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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University December 15, 2003 | Vol. 33 No. 15
What You Need To Know in the Event of Snow: 410-516-7781

If you woke up to the first snowstorm of the season wondering whether you should haul out your boots or go back to sleep, here's the phone number you should have on your bedside table: 410-516-7781, or, in areas where Baltimore is a long-distance call, 800-548-9004.

Those phone numbers connect to the weather emergency hot line, which the university uses to announce if bad weather has forced the university to close, open late or cancel any classes.

Chances are that the hot line 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 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).

Many students, faculty and staff are accustomed, on snowy days, to listening to the radio or watching television for information on the university's status. Here's why calling the weather emergency line is better:

There's no waiting. You don't have to listen to announcers go through a long list of other institutions or watch words crawl across the bottom of your TV screen.

Immediacy. As soon as the university decides what to do, 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, evening classes, Peabody Prep classes, etc.

Completeness and accuracy. In a weather emergency, Johns Hopkins has a lot of information to convey to students, faculty and staff all over the Baltimore-Washington area. Broadcasters have time to mention only the bare minimum, and sometimes they get even that wrong.

Information posted on the phone line also is available on the Web. From the home page at, click on "Today@JHU" and then click on "JHU Emergency Information and Weather Alerts."

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 weather_hopkinsink_03.pdf.


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