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NIU is ready to respond when inclement weather strikes

March 2, 2020

When inclement weather strikes, students and university employees have a number of resources available to stay informed regarding whether classes are cancelled or campuses are closed.

The decision to declare an emergency weather suspension of campus operations, including class cancellations, is a data-informed, consultative process involving several areas, including Public Safety, the Physical Plant, Environmental Health and Safety, and representatives from other university divisions.

Decisions concerning class cancellations are finalized by the provost, and emergency weather closures require presidential authorization.

Inclement weather
When inclement weather strikes, NIU is ready to respond. To help make any weather-related cancellations or closures, NIU uses available data to assign a numerical value to criteria contained within the NIU Severe Weather Model for School Closures. As a general rule, the university is always open until otherwise notified.

Winter Weather Advisories, Watches and Warnings
Check for current National Weather Service Winter Weather Watches, Warnings or Advisories for your location:

“The process for evaluating weather conditions before making a closure decision allows the university to weigh the potential safety risks presented by the forecasted weather and gauge how these risks may be mitigated by state and local snow and ice clearing operations,” said John Heckmann, associate vice president for Facilities Management and Campus Services. “The process also allows for a review of the campus operations and events which may be impacted by the weather so snow removal operations might be prioritized for best support.”

Heckmann said that snow and ice removal planning starts as soon as a forecast is available. Also, severe cold conditions are closely monitored by heating plant personnel to ensure building temperatures are adequately maintained.

“The response provided by NIU’s grounds maintenance, building services and heating plant crews commonly involves working under difficult conditions including darkness, cold temperatures and typically labor-intensive efforts,” Heckmann said. “These campus-wide efforts to clear snow and ice and maintain heat distribution occur whether the university is closed or open.”

In the event of inclement weather, any changes in operational status will be posted on the NIU Home page, NIU’s official Facebook page and the university’s Twitter feed. You can also view details about the operating hours of campus units or services during times when classes are canceled but campus remains open, or when classes are canceled and campus is closed.

As a general rule, NIU is always open until otherwise notified. It is the personal responsibility of all students, faculty and staff to make their own decisions and judgments concerning travel conditions. Go to NIU weather for more information.