Extreme Weather Plan

Whenever possible, the university continues to function during inclement weather. Employees are expected to report for work and perform their job duties. Students are expected to attend class and meet other commitments. In some rare instances, conditions may result in the need for the institution to cancel classes and/or reduce campus operations.

Review Extreme Weather Plan


The university will issue a Hawk Alert and post the information on www.uiowa.edu. Updates will be posted to www.emergency.uiowa.edu.

To ensure timely notification, please make sure your Hawk Alert settings are up to date. Text message is the fastest way to receive an alert.


CAMBUS may continue to provide on-campus transit services during inclement weather conditions as road and weather conditions allow. The ability to operate in a safe manner will be the primary consideration when determining whether service can be provided. Notifications regarding potential operational changes to CAMBUS will be available on CAMBUS official apps and web pages. 

Dining Services

The university residential dining commons will provide meal plan service even when the university cancels classes or reduces operations due to inclement weather. However, the department may delay opening and/or close early if weather conditions impact operational capabilities. Meal plan participants will be notified by email of any changes in daily operations. Up-to-date information will also be provided via their web page or other designated methods of official communication. 

Departments and units hosting special events should make their own prior arrangements with employees and participants, notifying them how to proceed in case of inclement weather or an emergency.

In unique circumstances, where the safety of the participants and employees is not jeopardized, special events, such as ticketed concerts or athletic events open to the public, may be held upon approval from applicable university leadership.


In these situations, departments and units must ensure adequate services through coordination with Facilities Management, Campus Safety, and other units expected to support such operations and then submit their request via email to the UI Department of Emergency Management (DEM) via DPS-OEM@uiowa.edu or following other provided instructions. DEM will coordinate with the Provost and/or the applicable Vice President of the applicable requestor to determine approval.

Coordination and approval are essential for any organization, department, or unit considering adjustments to building access or hours of operation due to inclement weather.

Requests, along with relevant details, should be sent as early as possible to DPS-OEM@uiowa.edu by the entity requesting the change.

Emergency Management will coordinate with the Provost and designated members of the Severe Weather Awareness Group to review the request. The requester should wait for a final decision from the Provost before enacting any changes to building operations.

University employees are expected to make every reasonable effort to report to work as scheduled even in severe weather conditions. Please reference the Extreme Weather Protocol in the policy manual for specific guidance.

Units of the university providing essential services must remain open and in operation. These include but may not be limited to:

  • University of Iowa Health Care
  • Dental Clinics
  • Campus Safety
  • University Housing and Dining
  • State Hygienic Laboratory
  • Facilities Management

Employees are encouraged to actively communicate with their supervisor or other proper authority regarding their timeliness and attendance during extreme weather conditions to ensure proper staffing.

Whenever possible, employees should maintain awareness of local weather forecasts including potential impacts and anticipate the potential for delays in transportation. Upon evaluation of their individual circumstances, employees are expected to make reasonable judgements to avoid serious risks when traveling to and from work.

When delayed, employees may be expected to report to work as soon as they become available, unless otherwise excused by their supervisor, to meet operational needs. Supervisory staff are expected to utilize their discretion reasonably and humanely in relation to this policy.

Absences due to severe weather conditions may be addressed in the following manner, as applicable:

  • Employees may be authorized to perform work at home or an alternate location, to the extent such is available, practical, and feasible, and provided appropriate accountability.
  • Employees may be authorized to make up the time absent through an alternate work schedule within the same work week.
  • Employees may utilize accrued compensatory time (merit) or accrued annual leave (vacation), if available, to remain in pay status, or be placed on leave without pay.