College Operations During Inclement Weather

The Wheaton experience for students centers on the academic mission of our college but also includes the many other services and programs provided as part of residential community life.  Since Wheaton is primarily a residential college, it is important to ensure that we maintain these services when students are in residence on campus. In general, it is the college’s policy that we will seek to maintain college operations and not close the campus during times of inclement weather unless the college determines that the weather conditions are very hazardous or in the event of a state of emergency.

In the rare instances when the college may decide to close, delay opening, or close early, essential and emergency personnel (those responsible for maintaining the essential operations of the campus) as well as staff in some residential and other support areas will be required to report for work or remain at work. During times of inclement weather, supervisors are responsible for making determinations about staffing and department operations. As such, staff members should consult with their supervisor, and faculty should consult with their department chair if there are questions related to their department operations, teaching, and/or this policy.

Staff Working in Essential Service Areas 

Those departments required to remain open and the level of staffing needed will depend upon the type and severity of the situation, and whether students or others are present on campus.  Generally, Campus Safety, Physical Plant, Residential Life, SAIL, and Dining Services provide essential services and will be required to work.  In addition, when the college is in session, efforts will also be made to keep the Madeleine Clark Wallace Library open. Other services may be essential dependent upon the nature, scope and timing of the situation.

Supervisors in these essential services areas will establish appropriate procedures and protocols and will instruct essential employees in advance regarding their obligations during inclement weather or other emergencies.

Staff Working in Non-Essential Service Areas 

In general, staff in non-essential service areas are expected to work remotely in order to maintain and deliver services during times of inclement weather.  As such, staff should proactively consult with their supervisor about moving to remote work for the day during a weather-related event.

If the college is open and a staff member chooses not to come to campus or is not able to work remotely during a weather-related event, accrued personal or vacation time should be used.


Unless the college is closed, the faculty member who is not able to come to campus during inclement weather should consult with their chair and determine whether to reschedule their class, or move to remote teaching, so as to maintain the required number of contact hours per semester.

Faculty are expected to notify students about any adjustments or modifications to class content or class scheduling due to inclement weather through email and Canvas. Additionally, faculty should notify students, in advance and in their syllabi, that this is the procedure that will be used to contact them if a weather emergency occurs.

Campus Notifications About Weather-Related or Emergency Situations

Members of the faculty and staff are responsible for learning whether the college is open, closed or has a delayed opening.  This information can be obtained in the following ways:

  1. Check your college e-mail for a campus community message.
  2. Visit the college website for an announcement.
  3. If you have registered to receive emergency notifications, check your cell phone and/or personal email address for notifications and alerts.  (Instructions for Registering for Campus Incident Notifications can be found on insideWheaton under Campus Life > Campus Safety).
  4. Check local Boston and Providence television stations for updated information.

If there is no announcement or message on the college website, the college is open as usual.

If you have general questions about the Inclement Weather policy, please contact Human Resources.  Questions about teaching responsibility during inclement weather and other emergencies should be addressed to the Provost’s Office.