Should snow ever find its way to Baltimore this winter, there will be one question it brings in its wake: Is Hopkins open or closed?
The best way to find the answer is to call the university's weather emergency telephone line: 410-516-7781 or, from areas where Baltimore is a long-distance call, 800-548-9004.
Johns Hopkins policy is to remain open whenever possible, both because so many employees and students are involved in patient care and because minimizing interruption of teaching and research is a priority.
Even on those rare occasions when there is a closure, clinical services usually remain open. Required attendance employees in nonclinical departments of the university also have to get to work (check with your supervisor if you are not sure whether you are a required attendance employee).
The phone line offers several advantages over radio and TV reports:
Immediacy. As soon as the university decides what to do during a snowstorm, the weather emergency line message is recorded. That usually occurs by 6 a.m. after an overnight storm. Decisions on part-time evening classes are usually made by 1 p.m. During major storms, the line is updated frequently with new information on library hours, shuttle service, etc.
No waiting. You don't have to wait for radio announcers to get through a long list of other institutions.
Completeness and accuracy. In a weather emergency, Hopkins has a lot of information to convey to students, faculty and staff. Broadcasters have time to mention only the bare minimum, and sometimes they even get that wrong.
Information posted on the phone line is also available on JHUniverse. From the home page at www.jhu.edu.
click on 'Today@JHU' and then click on the 'JHU Emergency Information and Weather Alerts' link.
University policy on weather-related closings is also online, at www.jhu.edu/~hr1/pol-man/appdxj.htm.
The sections on the Required Attendance Plan, Liberal Leave Plan and Delayed Arrival Plan explain what happens if those options are invoked by the university.
The Johns Hopkins Hospital's weather emergency policy is also online, at infonet.welch.jhu.edu/jhu_only/hos_policy_on_policy/ OPS-001.WEA-Inclemen.html.