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Inclement Weather and Emergency Curtailment of Operations

Policy Number: AS-4000-003

Policy Title: Inclement Weather and Emergency Curtailment of Operations

Vice Chancellor/Associate Chancellor: Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services / Vice Chancellor for Budget, Human Resources and Financial Administration

Unit Responsible for Policy: Office of Preparedness and Response / Human Resources

Effective Date: February 2, 2023

Contact:  Assistant Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services / Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources

Policy Statement:

The University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) is never completely closed. Continuing patient care services, supporting students in residence, operating research facilities, and providing necessary support and administrative services for these essential functions, always require minimum levels of on-site operations.

In the event of extraordinary or emergency conditions, e.g., inclement weather, hazardous conditions, and/or public health emergency, the university will continue to operate during regularly scheduled hours. However, under such conditions, individual UIC campuses in Chicago, Peoria, Quad Cities, Rockford, Springfield, and Urbana may temporarily suspend or curtail some or all on-site operations, services, and/or classes in whole or in part, dependent on local needs and conditions. Deans, Directors, and Department Heads (DDDH) must consult with or have previously received approval from their appropriate Vice Chancellor when recommending a suspension or curtailment of on-site operations, services, and/or classes in whole or in part when the university is otherwise open.

In such instances of extraordinary or emergency conditions, all staff designated as “essential employees” by their supervisors and/or DDDH must fulfill their duties set forth in this policy to (1) ensure the continuation of mission critical university operations; (2) attend to the needs of students, patients, and other members of the UIC community; and (3) protect the university’s property and/or critical infrastructure.

Essential Employees

Essential employees are university employees required to report to work during an emergency, weather-related or otherwise, to ensure the operation of mission critical functions of the university community. Essential employees are designated by their supervisors and/or DDDH based on the nature of the emergency.

Employees designated as essential employees are required to work on-site, at their regularly scheduled time during a suspension or curtailment, unless otherwise specified by their supervisor. Essential employees must also work on a holiday, designated holiday, or gift day.

DDDH are responsible for identifying these mission critical functions and for informing the staff responsible for performing them that they are expected to report for duty as essential employees.

Attendance and Reporting to Work

Employee attendance is critical to UIC's ability to provide services and maintain operations. Each departmental emergency response plan must include expectations for reporting to work when the UIC Emergency Operations Plan is activated.

If a UIC campus has suspended or curtailed any of its operations, supervisors will notify affected employees, who are currently assigned to on-site work, whether the employee is permitted to perform their work duties remotely. Staff who have a telecommuting/remote work agreement in place with their department are expected to telecommute/work remotely and will receive regular pay for hours worked. Staff who do not have a telecommute/remote work agreement in place with their department, who are not able to commute to campus and who wish to be paid, may request that the time missed be charged to vacation time or make other arrangements. Alternate arrangements are subject to approval by the staff supervisor and unit head and must meet all university rules and regulations.

Cancellation of Classes

All in-person classes will be canceled if, in the judgment of the Chancellor and in consultation with the Provost and the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, the Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs, and the Chancellors Emergency Operations Group, the health and safety of students, faculty, or staff would be seriously jeopardized. Even if in-person classes have been canceled, buildings and offices will generally remain open unless otherwise specified, and special events may take place as scheduled.

In individual cases, an instructor may need to cancel an in-person class. Instructors must notify college and departmental offices of such cancellations. All students registered in the class must be informed promptly by e-mail and/or Blackboard, and the work must be made up later in the semester with reasonable consideration of student time conflicts.

In-person classes and/or labs can move online, if an online version already exists or if the faculty consider they can make the transition to accommodate the course material and learning experience. Faculty are asked to consider the circumstances that some students may be facing regarding internet access and availability. If the transition to online instruction is not manageable, alternative educational experiences or cancellation are options.

As with remote classes, instructors are expected to communicate directly with students regarding class expectations. In the event that UIC changes its operating status such that classes are impacted, any online instruction planned to take place is expected to continue.

Faculty and staff with non-instructional responsibilities are not excused when classes are canceled unless excused in accordance with the terms of this policy.

Students on clinical placements/rotations (including field placements and/or community work) with on-going patient care (client) activities are expected to attend their activities if possible. Students who are unable to report to their hospital or clinical site (field placement) must notify the clinical team as soon as they can do so safely. There will be no penalty for students who are unable to report to their clinical placements/rotations due to severe weather considerations.

Maintaining Continuity of Operations

Each UIC department/unit is responsible for determining its most critical functionality and the appropriate staffing levels for business, instructional, and research continuity during activation of the UIC Emergency Operations Plan. Expectations and responsibilities for employees during such plan activation must be communicated to them in advance.

Upon receiving notification that the University is Operating Under Emergency Conditions, each department/unit is expected to respond in accordance with the established continuity plans for that department/unit. This will provide effective continuity management and resumption, recovery, and reconstitution strategies that will help sustain, restore, and recover university operations.

Departmental continuity plans must delineate critical functions, services, and employees; leadership succession; emergency delegations of authority; the safeguarding of vital university records; alternative modes of communications; emergency acquisition of resources necessary for business resumption; alternative staffing allocations; teleworking capabilities to work remotely or at alternative sites until normal operations can be recovered/reconstituted; migration to virtual learning environment; and just-in-time training for faculty and staff.

Reason for Policy: This policy provides guidance to the campus community regrading campus operating policies and procedures, the identification and use of essential employees during campus emergencies.

Minority Impact Statement: The policy does not have a disproportionate or unique effect on UIC’s minority students, faculty, or staff.

Who Should Read the Policy:  All students, faculty, staff, and administrators at UIC.


Related Laws, Regulations, Statutes, and Policies:

Document History: 

Approved by: Committee on Policy, Chancellor
Approved as: New Policy