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Information on authorized closings and designation of emergency personnel

From: Office of the Vice President for Administration

If it becomes necessary to close the Blacksburg campus because of inclement weather or an emergency, University Relations will use the following communications channels to announce the decision:

There may be times when the university initially decides to open based on the information available, but deteriorating weather conditions result in a decision for a delayed opening or for an all day closing. Employees, students, and visitors should continue to check the communications channels listed above for any changes.

For early closings, University Relations will notify the university community by VT Alerts. Once notified by University Relations, we ask that you follow your departmental or unit communication plan to ensure that each of your areas has received the information about the closing and they are taking steps to ensure that employees and students have been notified, including those who may be working or studying in labs, classrooms, or other areas of your buildings.

Off-Campus Closings

Off-campus offices, including the graduate centers, extension offices, and research stations, may operate on different closing schedules. Directors of off-campus facilities will use local media to communicate closing decisions to their employees and the public according to their emergency communications plans. 

The university's video-conferencing classes will be cancelled when the Blacksburg campus is closed; with the exception of videoconference class lectures originating from the Falls Church, Northern Virginia Center. 

In the event of a Blacksburg campus closing, Northern Virginia Center faculty will have the option to either record their lecture in their regularly scheduled time slot or request a makeup recording of the class at a later date. Requests to record during a Blacksburg campus closing will be handled at a reduced level of service by Video Broadcast Services staff on site at the Northern Virginia Center. Class recordings will be processed for video on demand and posted to the Video Broadcast Services servers within two business days after the Blacksburg campus resumes normal operations.

Department Responsibilities

  • Identification of Emergency Personnel: Emergency personnel are those employees assigned to positions identified by their departments as necessary to the maintenance of the vital operations and services of the university. Emergency personnel can be salaried or wage employees. Emergency personnel are required to work during an authorized closing, and should be promptly notified of any change in their designation. While many emergency personnel remain in that status throughout the year, department heads and directors may also designate certain employees as emergency personnel depending on specific circumstances. Employees who have been designated as emergency personnel must be informed of their status and any specific expectations. Departments should complete their Emergency Personnel Roster and update it as needed. The roster is for your use and should not be returned to Human Resources.
  • Development of a Department Communication Plan: Each department should have a communication plan for supervisors and employees to follow for emergency situations.

Authorized Closing (AC) Schedule and Recording AC Leave and AC Work Hours

For purposes of tracking authorized closing leave and time worked, the following rules will apply unless otherwise stated in closing announcements.

  • For a delayed opening, the university will close beginning at 12:01 a.m. of that day until the stated opening time. For an all-day closing, the university will be closed beginning at 12:01 a.m. of that day and will re-open at 12:01 a.m. of the next work day.
  • For an early closing, the university will be closed from the stated time of the day until midnight of that same day.

Human Resources will provide specific instructions to department leave representatives following each authorized closing. All authorized closing leave and time worked must be recorded in the university's leave system.

When Virginia Tech Remains Open During Inclement Weather

Please encourage your employees to discuss their safety concerns about travel to and from work with their supervisors so that management will be aware of potential hazards that could prevent them from reaching their place of work in inclement weather. If employees find themselves in situations where they think their safety may be compromised, they should be strongly encouraged to make reasonable and rational choices when deciding whether to come to work or stay home. These decisions must, however, be communicated with the supervisor as soon as possible.

When the university remains open, non-emergency personnel, who anticipate transportation difficulties due to inclement weather conditions, may seek permission from supervisors to shorten their normal work shift through the use of accrued leave. Supervisors should make every effort to accommodate these requests.

Employees who have physical disabilities and limited mobility should discuss inclement weather and safety issues with their supervisors. This would include employees who have accommodations approved under Policy 4075 through the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Coordinator, who use the handicapped parking tags, or who have otherwise communicated their needs to their supervisors. 

Managers are encouraged to consider options, when appropriate and reasonable, through flexible scheduling of make-up time within the same work week or working from home (see Telecommuting Policy 4325). These decisions must be made on a case-by-case basis according to the needs of the department and the position of the employee. 

Questions about accommodations should be directed to (540) 231‑4300.

Salaried employees who do not report to work as scheduled must charge time missed to annual, compensatory or overtime leave, sick, or leave without pay as appropriate, unless the supervisor can adjust the hours of work in the same workweek to make up for the missed hours. Supervisors may also allow employees up to a maximum of one hour past the start of their normal shift to report to work. Wage employees are compensated for hours worked.

Information on closings may be found in Policy 4305, Authorized Closings.

Additional Information for Supervisors and Employees

We have also provided two fact sheets for emergency and non-emergency personnel to remind supervisors and employees of the university's policy on closings and to facilitate departmental identification of employees identified as "emergency personnel." Please post these in accessible locations.

All salaried employees will receive an informational bulletin about authorized closings, but we ask that you ensure that your non-salaried (wage/adjunct) and student employees are also informed of your departmental communications procedures.

For more information about the authorized closing policy and procedures, contact the HR Service Center at 540-231-9331.

For information about whether the Blacksburg campus is open or closed, employees and campus visitors should check the following official communication channels:

Additional Links:
Emergency Personnel Roster
Emergency Personnel Authorized Closing Fact Sheet
Non-emergency Personnel Authorized Closing Sheet

Read the related Campus Notice, "Campus winter weather traffic and parking emergency procedures"

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Fax: 540-231-3830
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