Adverse Weather and Emergency Events

University Policy 701, Adverse Weather and Emergency Events

1. Policy Statement

The University will operate on a normal schedule unless the Chancellor (or designee) publicly announces a change in Condition as set forth in this policy. Notification of a change in the status of University operations will be available through the University website and designated media outlets, in addition to direct notification via email or other electronic communication methods when possible.

2. Definitions

A. Adverse Weather

Significant accumulation of snow or ice, high winds, tornados, earthquakes, hurricanes, flooding, and other weather events that can cause a variety of safety risks to employees, students, clients, customers, patients, or the general public and impede the ability of individuals to travel to or from the campus. Such events can also result in significant logistical challenges, including loss of utilities, IT, and other critical infrastructure that may impede the effective and efficient functioning of the institution or one or more of its operating units.

B. Emergency Events

Unusual situations that may adversely impact the University’s ability to continue to provide services to clients, customers, patients, students, or the general public or may place members of the campus community (including employees) at risk. Such conditions may include criminal acts or terrorism, fire, chemical spills, adverse or toxic odors, biological and public health threats, sustained loss of critical infrastructure (e.g., power, water, heat, and life safety systems), major public transit disruptions, and special directives or restrictions from public safety authorities.

C. Mandatory Operations

Services that have been determined mandatory to continue during various types of adverse weather and emergency events. Typical examples include: law enforcement and public safety, direct patient care, operating high risk or sensitive research facilities, critical student support services, facility operations, and campus utilities. These services could also include administrative operations that support critical University activities or infrastructure.

D. Mandatory Employees

Those employees whose presence has been determined to be mandatory to University operations during certain types of adverse weather or emergency events and whose services support critical University activities or infrastructure.  When required to report to work during these events, the employee is expected to use sound judgment with respect to maintaining personal safety given their individual circumstances, but also to make a substantial and good faith effort to reach the work site in a timely manner.

Mandatory employees will have received advance written instructions issued by their Vice Chancellor (or designee) or special notice from an appropriate supervisor, requiring that the employee report to work on a regular schedule during C2 and C3 events.

E. Non-Mandatory Employees

Employees who have not otherwise been designated as Mandatory Employees during adverse weather or emergency events.

F. Condition 1 (C1) – Reduced Operations

Condition 1 (Reduced Operations) is appropriate when an event has significant potential to or is already negatively impacting local area commuting, important campus services, or the efficient functioning of campus buildings and grounds. (See Section 3(a) below.)

While the University remains in C1, classes are in session, most offices are open, and pedestrian and vehicular egress has been provided to permit safe navigation on campus. Employees are encouraged to exercise caution and due diligence when traveling to and from work each day, and are expected to be available for duty.

G. Condition 2 (C2) – Suspended Operations

Condition 2 (Suspended Operations) is appropriate when safety risks or logistical challenges are more severe and there is a substantial interest to have a relatively limited number of individuals travel to or remain at the University.

In the event of severe weather events, University officials will consider the totality of factors including National Weather Service alerts and warnings, reported road conditions for major thoroughfares, law enforcement directives, the status of area mass transit, the status of campus utility systems, and executive orders from local government heads or the Governor. The Governor’s declaration of a “State of Emergency” or an advisory by the State Highway Patrol to avoid travel does not automatically necessitate suspended operations, but may be an important consideration in reaching a decision on the University’s Condition. (See Section 3(b) below.)

While the University remains in C2, classes are cancelled for students, some offices are open but with limited services, and campus and local areas should be navigated with caution. Restoration of campus infrastructure must be completed before C2 is lifted and is anticipated to span no more than 12 hours of operations.

H. Condition 3 (C3) - Closure

Condition 3 (Closure) is limited to events that pose the most severe risks to health and safety or present the most difficult logistical challenges that will severely impede the efficient and effective functioning of the University. Examples include severe weather events that involve substantial numbers of downed trees and/or power lines or uncontrolled flooding over a substantial portion of the local commuting area, substantial and unusual accumulations of snow, ice, or water that risk building stability or safety, or a loss of critical utilities (power, heat, cooling, water, life safety systems). In the event of a loss of utilities, the expected duration of the loss and the feasibility of implementing alternate work sites or logistical arrangements may be a consideration as to whether to declare Condition 2 (Suspended Operations) or Condition 3 (Closure). (See Section 3(c) below.)

Note: Declaring Condition 3 (Closure) requires direct consultation with and approval of the President of the University of North Carolina.

While the University remains in C3, classes are cancelled for students, offices are closed, and the campus and local areas cannot be navigated safely. Restoration of campus infrastructure must be completed before C3 is lifted and is anticipated to span more than 12 hours of operations.  

3. Procedures

The Chancellor (or designee) has the authority to make decisions regarding changes in campus operational status to Condition 1 or Condition 2 as a result of adverse weather or emergency events. If the Chancellor (or designee) determines that circumstances warrant a change in operational status to Condition 3, the Chancellor will consult with the Office of the President, which will make a determination after the fact as to whether Condition 3 is warranted and will be applied retroactively,

The Chancellor’s (or designee’s) determination to cancel classes is a separate decision from his/her authority to declare condition levels described below. These condition levels may be declared for the entirety of the campus or for one or more specific buildings or operational units based on the scope, severity, and nature of the event.

The University will use the tier structure below (C1, C2, or C3) to communicate the Condition of the University with faculty, students, and staff. Employees are required to report to work based on the announced Condition in effect for the University.  Each operational Condition is based on the event or conditions on campus and the surrounding area -not the entire region.

Under all of the Condition levels noted below, supervisors shall facilitate at-home work or alternate work sites whenever feasible and safe. Even so, such arrangements may not be practicable for all types of employees or during every type of adverse weather or emergency event.

A. Condition 1 (C1) – Reduced Operations

When the University is in Condition 1 (C1), the University remains open, but certain non-mandatory operations may be reduced due to more limited staffing. Mandatory Employees must report to or remain at work. All other employees have the option to report late, leave early, or not work at all; however, each employee is responsible for informing his/her supervisory chain in a timely manner of all such decisions. In making such decisions, employees should consider the weather conditions in their residential area, commute route, law enforcement advisories, and campus conditions, as well as communicate with their respective supervisors to determine whether or not they should report for duty.

Employees must code available leave for any work time missed during a C1 event, unless the supervisor has authorized off-site work arrangements or the Governor issues an Executive Order permitting leave with pay for any missed work time.

When the University is in C1 and a student or employee determines they cannot reach campus due to a potentially hazardous travel condition, the following policies shall apply:

  • Students may be allowed to make up the absences, at the discretion of the instructor;
  • Faculty members shall immediately notify the department chairperson so that arrangements may be made to meet their scheduled activities and shall make arrangements to complete all interrupted activities;
  • All employees who accrue leave credits, subject to the approval of the employee’s immediate supervisor, shall account for time not worked. See Section 3D for employee options for accounting for missed time.

B. Condition 2 (C2) – Suspended Operations

When the University is in Condition 2 (C2), the University remains open on a very limited basis, but has formally suspended all but mandatory operations due to minimal staffing levels. Employees designated or temporarily assigned as Mandatory Employees must report to work as directed; all other employees may not report to work or must leave the workplace when C2 status takes effect.

Employees must code available leave for any work time missed during a C2 event, unless the supervisor authorized off-site work arrangements or the Governor issues an Executive Order permitting leave with pay for any missed work time.

Employees designated as Mandatory Employees are required to report to work and should communicate directly with supervision as they exercise caution when traveling both to and from campus.

Employees designated as Non-Mandatory Employees will be required to account for time not worked during C2. All SHRA and EHRA staff and faculty employees who accrue leave credits shall charge absences to existing compensatory time, and then vacation/bonus leave unless they are permitted by their immediate supervisor to make up the absences and, in fact, do make up the absences within 90 days from the occurrence of the absence. Time not made up within the 90-day period will be charged to existing compensatory time and then vacation/bonus leave. Leave without pay may be used at the employee’s request and supervisor’s approval.

Additional information on accounting for absences due to adverse weather or other emergency situations is set forth in Personnel Information Memorandum (PIM) 12, available from Human Resources or online at http://hr.uncc.edu/pims/accounting-time-not-worked-due-hazardous-weather-or-other-unusual-conditions.

Temporary employees, including student workers, who do not earn leave credit and who are paid on an hourly basis (FLSA non-exempt) will be paid only for the hours worked during a given pay period. Such employees may work additional hours when the campus returns to C1 or normal status, subject to the restraints of overtime and the approval by the employee’s immediate supervisor.

Employees who have Teleworking Agreements pursuant to University Policy 101.22, Flexible Work and Telework Arrangements for SHRA and EHRA Non-Faculty Employees, and who are capable of teleworking (e.g., the employee has access to University-approved or authorized computing equipment and necessary utilities, such as power and the internet), are required to continue their normal work and are not affected by an operational shift to C2. 

A supervisor may, in his or her discretion, require or allow Non-Mandatory Employees without Teleworking Agreements to work from home or an alternate work site during an operational shift to C2 if:

  1. their job duties can be accommodated by a temporary reassignment of duty station to home or an alternate work site; and
  2. they have access to University-approved or authorized computing equipment (or their supervisor has approved the kind of work that they may do if they will be using computing equipment that is not University-owned), and they have access to necessary utilities, such as power and the internet.

C.  Condition 3 (C3) - Closure

When the University is in Condition 3 (C3) due to significant and sustained emergency conditions, University facilities are closed; this can apply to the entirety of the University or one or more specific buildings based on the type of incident involved. All or only a limited number of Mandatory Employees may be directed to remain at or report to work under C3. This is intended to assure an orderly shutdown of campus facilities and to sustain only the most critical campus utilities and services. All other employees, including those who are otherwise designated as Mandatory Employees but not needed for the particular event, are not permitted to report to or remain at work.

Employees shall not be required to charge leave or make up any work time missed during a C3 event, unless the duration of the event necessitates a differing decision by direction of the President of the University of North Carolina or by Executive Order of the Governor.

1. Teleworking Employees during Closure (C3)

Employees who have Teleworking Agreements pursuant to University Policy 101.22, Flexible Work and Telework Arrangements for SHRA and EHRA Non-Faculty Employees, and who are capable of teleworking (e.g., the employee has access to University-approved or authorized computing equipment, power, and the internet), are required to continue their normal work and are not affected by an operational shift to C3.

2.  Mandatory Employees during Closure (C3)

Mandatory Employees may include, but are not limited to, staff members in the following areas: 

  • Facilities Operations
  • Building Environmental Services and Recycling
  • Police and Public Safety
  • Security (Housing and Residence Life, Atkins Library, or any other location housing security personnel)
  • Housing and Residence Life facilities (including housekeeping)
  • Student Union
  • Cone University Center
  • Student Activity Center
  • Information and Technology Services
  • Atkins Library
  • Vivarium
  • Student Health Services
  • Business Services (Auxiliary, Parking & Transportation, Mail Services)
  • Recreational Services

Mandatory Employees and department heads should remain on alert, take all precautions to address and mitigate the situation to the extent possible, and be prepared to complete assigned tasks once a change in Condition has occurred. Department heads are encouraged to consider food and shelter needs for Mandatory Employees. Advance planning is required to maintain the continuity of operations. Careful attention should be given at all times to alert bulletins distributed by Police and Public Safety. Whenever possible, advance notice of a potential change in Condition will be given to Mandatory Employees. 

Mandatory Employees who fail to report during C3 may be subject to disciplinary action.  Disciplinary actions may be appealed through the University's SHRA grievance process. (PIM 35).

D. Accounting for Time During Condition 1 (Reduced Operations) or Condition 2 (Suspended Operations)

When an employee misses work time during Condition 1 (Reduced Operations) or

Condition 2 (Suspended Operations), the time shall be accounted for as follows:

  • Compensatory time, if available, must be used first.
  • If the employee has no compensatory time available, the employee has the option to use annual and/or bonus leave.
  • If the employee does not have or chooses not to use annual and/or bonus leave, the employee will take leave without pay (LWOP).
  • The University may, but is not required, to offer employees the option of “makeup” time in lieu of LWOP or paid leave.
    • If “make-up” time is offered, it shall be made up no later than 90 calendar days following the triggering event.
    • “Make-up” time shall not be subject to any premium pay, with the exception of FLSA-mandated overtime, when applicable.
  • Employees who are already out on approved leave during an event that triggers any of these Conditions will charge the approved sick, annual, compensatory, or bonus leave, with no provisions for LWOP or “make-up” time.
  • If the employee transfers to another constituent institution or State agency or terminates from State employment before any allowed “make-up” time is satisfied, this time shall be charged to annual or bonus leave. If there is not sufficient annual or bonus leave to cover the make-up time, the value of the make-up time shall be calculated and deducted from the employee’s final paycheck.

E. Additional Equivalent Time Off (ETO) for Mandatory Employees

FLSA-exempt Mandatory Employees are not eligible to receive Equivalent Time Off (ETO). When a non-exempt Mandatory Employee is required to report to or remain at the work site during Condition 2 (Suspended Operations) or Condition 3 (Closure), ETO shall be awarded on an hour-for-hour basis as follows:

  • ETO is in addition to and does not replace any required FLSA overtime or compensatory time for time worked during a Condition.
  • The ETO must be used within twelve months of the triggering event.
  • The scheduling of the ETO shall be subject to management approval, but every reasonable effort shall be made to permit the employee to use the ETO prior to its expiration.
  • At the end of the twelve-month period, any unused ETO shall expire and is not subject to payout.
  • Any Mandatory Employee or Non-Mandatory Employee who is not required to or voluntarily chooses to work at home during Condition 2 (Suspended Operations) or Condition 3 (Closure), or who reports to work during such event without supervisory permission, shall not be entitled to ETO.

F. Additional Guidelines

The following guidelines may affect the implementation of this Policy:

  1. A single weather event lifecycle may include time assigned to Conditions 1, 2, and/or 3.
  2. While the Chancellor (or designee) will typically deploy the Condition tiers for the entirety of the campus, at his/her discretion a Condition may be established for one or more specific buildings or operational units of the University, based on the scope, severity, and nature of the event. 

4. Roles, Responsibilities, and Notices

The Chief of Police (or designee) shall monitor infrastructure circumstances or other potentially hazardous situations affecting the University and shall notify the Vice Chancellor for Business Affairs or, if unavailable, the Associate Vice Chancellor for Risk Management, Safety and Security that circumstances warrant a change in Condition.  The Vice Chancellor for Business Affairs or Associate Vice Chancellor for Risk Management, Safety and Security will notify the Chancellor (or designee) that circumstances warrant a change in Condition.

The Chancellor (or designee) shall determine whether or not a change in Condition is appropriate. If the Chancellor is unavailable, a “designee” for purposes of this Policy shall be the individual specifically named to act on the Chancellor’s behalf. If a decision is made to move to Condition 1, 2, or 3, the notice shall specify the time at which the action is effective, and if possible, the duration of the change in status. Note: Declaring Condition 3 (Closure) requires direct consultation with and approval of the President of the University of North Carolina.

When the Chancellor (or designee) declares Condition 1 (Reduced Operations) or Condition 2 (Suspended Operations), either for the entirety of the campus or any individual building or locations, he or she shall formally report this event on the prescribed form(s) to UNC General Administration Human Resources no later than forty-eight (48) hours following the end of the event.

All faculty, staff, and students should assume that the University remains on a normal schedule unless notice to the contrary is received as indicated as follows:

  • The Chancellor (or designee) shall notify the office of each Vice Chancellor, which shall in turn notify all their administrative units.
    • Administrative units may distribute notices to personnel via voicemail, PIER, email, official UNC Charlotte social media, or other available communication systems according to the unit’s internal communications plan.  
  • The University Police and Public Safety department will be notified to activate 704-687-1900 where callers will hear a recorded message for inquiries regarding the status of campus operations.  This number will be included in any notice of a change in campus Condition given to the media.
  • The Chancellor (or designee) shall also notify the Director of Public Relations who shall notify the appropriate media including the following:

Newspapers

Radio

TELEVISION

The Charlotte Observer

WBT-AM (1110)
WFAE-FM (90.7)
WSOC-FM (103.7)
WLYT-FM (102.9 The Lake) (102.9)
WNKS-FM (Kiss 95.1) (95.1)
WEND-FM (106.5 The End) (106.5) 
WNCW-FM (88.7 and 100.7)
WKKT-FM (96.9 The Kat) (96.9)
WPEG-FM (Power 98 FM) (97.9)
WBAV-FM (V101.9) (101.9)
WRFX-FM (99.7 The Fox) (99.7)
WKQC-FM (K 104.7) (104.7)
WLNK-FM (107.9 The Link) (107.9)

WBTV (Channel 3)
WSOC-TV (Channel 9)
WCNC-TV (Channel 36)
WCCB-TV (Channel 18)

 
Revision History: 

Authority: Chancellor

Responsible Offices: Business Affairs and Academic Affairs

Related Resources: