EKU Severe Weather Plan

Toe of Daniel Boone Statue covered with snow Download a PDF of the Severe Weather Plan

The Eastern Kentucky University Severe Weather Plan provides general guidance, organizational structure, and direction on readiness, response, and communication for a severe weather event, including basic procedures, resources, and guidance in preparing for and responding to severe weather.

Basic elements to understand about weather-related events at EKU include:

  • A severe weather event could occur at EKU day or night, at any time of year.
  • A severe weather event may require coordination of internal and external departments, organizations and agencies, including University, city, county, state and federal resources.
  • In a severe weather event, local, state and federal services might be unavailable.
  • Basic services, including electricity, water, heat, telecommunications and other utilities and information systems, may be interrupted.
  • Buildings and other structures may be damaged.
  • Normal suppliers of campus services and carriers of goods and services may be interrupted.
  • Students, faculty and staff may have limited ability to travel to or from the University.

Plan Objectives

  • Protect human safety during a severe weather event
  • Produce a quick response to a severe weather event
  • Protect the University’s property and assets
  • Activate an effective communications process for internal and external stakeholders
  • Initiate remote/virtual operations as soon as possible, permitting University work and academic instruction to continue with minimal interruption
  • Return promptly to normal academic and business operations as soon as possible

Area of Responsibility

The Senior Vice President for Finance & Administration and the Associate Vice President for Facilities Management & Safety will spearhead the coordination of the plan and will work with an assembled team to activate the appropriate weather plan.

Weather Assessment Team (WAT)

Steve Caudill – Chief Auxiliary Services Officer

Colleen Chaney – Chief of Staff, Chief Communications Officer

John Dixon – Executive Director, Human Resources & Institutional Equity

Bryan Makinen – Associate Vice President, Facilities Management & Public Safety

Brandon Moore – Director, Brand Management

Barry Poynter – Senior Vice President, Finance & Administration

Jill Price – Associate Vice President, University Outreach & Engagement

John Williamson – Superintendent & Dean of K-12 Programming

Sara Zeigler – Provost & Senior Vice President, Academic Affairs

Definitions

Employees should be weather-aware and as seasons change and winter or other severe weather seasons approach each year, it is wise to be prepared for possible weather events. Supervisors and employees should coordinate work plans, including securing a loaner laptop for the winter season if needed, as well as remembering to take the laptop home daily during the winter.

During severe weather events, academic instruction and University operations will transition to remote/virtual modes whenever possible and will continue with minimal interruption.

  • Designated Employees: Regular attendance on campus is required during a severe weather event. Designated employees must come to work at the normal, scheduled time. If a Designated Employee does not report to work or is tardy, he or she may be subject to corrective action, up to and including termination.

    ** Each Vice President shall identify Designated Employees within their respective areas, and coordinate and communicate with these employees as to their status as a Designated Employee. The unit Vice President should provide a listing of Designated Employees to the WAT no later than November 1 each year.

  • All Other Employees: All other employees shall work remotely during a severe weather event via computer and/or telephone throughout normal working hours. If remote access is unavailable, employees must notify their supervisor to make alternative arrangements, including the use of available vacation leave with supervisor approval. If an employee does not work remotely when able to do so, and does not make alternative arrangements with their supervisor, the employee may be subject to corrective action, up to and including termination.

Additionally, faculty shall include information and plans within course syllabi regarding a potential transition to remote/virtual instruction during severe weather. Students must communicate with their instructors regarding course work required during a transition to remote/virtual instruction.

Weather Assessment

EKU categorizes weather events by severity. Unless otherwise specified, regional campuses and Model Laboratory School will also operate within the parameters of this plan.

The following is a description of the various plans:

Normal Operations

Even though a severe weather event has occurred, steps have been taken to mitigate barriers and conditions are determined safe to proceed with normal, routine, in-person academic instruction and University operations.

Plan A:

Given existing weather conditions or the forecasted high probability of a severe weather event that may threaten human safety on campus, University operations and in-person instruction will transition to remote/virtual instruction for the day. For those classes that cannot shift to remote/virtual instruction, instructors should advise students as to appropriate measures, make-up activities, or revised deadlines. Students performing internship or clinical assignments should follow the rules imposed by the site-based supervisor. Online and eCampus instruction is unaffected.

Designated Employees should report to work at their normal scheduled time, or follow procedures established with department/office supervisors. All Other Employees should work remotely and should not report to campus in-person.

If remote access is unavailable for employees, employees are required to notify their supervisor to make alternative arrangements, including the use of available vacation leave with supervisor approval. If an employee does not work remotely when able to do so, and does not make alternative arrangement with their supervisor, the employee may be subject to corrective action, up to and including termination.

Plan B:

Due to severe weather conditions that may threaten human safety on campus and/or significant damage to University infrastructure, in-person as well as remote/virtual instruction are unavailable. The ability for employees to work remotely is significantly prohibited or unavailable. Online and eCampus instruction is unavailable; all classes are cancelled and University operations, including Model Laboratory School and Regional Campuses, are suspended until further notice.

Designated Employees should follow procedures established with their department/office supervisors for conditions that require their presence at work on campus. All Other Employees should check/communicate with their supervisor and should not report to campus in-person.

 For each plan, an update on the status of classes and University operations will be provided no later than 7:00 a.m. each morning.

Good Judgement Matters

When faced with a severe weather event, regardless of an official University announcement, the determination of safe travel or other unforeseen situations rests with the individual. Weather in Richmond may be different from weather in another area of the state; employees should coordinate with their supervisors to determine work attendance due to weather-related circumstances. For students, please coordinate with your professors to develop solutions for missed classes or work.

Essential Services

When academic instruction and University operations transition to remote/virtual status due to severe weather or other situations, the University must continue to provide essential services, primarily for residential students who live on our campus. It is the responsibility of unit leaders to ensure that these essential services continue to be provided for our students. Supervisors are required to identify those Designated Employees providing essential services during a severe weather event who are required to be present on campus; and supervisors must develop, coordinate, and communicate plans and responsibilities; and retain action plans on file within their areas of responsibility.

The following units/areas represent essential services and operations that are required to continue during a severe weather event:

  • Central Stores
  • Communications & Brand Management
  • Counseling Center
  • Custodial and grounds services
  • Dining Services
  • Facilities Management
  • Health Services
  • Housing
  • Human Resources
  • Information Technology Services
  • Mail Services
  • Payroll Services
  • President’s Office
  • Public Safety
  • EKU Police Department & 911 Telecommunications
  • Emergency Management & Security
  • Parking & Transportation Services

Further information about each of these units/areas and their hours of operation and availability during a severe weather event is available at go.eku.edu/weather.

Other Services and Operations

Depending upon scheduled activities during a severe weather event, other University services and operations may be required. Other services and operations include, but are not limited to:

  • Athletic events
  • EKU Libraries
  • Campus Recreation
  • Model Laboratory School events
  • Conferencing & Events Services
  • Student Life
  • EKU Center for the Arts

Further information about each of these units/areas and their hours of operation and availability during a severe weather event is available at go.eku.edu/weather.

Vendors and Third-Party Suppliers

The University relies on a number of vendors and third-party suppliers as part of normal University operations as well as in the performance of some critical functions for the University. As a result, the University must be familiar with their emergency preparedness plans and procedures, both to protect the interests of the University and its stakeholders and to ensure that these external resources will continue to support University operations during a severe weather event or some other temporary interruption of University operations.

Documentation from vendors and third-party suppliers should be provided to the WAT and updated by November 1 each year with names, position/role, and contact information for those individuals who are to be present during a severe weather event.

Communication Plan

The Communication & Brand Management Office will notify the campus community in a timely manner of any delay or suspension of University operations during a severe weather event or other emergency.

The Communication & Brand Management Office will utilize the following channels to distribute information and communicate with students, faculty and staff:

  • Rave alerts
  • Media notification – Television, radio, etc.
  • Website homepage banner (www.eku.edu)
  • Social media graphics and posts
  • Public Safety Line – 859-622-BADW (2239)

The communications team will push all weather-related information to go.eku.edu/weather as it becomes available

Model Laboratory School

Closing of the Model School due to weather will be communicated through the aforementioned channels. This information will also be disseminated via Model’s SchoolPointe system using phone numbers on file.

Conclusion

The University’s primary goal during a severe weather event is the safety of our students, faculty and staff. It is imperative that unit leaders establish with their employees clear instructions and expectations and coordinate and communicate those plans with the WAT.

Weather conditions are unpredictable, can change rapidly and may vary widely from area to area. Knowing and understanding these plans and utilizing them effectively as the basis for our coordinated campus response to severe weather conditions will help inform and protect the campus community.