-designated employee: Employee should not work unless specifically contacted by a supervisor and asked to do so. 

In preparing for Plan B days, UK Human Resources recommends supervisors consider which of their team's on-site functions must continue, and which can be performed remotely. This should inform the plan for which employees must report to their usual on-site locations. Supervisors may need to change an employee's designation depending on departmental needs at the time. 

Only employees designated to work on site during Plan B operations will receive emergency closing time off to be taken at a later date. 

Supervisors are encouraged to consider designating an employee to work remotely if that employee can work effectively from a remote location. This includes employees who have established remote or hybrid work arrangements (see item 7 on the FAQ page).

For more information on employee designation and procedures on Plan B days or other university emergencies, please review HR Policy and Procedure #71.

Only employees designed to work on site during Plan B operations will receive emergency closing time off to be taken at a later date.

Utility outages local to the employee who is working remotely are not a reason to use emergency closing leave. Instead, supervisors should discuss with employees what work they can do during the (hopefully short) period of utility outage, how to flex the schedule later in the work week and availability of applicable leave, etc. If solutions are not sufficient for the period of the outage, the supervisor should contact HR Employee Relations.

Information for UK HealthCare employees 

Given our continued responsibility for uninterrupted care for patients and their families, UK hospitals and clinics will remain open even when classes are canceled and academic and other non-health care offices are closed. UK HealthCare employees shall follow the procedures and policies outlined in UK HealthCare Policy and Procedure #A09-055 UK HealthCare Plan B Staffing During University Emergencies