Winter Weather Policy and Procedures

December 18, 2019

Decision Authority

The decision to close the University shall be made by the Chancellor on the recommendation of the Vice Chancellor for Business & Finance. This may be based on safety or security concerns including inclement weather and could consider local and regional conditions and forecasts, local and regional travel conditions, advisories, campus conditions, and available campus resources.

Winter Weather Considerations

Winter storms are not uncommon in Nebraska. Severe cold weather conditions can occur without much warning. Storms may be somewhat unpredictable as to their severity, exact affected area and times they begin or worsen. Whenever possible, the University continues to function during inclement weather. Regularly scheduled classes meet to the extent that students and faculty are able to travel to campus and attend classes. During these winter months, all students, faculty and staff are urged to use caution and personal judgment in their travels to and from campus and to dress appropriately for protection against cold temperatures and wind chills. With supervisor permission employees who are not able to safely drive to work may request vacation leave or leave without pay.

Notification Procedures

If classes are to be canceled or offices closed, University Communication will notify local radio and television stations and will place messages on UNL’s homepage and on social networks. University Police will issue an UNLAlert message. Every effort will be made to have closedown information announced publicly by 5:00 a.m. for day classes and campus operations and by 2:00 p.m. for night classes and campus operations.

In the absence of a specific announcement to the contrary, it should be understood that classes and other functions will continue as scheduled.

Essential Personnel

Selected positions have been identified as essential to provide for the safety and well-being of the campus community during UNL closings. Personnel are made aware of this designation at the time of hiring or reassignment to a position that is considered essential during a closing. Unless a position has been specifically identified as essential during a closing, the employee should assume his/her services are not required.

Campus Closing Options

Option #1 – All Classes and Campus Operations are Canceled

All classes (day classes) and events are canceled and all offices and clinics are closed at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Only those individuals required to report during closedowns should report to work. Some operations, such as student services, sporting events or performances, and intercampus transportation may or may not be affected by this announcement. See 'More Information on Winter Weather Closedowns.'

For information regarding pay and leave provisions for UNL employees please see:

Option #2 – Classes and Events Canceled; Personnel Report to Work

All classes (night classes), and events at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln are canceled; however, all other business will be conducted as usual. Therefore, all personnel should report for work. Some operations, such as student services, sporting events or performances, and intercampus transportation may or may not be affected by this announcement. See 'More Information on Winter Weather Closedowns.'

This situation may occur, for example, a severe storm begins or worsens after day classes have begun. In these instances evening classes may be canceled. Local personnel are still expected to come to work. In this situation there will be no administrative leave granted. Those not reporting for work may use vacation leave or leave without pay if there is no vacation leave accumulated. No additional time is granted for employees who come to work. In other words, it will be a normal workday for all employees.

Option #3 – Classes and Campus Operations Conducted as Usual

"The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is open and all activities will be conducted as usual."

Although the University is open during periods of adverse conditions, supervisors and department chairs may alter work schedules to make allowances for unique travel problems. This means employees must still account for their normal workday by working or taking vacation leave.


Address questions or requests for further information about closedowns to University Communication, (402) 472-2211. Questions pertaining to compensation and leave during winter weather closedowns may be addressed to Human Resources, (402) 472-3101.