The Washington, D.C., region can experience adverse weather include snow, freezing rain and ice during the winter months. Members of the George Washington University community are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the university’s adverse weather policy.
Adjustments to the University’s Operating Status
The university’s operating status is evaluated on a daily basis. If there is a need to alter the university’s operating status because of adverse weather, university officials will do their best to make decisions by 5 a.m. for morning operations and/or classes or by 4 p.m. for evening operations and/or classes. If there is change to the university’s status, information will be communicated through the following ways:
- Text and email alerts through GW Alerts. To sign up for GW Alert text messages or to add additional email addresses visit the GW Alert FAQs (campusadvisories.gwu.edu/gw-alert-faqs).
- GW’s homepage (www.gwu.edu) and Campus Advisories (CampusAdvisories.gwu.edu)
- GW Information Line (202-994-5050), Virginia Science and Technology Campus Information Line (571-553-8333) and School of Medicine and Health Sciences Information Line (202-994-2196)
- Social media via Twitter (@GWTweets) and Facebook.
In addition to the university’s operating status, some of GW’s campus services such as dining, transportation, or library hours may be affected during a winter weather-related event. Updates and changes to campus services will be posted and updated on Campus Advisories. Please check Campus Advisories frequently during adverse weather conditions for the latest updates or check the office/department’s Twitter account for the latest updates. Example: The Vern Express (VEX) updates passengers via its Twitter account (@TheVernExpress).
The severity and duration of weather conditions, the impact on roads and public transportation and the condition of campuses are several factors university leadership considers when determining GW’s operating status. In order to make decisions during a weather incident, the university gathers information from regional and federal partners including the National Weather Service, Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG), D.C. Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (HSEMA), Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), D.C. Department of Transportation (DDOT), and the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area, among others.
Preparing for Winter
Please make sure that you plan accordingly leading up to adverse weather conditions and continue to take appropriate precautions throughout the duration of a weather event:
- Prepare a kit containing items such as prescription medication, non-perishable food items, water, flashlight, a change of clothes, toiletries, cell phone and cell phone charger among other essentials. This is a good tip to practice throughout the year and not just during the winter season.
- Leave enough time to be able to walk safely from one building to the next. Avoid running, jogging, quickly changing directions or sudden stops to minimize chances of slipping.
- Dress appropriately while outdoors especially when temperatures are extremely low.
- Visit Campus Advisories (CampusAdvisories.gwu.edu) for additional preparedness tips and resources.
Designated On-Site and Essential Employees
- Designated on-site and essential employees perform specific critical and essential functions during an emergency or adjustment to the university’s operating status.
- Employees classified as Designated On-Site are required to report to and/or remain at work, employees classified as Essential are generally expected to telecommute, and employees classified as Non-Essential are not required to work unless directed to do so by a supervisor. If you are unsure of your classification, please ask your supervisor.
- Know your classification and review responsibilities with your supervisor. If you do not know your classification, please contact your supervisor prior to any adverse weather.
- Review “Preparing for Emergencies and Disruptive Incidents” [PDF] (CampusAdvisories.gwu.edu/
brochure), Employee Handbook (hr.gwu.edu/working-gw#3.13) or contact your HR Represeentatives for more information.
Winter Weather Resources
- National Weather Service Baltimore/Washington Forecast Office (weather.gov/lwx/)
- METRO: “Metro Service and Severe Weather" (wmata.com/rider-
- DC Department of Transportation: “District of Columbia Winter Snow and Ice Plan (including links to the Snow Guide and Snow Emergency Routes List and Map)" (ddot.dc.gov/page/district-columbia-winter-snow-and-ice-plan)
- WTOP Radio, WTOP.com and other local media for weather updates and community information
- Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang (washingtonpost.com/news/
- Washington Post: "Everything you need to know about snow in Washington, D.C." (washingtonpost.com/news/capital-weather-gang/wp/2016/01/12/everything-you-need-to-know-about-snow-in-washington-d-c/)