Winter Weather Ahead: Check the University Policy

Posted: November 30, 2006 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

With a snowier-than-usual winter forecasted for the Northern Virginia area, it’s probably a good idea to familiarize yourself with the university’s inclement weather plan.

In the event of inclement weather or another major event, the university announces class cancellation, delay of classes and changes to administrative office hours through the university switchboard, 703-993-1000; the George Mason home page,; GMU-TV; and local radio and television stations.

The Inclement Weather and Emergency Condition Plan for the university can be viewed here in its entirety. Below are some highlights of the policy:

  • A decision on closing the university or having a late opening due to weather will be based on the condition of campus roads, parking lots, surrounding roads and main arteries. Every effort will be made to decide by 6 a.m. A closing for other reasons, such as an emergency condition, will be made and communicated to all affected individuals as quickly as possible in accordance with emergency notification procedures.

  • Whenever possible, each of the three campuses will follow suit when it comes to closings and delayed openings, although – because of varying weather patterns or the localized nature of an emergency condition – all the campuses may not close or open at the same time.
  • If hazardous conditions make travel unsafe even if classes have not been cancelled, teaching faculty will notify department chairpersons when they are unable to conduct classes. Academic departments should make every effort to inform students when an individual faculty member is unable to make it to campus because of travel conditions. If classes are cancelled but the university is open, teaching faculty need not come to campus.
  • Decisions to close one or more campuses, open late or close early due to emergency conditions other than weather will apply to all organizations and activities unless specifically exempted at the time the decision is made. This policy applies to all faculty, staff, students, volunteers, visitors, guests and contractors at all George Mason University owned and leased locations. On days of early closings, external groups sponsoring events complete those events at their own risk.
  • In the event that classes are cancelled during the last week of scheduled classes, the appropriate reading days in the following week are to be used to make up those classes. However, no exams may be scheduled during the makeup class sessions.
  • Unless specific announcements extending cancellations are made, classes will resume the next regularly scheduled class day and the university will re-open at the beginning of the next morning shift or regular business day.
  • Although Virginia Department of Human Resource Management policy applies only to classified employees, the university extends the spirit of this policy to the entire university community. In general, the state policy is that persons will not be penalized when inclement weather causes them to miss work. Further, those designated personnel required to report to work when the university is otherwise closed will be given compensatory leave for this work.
  • Under hazardous weather conditions, lost time will not be charged to the employee’s leave balances or to leave without pay when road conditions and transportation difficulties cause either a designated or a nondesignated employee to arrive late. In this case, the university may determine that the conditions and difficulties justified the tardiness, and no disciplinary action will be taken. Designated personnel are those employees designated by their departments as necessary to the maintenance of operations and services to the university.

Human Resources and Payroll is responsible for maintaining and running George Mason’s internal “snow tree.” The snow tree is triggered when a decision is made by the provost and the senior vice president to close the university early.

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