When winter weather strikes, it can impact University of Nebraska–Lincoln operations in a number of ways. Here is what Huskers can expect from the university in the event of a major snow or cold event that may affect day-to-day activities.
UNL Alert — the same system that announces campus emergencies — will issue emails and text messages conveying weather-related closings. Faculty, staff and students are encouraged to opt in to the service, which is free and available here.
When inclement weather is in the forecast, students, faculty and staff should be prepared to complete assignments and/or work remotely in the event of a university shutdown.
The university announces official weather-related closures (and schedule adjustments) in several ways beyond UNL Alert:
Ideally, local radio and TV stations will be notified about closures by 6 a.m. for day classes and 2 p.m. for night classes; and
Closings of university sites outside of Lincoln will be made by a responsible administrator and communicated locally.
If any of the messaging being reported is confusing, verify via the university’s main webpage or social media channels. Better yet, get those messages via text and email by signing up for UNL Alert.
Should I come to class?
Even if you hear “campus closed,” it does not necessarily mean classes are canceled. There are three primary options in the event of a winter weather-related closure announcement. Those options and terms you can expect to see are:
Campus closed, classes canceled — Stay home. All classes are canceled. The day is yours to enjoy or study as needed.
Campus closed, instructional continuity plans in effect — Stay home. Classes will not be held in-person on campus. Students should consult syllabi for what instructors will communicate in the case of an “instructional continuity” day. The instructional continuity plans vary by class and could include an assignment to be completed, a recording to watch or a lecture via Zoom.
UNL open — It is business as usual on campus with classes in session, offices open and all events being offered. This option is reserved for days when other Lincoln-area businesses and schools have announced closures and a clarification of UNL’s status is necessary. To prevent confusion, the “UNL open” option is announced via the homepage and never through UNL Alert.
When in doubt about a weather-related shutdown, turn to the university’s homepage.
Should I come to work?
For most university employees, the short answer is “no” when a campus closure is announced. On these days, the majority of employees should stay home if possible. However, the three options outlined above do not translate to a day off from work duties.
Needed on campus — Certain positions, such as police, residence hall and snow-removal personnel, have been identified as “essential” to help on campus during weather closures. Those employees are made aware of the designation when hired. Unless told otherwise, employees should assume they are not needed during weather emergencies and should stay home, if possible.
Remote work — When the university is shut down due to inclement weather, employees who have the capability should work from home or at an alternative location (as approved by a supervisor). Employees with alternative worksite capabilities are not eligible for inclement weather pay. If unavailable to work on an inclement weather day, these employees should opt for a vacation day or other applicable leave to account for hours not worked.
Unable to work from home — University employees with jobs that cannot be performed at an alternative location and have not been assigned a task to perform during weather closures, will be paid for the period based on their regular pay. Employees not scheduled to work these days will not receive inclement weather pay.
Policy for review — The University of Nebraska system policy that outlines inclement weather closure pay, which has been in effect since May 13, 2021, is available for review here.
What about campus events and specialized facilities?
Athletic and performing arts events may (or may not) be affected by campus closures. In the event of an inclement weather closure, ticketholders should call ahead or check related social media accounts to verify if an event will be held.
Before venturing out, members of the campus community should also verify (by phone or social media) if other campus facilities — such as Campus Recreation or the University Health Center — are open for the day.