When It Snows, Be in the Know--By Phone When bad weather strikes, consider going to the phone, not your radio. For the third year in a row, students, faculty and staff wondering whether heavy snowfalls have canceled classes or closed university offices can call the university's weather emergency hot line. Callers in Baltimore can dial (410)516-7781. Outside the immediate area, dial 1(800) 548-9004. "The phone line has the best information available on university operations during bad weather," said Dennis O'Shea, director of communications and public affairs. The university also relays information on closings to Baltimore and Washington area radio and television stations, O'Shea said. "But the weather emergency line is a better bet for three reasons," he said. First, if Hopkins is open, broadcasters will not report that fact. The phone line will. Second, with scores of closings to report, broadcasters sometimes make mistakes. "There was major confusion two winters ago when some stations got our message wrong and gave out bad information," O'Shea said. Third, broadcasters don't have time to relay all the information relevant to students and employees of an institution as complicated as Hopkins. But all weather-related information-- whether for day, evening or weekend classes or offices at any campus--will be reported on the phone line. The system can handle hundreds, even thousands of calls an hour, depending on the length of the message. Home computer users can also access the same information on JHUniverse at http://www.jhu.edu/~news_info/jhuinfo/emergncy.html (Note: the third "e" is missing in "emergency.") The university's policy is to remain open for both students and employees whenever possible, in part because many full-time students live close to campus and because university employees provide patient care at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Evening and weekend classes are more frequent cancellation victims because adult part-time students tend to have to travel farther to campus. Some staff are "required attendance employees," who must report to work even when university operations are curtailed. Anyone with questions should check with their supervisor.
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