UNO reveals plans for dealing with severe winter weather this academic year

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Zach Gilbert
NEWS EDITOR

As we enter the season for severe winter weather, UNO has amended its plans and policies to properly respond to these occurrences. Photo courtesy of Pexels.

On Tuesday, Oct. 20, the University of Nebraska Omaha (UNO) sent out its first “test” message for communication about winter weather via email to all students and staff, announcing adjustments to its policies to properly respond to inclement weather events.

As we look ahead to November and beyond, the temperatures are set to decrease and there will be a greater chance for the occurrence of snowstorms. Therefore, UNO set out to make its strategy for reacting to said circumstances known to all.

To begin, if a severe weather event were to occur, all students and staff would receive an email (similar to the one sent out on Tuesday) detailing how classes and campus operations will be adjusted.

However, the most notable news in Tuesday’s email was the revelation that classes will not be canceled this year for severe winter weather, nor will campus operations be suspended.

“Instead, all campus operations, including classes, [will be asked to move] to remote operations,” UNO stated in their email. “Yet, during the move to remote operations, previously designated personnel may still be asked to report to campus, and certain on-campus events may continue as scheduled.”

Naturally, with such a significant shift in their approach to handling harsh weather, UNO will notify students and staff of any and all additional accommodations as soon as possible.

“Out of an abundance of caution and with the safety of our campus community in mind, any decision to move campus to remote operations will be shared the prior day and will apply for the entirety of the day that is impacted,” UNO stated.

If inclement weather lasts for days at a time, UNO will keep students and staff regularly updated to how each individual day will be handled in regard to physical vs. remote operations.

Support services such as the UNO-Nebraska Medicine Health Center; Counseling and Psychological Services; Speech Center; Writing Center; and Academic Career and Development Center will still be available virtually during any days affected by inclement weather.

For students who do not own a computer or laptop and need a device to complete coursework, UNO recommends that they reach out to the UNO Helpdesk. At the UNO Helpdesk, one needs only present a valid MavCARD or Driver’s License and have previously completed the Student Checkout Form in order to checkout a laptop or apply for pocket WiFi rental. Both are provided at no additional cost, based on availability.

The UNO Helpdesk is located at Information Services Technical Support in 104 Eppley Administration Building. It is open during normal business hours (8 a.m. to 5 p.m.) Monday through Friday. For more information, one can reach the UNO Helpdesk by email at unohelpdesk@nebraska.edu or by phone at 402-554-4357.

Computers and other equipment can be borrowed for one week, and late rentals will result in an account hold and fines of $35 per business day until returned. Account holds can impact a student’s ability to register for classes or even graduate. In addition, if a student is late returning a technological device two times in a semester, they lose their privilege to checkout devices from the UNO Helpdesk.

UNO ended its email about responding to upcoming winter weather by noting that it would also alert students of any alterations to campus operations “through UNO Alert texts; posts on UNO’s Facebook and Twitter accounts; and an emergency banner on the UNO homepage” alongside further email correspondence.

Students can sign up for text alerts by visiting this link, and if they have any questions about UNO Alert or other emergency response resources, they can talk with Sgt. Dave Points at 402-554-3700 or dpoints@unomaha.edu.

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