Penn State Updates Inclement Weather Protocols As On-Campus Learning Returns

As we move into the first truly in-person winter season in a long while, most Penn State students probably have snow days on their minds. With Zoom being the new default replacement when in-person classes aren’t possible, students may worry that, in the event of inclement winter weather, classes won’t be canceled — they’ll just go online.

Penn State’s Faculty Senate Policy 45-00 states that in-person classes cannot be moved to remote synchronous. Instead, these classes could be canceled entirely or the instructor may move the class online asynchronously by providing material such as a prerecorded video lecture, reading, or assignment to be completed.

The policy also includes a protocol for other formats of classes, since some are being taught hybrid or remote synchronous and require slightly different accommodations.

Hybrid classes have a similar protocol to in-person classes. For days originally scheduled in-person, classes may be canceled entirely or asynchronous material may be assigned. If the class was originally scheduled as asynchronous, the materials will be offered as planned.

Remote synchronous classes may continue to be taught remote-synchronously if the instructor is able and willing to. The option to cancel class entirely or offer asynchronous alternatives still stands.

Web classes will continue as planned and have no changes.

Employees of Penn State also have a protocol for snow days, divided based on the type of employment held with Penn State. Faculty and staff who are required to report to campus and are identified as essential to operations should still report to campus as directed. These employees may be eligible for Campus Closure Compensatory Time for those hours worked.

Employees who typically work on campus but are not in an essential position and who are unable to work remotely should not report to work. Those who can work remotely should do so and still report remotely. Those employees, however, are not eligible for Campus Closure Compensatory Time.

Employees who work remotely, including hybrid work, should continue their regular work functions if they are able to continue to do so. Hybrid workers should plan to work remotely, regardless of their scheduled rotation. These employees are not eligible for Campus Closure Compensatory Time.

For delays, any classes that begin before 10 a.m. should follow the above guidelines, and on-campus activities will be canceled altogether. Classes and activities beginning at 10 a.m. or later will continue as usual.

In the case of an early dismissal, students will be released first after notification, then faculty and staff will be dismissed 30-45 minutes after to help with traffic flow. Depending on how quickly the storm moves and the information that will be communicated, students can determine the best action for their situation.

Campus closures, delays, and early dismissals in the case of inclement winter weather will be communicated by an official Penn State source. These sources include Penn State’s PSUAlert Twitter, WPSU-FM, and Penn State News, as well as a notification through PSUAlert.

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About the Author

Mackenna Yount

Mackenna is a junior food science major from Manitou Springs, Colorado, and is one of Onward State's associate editors. She loves food, is addicted to coffee, and can give you random facts or bad jokes that you didn't ask for. Ask her to bake gluten-free goodies so she has an excuse to try out new cupcake flavors. Mackenna can be contacted via Twitter @mackennayount (especially if you want to show off your best dad jokes) or you can shoot her an email at [email protected].

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