Office of Emergency Management

Emergency Cancellations and Delays Policy
Situation Normal

Classes are in session and offices are open.

Only the Governor of New York may CLOSE the campus. The University may DELAY office openings. The University may CANCEL any or all classes based on campus conditions.

In-person classes will be cancelled and office openings will be delayed only under extreme circumstances, such as severely inclement weather or other emergency situations.

Only the Governor may close New York State offices due to weather conditions. Because we are a state university, we follow New York State policies regarding office closings.


Prioritizing safety

Anytime there is inclement weather, but classes are in session and offices are open, students, faculty and staff should use their best judgment as to whether they feel comfortable traveling to campus. Because these circumstances occur only rarely, most professors are understanding of absences due to weather.

Students should notify professors if they expect to be absent from class, and faculty should communicate their plans to their students.

The University asks employees to notify supervisors of their planned absence and their intention to use leave credits, as appropriate. If the employee can perform their work from home in accordance with SUNY’s telecommuting policy, then they do not need to charge accruals.


How we decide to delay or cancel

The decision to delay office openings or cancel in-person classes involves Facilities Operations & Management, the president and the provost.

They consider factors including the forecast from the National Weather Service, inclement weather on and near campus, regional road conditions, and the ability to properly clear campus walkways and parking lots.

Classes may be cancelled for a full day or for part of a day. For instance, the University may announce that all in-person classes prior to 11 a.m. are cancelled, and that any classes that begin at or after 11 a.m. will meet.

Office openings may be delayed no later than 10:45 a.m., per New York State regulations.


How we communicate delays and cancellations

When the decision has been made to cancel classes and/or delay office openings, the Office of Communication & Marketing will take the following steps to inform our community:

  • Send an email to all students, faculty and staff via their addresses
  • Send an “NPAlert” text message (SMS) to all students, faculty and staff at the phone number on file
  • Post a message to the campus homepage

These communications are the official sources of information on SUNY New Paltz delays and cancellations and supersede any other available public information.

Announcements about delays and cancellations will be made as early as possible.

For overnight inclement weather that disrupts morning activities, we strive to make announcements no later than 6 a.m.

For inclement weather during the afternoon and evening, announcements will be made no less than 90 minutes prior to the cancellation of in-person classes. For example, an announcement will be published by 12:30 p.m. if we are cancelling classes after 2 p.m.


How we make up classes that are missed because of a cancellation

It is a requirement of New York State that faculty must make up all missed classes. For weather related cancellations:

  1. Asynchronous online classes are not impacted by cancellations and students can continue to work as previously planned.
  2. Classes that are combined online (meaning they included both synchronous and asynchronous elements) may pivot to completely asynchronous.
  3. Classes that are designated as synchronous online or hybrid can occur at the scheduled time with online delivery. Faculty must communicate with their students before deciding to do this. (If classes are being cancelled due to the weather, it is reasonable to assume that there may be personal challenges preventing usual course attendance and delivery.)
  4. For fully seated (i.e. in-person) classes and for hyflex classes, faculty should use the make-up days as listed on the academic calendar to schedule extra classes. (In a case where there are more missed classes than make-up days, please contact the Office of Records & Registration to schedule additional dates and times that are acceptable to the class.)

Note that classes that are missed for reasons unrelated to the weather, e.g., faculty illness, approved personal or professional reasons, etc., must also be made up.


Facilities Management priorities during inclement weather

During and after a significant snowstorm, Facilities Management staff will prioritize major arterial roads for snow removal like high-traffic walkways and roadways, especially the ones that connect critical service areas such as University Police, the Health Center, residence halls and food service. Priority is also given to ADA walkways as directed by the Disability Resource Center.

This means that some pathways will be given lower priority and may not be cleared immediately. Students who live on campus, and others who may be on campus during these events, should be aware of these conditions and take precautions accordingly.


Campus events during inclement weather

When in-person classes are cancelled and office openings are delayed, Facilities staff may not be able to keep up with snowfall or ice conditions to ensure all campus roadways and sidewalks are safe. Organizers of campus events should be aware of weather conditions and are responsible for cancelling or postponing events and informing the community of these decisions.


Communicating office hours & availability

Offices generally remain open during inclement weather, but it is common for them to be understaffed if employees opt to remain home for personal safety reasons. In such circumstances, it is important to inform students, staff and visitors that a specific office may be closed or operated with reduced staffing.

Individual offices and departments are responsible for communicating staff shortages using our “Office Hours & Availability” website. Simply click “Submit/Update Office Hours and Availability,” log into your account, select the office to be updated and upload the closing information.


Policies for essential and non-essential employees

During inclement weather events, essential state employees are expected to report to work.

Employees are designated as “essential” if they are employed in positions that must be staffed to preserve the public safety or welfare of the campus community. If you are uncertain about which category of employee you are (essential or non-essential), contact your supervisor for clarification.

Non-essential state employees may report to work unless there is an announcement that the governor has closed the campus. They may also choose to work from home via the current telecommuting policy, or request approval to charge leave credits.

Unless closed by the Governor, offices should remain open for those employees who are able to report to work. Thus, supervisors are urged to take advance steps to develop procedures for employees, such as establishing a staff telephone notification procedure, to ensure proper communication between supervisors and staff.


Energy use reduction

Periodically, the campus participates in mandatory energy use reduction directives during summer months and must cut back on our air conditioning use. While Facilities Management staff will make every effort to rotate the cycling on and off of our chillers to keep the buildings as comfortable as possible, we recognize that some working spaces may become uncomfortable. We apologize for this inconvenience.

In such circumstances, please remember that only the Governor can authorize an early departure from a state agency without charge to leave credits. Each employee must decide whether they wish to leave work early and must charge their leave credits if they do so. If the employee can perform their work from home in accordance with SUNY’s telecommuting policy, then they do not need to charge leave credits.

You can also help keep your working spaces cooler by closing blinds and turning off lights, where feasible. We would also ask that you close blinds and turn off lights and computers when you depart for the evening or the weekend.