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Adverse Weather: How To Know When You Have To Go

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Here’s your annual reminder about the university’s adverse weather policy for faculty and staff. New employees should especially pay attention, since you may not have experienced one of the occasional October Surprises that are now part of Lehigh’s lore.





The university has also launched an emergency/crisis volunteer database for employees. You can read more about the database and learn how to sign up here.



The university’s adverse weather policy classifies employees into one of three Adverse Weather Staff Classifications: 



  1. Essential Services Staff (ESS) are required to report to campus and remain on campus during inclement weather and other emergency situations. They are defined as those needed to deliver student services and maintain campus facilities, campus safety, and security. These staff members ensure the health, safety, and well-being of our students given that Lehigh is primarily a residential university.
  2. Instructional Staff (IS) includes exempt and nonexempt staff members needed in order to hold instruction.
  3. Non-Instructional Staff (NIS) includes nonexempt and exempt staff members who do not directly support class instruction and are not essential to ensuring health, safety, and well-being of students.

Unsure of your category? Your Position Description (PD) now includes your classification. To access your PD: 



  • Log on to the Campus Portal
  • Select the Employee tab
  • Choose Position Description Information in the Human Resources channel (you’ll need to scroll down to find the PD information)
  • Log into the PD Tool with your position number and password (Human Resources can provide both of these numbers if you do not know them).

Varying Conditions, Varying Scenarios

Now that you’ve confirmed which group you’re in, there are five possible scenarios that can happen during inclement weather. Decisions about these are made by the Provost after consulting with Facilities Services. These include: 


  1. The university remains open. All faculty and staff members are asked to report and classes will be held.
  2. The university remains open and classes are held. Instructional Staff and Essential Services Staff will report at the normal time. To allow for snow removal, Non-Instructional Staff would have a delayed start time.
  3. The university remains open and classes are held. Instructional Staff and Essential Services Staff are asked to report to work. Non-Instructional Staff are told not to report.
  4. The university is closed and no classes are held. Essential Services Staff would report for work and Instructional Staff and Non-Instructional Staff would not have to report to work.
  5. The university is closed early and classes are cancelled at which time Essential Services Staff would report for work or stay at work and Instructional Staff and Non-Instructional Staff would not report or leave work early.

It is important to note that the Provost is the only individual who makes the decision about campus operations in times of severe weather. Departments are not empowered to make individual ad hoc decisions to curtail university operations. 







Information Sources


Employees can access updated information through the university’s newsline at 610-758-NEWS (6397). Every effort is taken to ensure that information on the voicemail, along with the radio stations and other venues, is updated by 6:30 a.m. on days of inclement weather.  



We also encourage all employees to sign up for LU-Alerts, which provide text messages and email alerts regarding not only adverse weather closings, but also any potential emergency situations on campus. Go to the LU-Alert page on the Lehigh website to register.



If the university curtails administrative operations or cancels classes, the announcement will be made on local radio stations, on WFMZ-TV (Channel 69), and on the front page of Lehigh‘s internal website.

Other online resources include the 69 News website and the Reading Eagle.

 For more information on the Absence  Due to Adverse Weather Conditions policy (login required), please contact  Toni Lee Febbo at tlf1@lehigh.edu.

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Spotlight is published monthly by Human Resources. Please address any comments to Hillary Kwiatek, Spotlight Editor, Human Resources, 428 Brodhead Avenue, send email to hik210@lehigh.edu, or call extension 85165.

Current and past issues of Spotlight can be viewed and searched at: Past Issues.