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Winter weather notifications: Everything you need to know

January 10, 2019
small snowman on the quad as students walk past

Winter has arrived and the University’s emergency preparedness teams are ready with the plans and tools that keep the University operational and community members informed during snowstorms or severe weather.

Here is what you need to know:

The University, in general, remains in operation and continues with regular activities, classes, and services despite excessive snow accumulation or a winter storm.

The University is somewhat legendary for its winter weather resilience (Rochester Review 2015: “Can We Have a Snow Day?”) and is recognized by the National Weather Service as being “StormReady,” which means that in addition to being really good at snow removal, the University also has commendable plans for analyzing winter forecasts and conditions, and keeping everything running well.

However infrequent, there are times when the University does reduce or delay its operations and cancel activities due to really severe weather.

In these cases, AlertUR, the University’s official emergency notification system, is the first notice of any University-wide status changes. AlertUR sends urgent messages via text, phone call and email.

Now is the time to update: To receive AlertUR messages, University community members must keep their AlertUR phone and email settings current. Students, faculty and staff can use their NetID to update their settings any time at rochester.edu/alertur.

Key: all essential University staff members are still expected to report to work unless otherwise notified by a supervisor—employees are encouraged to work with their supervisor to understand their essential or non-essential status. All Medical Center employees–whether at Elmwood Avenue or any off-site location–are considered essential staff and are required to report even during severe weather, unless notified otherwise.

The Office of University Communications is responsible for delivering announcements to students, faculty and staff as soon as a change to regular University operations is known. In addition to AlertUR, official weather news channels include:

  • University email
  • University homepage: rochester.edu
  • Twitter: @UofR
  • Local TV and radio news stations
  • University Information Line: (585)275-6111.
  • URMobile: the University’s official mobile app (download it free app at http://tech.rochester.edu/services/ur-mobile, or by searching “URMobile” in your phone’s app store.  To allow push notifications through the URMobile app, on the app go to About/Preferences and then Notification Settings.)
  • Blackboard: Students should also check Blackboard for individual class cancellations as determined by an instructor.

University Facilities works around the clock to ensure that the University is accessible and safe in the event of a big snow event.

However, if an individual feels it’s unsafe to travel to campus, they should notify their professors or supervisor to work out the necessary arrangements for their absence or delay.

Snow day?

Weather reports are monitored continuously by trained University officials.They are looking at the severity of current conditions and predictions; expected duration of a storm; road conditions, both on campus and in the region; and how quickly snow can be cleared from sidewalks and parking lots. To understand the full decision-making process involved with a possible snow day, see: http://www.safety.rochester.edu/homepages/ep_homepage.html#weather.

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