FAQ - Students

What is defined as inclement weather?

Inclement weather can include any kind of extreme weather, usually snow or ice, which might create hazardous driving conditions or significantly impair normal operations at the University of Arkansas. Inclement weather may also include severe thunderstorm activity, tornadoes, flooding or other natural perils.

How does the university respond to inclement weather?

The university must continue certain operations during periods of inclement weather due to the needs of students, the requirements of ongoing research activities, and other factors. Generally, there are three possible responses to incidents of inclement weather:

  • Delayed opening: During a delayed opening, university officials will publicly announce the specific time at which the campus will open. This policy only affects students, on-campus classes and non-weather or event-essential employees who will be allowed to report to work by the designated opening time.
  • Early Dismissal: In the event of an early dismissal, the university will cease all on-campus academic classes and regular business operations at a publicly announced time. This policy only affects students, on-campus classes, and non-weather or event-essential employees who will be dismissed to go home.
  • Closure of offices and business operations: In the event of a closure, all day and evening on-campus classes will be cancelled, but instructors may choose to completely cancel their classes OR continue classes through virtual instruction at their regularly scheduled times. All offices and regular business operations will be closed. Students, faculty and non-weather or event-essential employees should not report to campus that day.

How does the university decide to remain open, delay opening or cancel on-campus classes and close business operations?

In the event of inclement weather, the university recognizes the need to address how such conditions may affect the overall operations of the institution. In general, the University of Arkansas Police Department and Razorback Transit authorities check road conditions in the early morning hours when inclement weather is expected to occur. Conditions are reported to university administrators who discuss via conference call whether the university should delay opening or cancel on-campus classes and close business operations. They make this determination based on the following four criteria:

  • Designated university transit bus routes are open to travel
  • Major commuter parking lots are safely accessible
  • Interstate 49, from County Line Road in Springdale to West Fork city limits, is open for travel
  • Conditions appear to allow students, faculty and staff to safely reach campus

Details on the university's policy for weather emergency procedure can be viewed on the Weather Emergency Procedure page.

On weekends, will the university make the decision to remain open, delay opening or cancel on-campus classes and business operations?

Yes. The procedures are similar to the decision-making process for Monday through Friday operations. Details can be viewed on the Weather Emergency Procedure page.

How do I find out if the university delays opening or cancels on-campus classes and closes business operations?

The university's primary means for communicating emergency information to students, faculty and staff – including information on weather-related delays, closure of non-essential offices and cancellation of on-campus classes – is WxALERT (weather alert). All students, faculty and staff are automatically enrolled to receive WxALERTs via email, as well as voicemail and text messages for those who provide cell phone numbers. Please note that students, faculty and staff must provide their cell phone numbers in UAConnect or Workday to receive any emergency alerts, including WxALERTS, from the university via cell phone/text.

In most cases where decisions on the university operating status can be made in the overnight and early morning hours, information on weather-related delays or closure of non-essential offices and cancellation of on-campus classes will be made via WxALERT by 6 a.m. Additional details on the process and timeline for weather emergency decisions can be viewed on the Weather Emergency Procedure page.

In addition to the WxALERT, the university employs secondary communication methods to disseminate weather-related closures, delays or other emergency information. These sources are activated after a WxALERT is sent, and should not be relied upon as the most timely and accurate information sources, since some are outside the university's direct control:

  • University of Arkansas home page: In the event inclement weather affects the university's operating status, a graphic link to detailed information and policies will be placed prominently on the university's homepage.
  • Social media: The @UArkansas social media channels will share campuswide updates after a WxALERT is issued. Other handles owned by individual colleges, departments and services may share updates on their operations as well.
  • Campus directory assistance: Call 479-575-2000 to get the latest information about the university's operating status when inclement weather strikes; this number often may be busy due to volume.
  • KUAF radio, 91.3 FM: The university's public radio station makes regular announcements if the university's operating status is impacted and assists in correcting errors in external media announcements.
  • UATV: The university's student-run television station manages the RIBTV Information Board in the early morning hours and makes announcements regarding the university's operating status.
  • External media: Local radio and television stations will be informed whenever the university's operating status is affected but should not be relied upon as a primary source of information.

If the university cancels on-campus classes for the day and closes business operations, when does it officially resume normal operations again?

Normal university operations, including all on-campus academic classes and business operations, will commence at the regularly scheduled time on the next workday.

If the university cancels on-campus classes, can my instructor teach my class virtually? 

Instructors may choose to teach their courses virtually using videoconference software like Microsoft Teams or Zoom.  If an instructor chooses to teach their course virtually during an inclement weather-related closure, they must record the sessions and make them available to all students via Blackboard. Instructors may not penalize a student for not attending a virtual meeting held during a weather-related closure and may not require assignments or exams to be due while campus is closed for inclement weather.

Why doesn't the university close when local school districts close?

Local school districts build snow days into their annual schedules and must make decisions that involve the transportation of small children – often across rural bus routes. The university, on the other hand, is essentially a residential community, where students depend on the campus to provide essential services like food and shelter, especially to students who live in residence halls.

Who is responsible for snow and ice removal on campus?

Multiple departments across campus coordinate to remove snow and ice from sidewalks, roadways, parking lots and building entrances. Specific information about these departments, including prioritized areas of snow and ice removal, can be found in the university's Snow and Ice Response Plan.

It is not uncommon for severe thunderstorms in northwest Arkansas to produce localized flooding, tornadoes and strong straight-line winds. In the event of a tornado threat, the campus is equipped with sirens that will go off if a tornado has been reported in the area. If a siren is heard in connection to a weather emergency, individuals should follow the tornado drill procedures appropriate for their location at the time.

General tornado safety tips include:

  • Do not go outside.
  • Seek shelter immediately in an interior hallway or a lower floor, away from windows.
  • Get under sturdy furniture if available.
  • Stay indoors until the all-clear signal is transmitted through the campus siren or another emergency notification system.