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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University November 15, 2004 | Vol. 34 No. 12
Are We Open? Here's How to Get the Fastest News on Snow Closings

By Dennis O'Shea

Yes, it's true that your favorite TV or radio station reports weather-related closings of local colleges and universities.

And it's true that Johns Hopkins reports its closings to those stations.

We suggest that you ignore them entirely.

Your fastest and most accurate source for Johns Hopkins snow closings and other weather emergency information at the university is the weather emergency phone line. It's 410-516-7781 or, from areas where Baltimore is a long-distance call, 800-548-9004.

The same information is also posted online at

Chances are that, on any given snowy day, calling the hot line or checking the Web page will just confirm that the university is open on a normal schedule. 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 late opening or a closure, outpatient 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).

All that information — and much more, about snow day shuttle bus schedules, Peabody Prep, evening classes and library and rec center operations — will be posted on the phone line and the Web site.

Radio and TV stations, which deal with closing announcements for scores of institutions, do not have the time to provide all the relevant information from Johns Hopkins. And since they must compress their Johns Hopkins reports so much, down to just a few words, the information you receive over the air can be misleading or, frankly, just plain wrong.

When you call the weather emergency line, there's no waiting. You don't have to wait for radio announcers to get through a long list of other institutions or waste minutes watching the crawl at the bottom of your TV screen. When you call, the latest information is there.

And it's there immediately. 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.

University policy on weather-related closings is also online, at

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.

Johns Hopkins Hospital's weather emergency policy is also online, at operations_integration/OPS/weather.cfm.


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