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Adverse Weather Policies

Graduate Student Handbook

Closing the University/Delaying Opening

If weather conditions become hazardous overnight, a determination will be made by 6:30 a.m. as to whether or not a change in the opening of the university will be made. To find out about campus closures you can call the University’s News Hotline 610-758-6397 or sign up to receive notifications through HawkWatch alerts, which includes text messages, push notifications, emails, desktop notifications and voicemail messages sent to the campus community in the event of an emergency or a weather circumstance that may impact normal campus operations. 

Parking Regulations for Snow Emergencies 

"Snow Emergency" regulations are automatically in effect when the official accumulation of snow for the Bethlehem area reaches one inch.  "Snow Emergency" regulations remain in effect until 7:30 a.m. on the third day following the end of the snowstorm, unless canceled earlier.  You may contact the Lehigh Police to determine if a "Snow Emergency" is in effect.  The regulations that follow apply to ALL members of the Lehigh Community including students, faculty, staff, guests and visitors, etc.

  1. Prohibited parking regulations will be strictly enforced.  Violations during periods of snow emergencies carry a minimum fine of $50.
  2. Parking is prohibited on the lower campus for any reason between the hours of midnight and 7:30 a.m. unless otherwise posted.
  3. If classes are canceled and the university is officially closed, parking is prohibited on the lower campus until 7:30 a.m. on the day following the closing.
  4. Parking is prohibited on the lower campus from 5:00 p.m Friday through 7:30 a.m Monday. 
  5. In addition to the above, it may be necessary to temporarily close lots at other times or to temporarily close additional lots.  When this occurs, lots or areas must be vacated according to the posted snow emergency signs that specify a temporary parking area.
  6. It is the responsibility of the individual to ascertain whether the snow emergency regulations are in effect.  Violators will be towed at their own expense.

During and immediately following heavy snowstorms and drifting snow, crews work around the clock trying to keep roads open and parking areas clear.  Stranded and improperly parked cars make it impossible to complete this work in a timely fashion; therefore, compliance with snow emergency regulations and the complete cooperation of everyone is vital.  Remember, campus safety depends upon your cooperation.

Excusing Student Absences When Buses Are Not Operating

As noted under the University Policy on Handling Adverse Weather, the Provost issues decisions on whether or not the university will remain open during adverse weather.  On rare occasions when the university remains open in adverse weather, Lehigh buses may, however, cease to run, preventing some students from attending class.  In such cases, the absences of these students are to be excused and they are to be given extensions for submission of assignments or completion of quizzes, tests or exams they missed by their absence.

The most up-to-date information on bus stoppages can be obtained by going online to: bus.lehigh.edu or following the transit systems twitter count: @goLehightransit 

Instructor Decisions on Canceling Classes in Adverse Weather

The majority of College of Education classes meet on Mountaintop campus and, when there is adverse weather, conditions on Mountaintop can often be more treacherous than on lower campus, particularly in winter, when Mountaintop’s slightly lower temperatures are more prone to produce icing.  This problem may be further complicated by the fact that COE classes typically meet from 4:00-7:00 p.m. or 7:00-10:00 p.m., when plummeting winter temperatures or snow accumulations can produce increasingly dangerous driving conditions as the evening progresses.

There may be instances in which the university remains open, but instructors and students become concerned about personal safety.  Instructors may find themselves fielding inquiries about whether COE evening classes are to be held under the conditions described above.  And, since many students in COE graduate courses commute from some distance to reach campus, such inquiries may begin in mid-afternoon.  In addition, conditions along the routes these students must drive may be substantially worse than the conditions on campus.

Clearly, instructors should meet their classes whenever possible, particularly when the provost has decided the university will remain open during adverse weather.  That said, instructors and students are expected to behave rationally, including acting in responsible ways in terms of personal safety.  If, in the judgment of a course instructor, weather conditions are so serious as to put the safety of the instructor or his/her students at great risk, the instructor may cancel a class.  The expectation is that instructors will then reschedule the missed class for an alternate date.  

Further, an instructor may say to his/her students that they should use their best judgment about the risk in coming to class under such conditions and decide accordingly.  When an instructor has provided students with the ability to make such a judgment, he or she should then honor whatever decision the student makes, without penalizing that student in any way.  This may entail rescheduling class presentations, providing extensions to course deadlines involving class activities, or otherwise modifying sequences or requirements to accommodate that absence.