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Index > Operations Policies > Inclement Weather Policy

Inclement Weather Policy


Because RISD is a residential college, its activities necessarily continue despite any inclement weather, and it, therefore, will close only in the most severe circumstances.

The authority to close operations is vested in the Provost and VP Campus Services in consultation with the President. In making a determination to cancel or delay scheduled classes and academic functions and close or delay the opening of administrative offices, the Provost and VP Campus Services shall consult with various internal departments regarding the current and anticipated weather conditions around campus for safe travel. In making this decision, the Provost and VP Campus Services shall be guided by the following principles:

  • As a residential community, RISD should remain in normal operations at all times to the fullest extent possible.
  • Faculty and staff are not expected to put themselves in harm’s way traveling to and from work. If travel to and from is too hazardous, they may consult with their supervisor to make alternate arrangements or use a vacation day. Employees who are considered “essential” may still be required to report to campus.
  • A parking ban in the City of Providence will not necessarily affect normal operations of RISD (with the exception of Continuing Education classes). A decision to delay or close the campus will be made after an assessment of the accessibility of parking lots, walkways and city streets.
  • When a decision to close or delay opening of administrative offices and cancel or delay classes, it shall be communicated via the following methods:
  • Members of the faculty who deem it unsafe to get to or from the campus may, at their sole discretion, choose to cancel their own classes. Faculty doing so are responsible for notifying their Dean and Department Head. Faculty should also notify their students directly and make arrangements for make-up classes.
  • If staff members are not required, academic buildings may remain open to students and faculty when RISD is closed (depending on weather conditions). If students wish to use open academic buildings, it is at their discretion and judgment. Shops will only be open when staff members trained to operate and enforce proper safety precautions are present.
  • The decision to close or delay opening of administrative offices and cancel or delay classes will be made as late as possible due to the changing nature of weather conditions in our area. If the weather event occurs on a regular business day, all efforts will be made to notify the campus by 6:00 a.m.
  • Staff members who have been designated “essential personnel” – typically in the areas of Public Safety, Facilities, Dining, Residence Life, and Central Control – are considered essential and function on a 24/7 basis. Staff members are to report to campus regardless of weather conditions and in accordance with the department procedures. Please see RISD’s Weather Closing and Pay Policy for more information.

*Because the RISD Museum and Continuing Education provide services to the general public and fall outside of the scope of the residential services that must continue despite weather conditions, the decision to close the RISD Museum and/or Continuing Education is deferred to their respective Directors in limited circumstances, i.e. when the academic and administrative offices are closed, Saturday, Sunday and Holidays and no campus wide decision is made by the Provost and VP Campus Services. In all cases, the decision to close is made in close coordination with the VP Campus Services.

Revision history

This policy was created on: 11/22/2011

This policy was last reviewed/modified on: 11/25/2014

Next scheduled review will be on the following date or as needed: 11/25/2021


Issuing Office

Department of Risk, Emergency Management and RISD Property Holdings

Responsible Officer

Senior Vice President of Finance and Administration

Individuals/offices required for review and changes

Director of Risk, Emergency Management and RISD Property Holdings

Vice President of Campus Services

Office of the Provost