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Severe Weather

Oswego is prone to experience heavy snowfall. The college has established procedures, as indicated below, to manage the difficulties that winter storms may cause.

Class Cancellations

To find out if classes are canceled because of inclement weather, members of the campus community have several options:

  • Check SUNY Oswego's homepage
  • Sign up to receive alerts 
  • Listen to radio and television: 
    • TV Channels 3, 5, 9 and 10 in Syracuse, 
    • the WRVO Stations (FM 89.9 to 91.9 throughout Central Upstate New York); 
    • WHAM 1180 AM in Rochester.

Classes will proceed as scheduled unless official announcements of cancellation are made.

When classes are canceled, faculty and commuting students are advised not to come to campus.

Day vs. evening classes

Day classes begin at 8 am, evening classes begin at 4:30 pm and after. Classes beginning before 4:30 pm are day classes regardless of when they end. 

Campus officials try to decide by 5:30 am about canceling day classes and by 2 pm for cancellation of evening classes, though this is not always possible. The announcement process typically takes up to another hour to reach all communication channels.

Off-campus classes

Faculty teaching classes off campus should follow the weather closing policy governing the class site and inform students how to find out if their class is canceled.

Our Syracuse branch campus may not always follow the same procedure as the main campus. Cancellations at the Syracuse campus will occur either class by class, with notification via the professor or as an announcement on

Individual class cancellations

The public announcement of class cancellations only occurs when the entire campus of thousands of students and faculty are affected. Individual class cancellations do not require broadcast across Central New York. Faculty members wishing to cancel their own classes should follow the same procedure used when they are ill.

Personal safety

Individual students and employees are responsible for their own personal safety to a large extent. If you feel it is unsafe in your area to travel to class or work, you should not travel, regardless of whether classes are canceled. These resources can help you make that determination:

Campus closing

Only the governor has the authority to close a state agency such as SUNY Oswego. Unless the governor closes the college, employees who choose not to come to work or to leave work early are required to charge their time. The only exception is for instructional faculty when classes have been canceled.

States of emergency

Cities and counties in Central New York may declare a state of emergency in order to qualify for state or federal aid. They may also declare states of emergency that require the public to cease normal activities, such as parking in city streets or possibly even driving on streets and highways. It is important for commuters to determine if a "state of emergency" is aimed at prohibiting their travel or not.

Procedures to cancel class

When weather interferes with mobility on campus, the President or the President's designee will be faced with a decision to cancel classes at SUNY Oswego and the Syracuse Campus.

The President or the President's designee will consult with the Associate Vice President for Facilities and University Police Chief before making a decision. If possible, the decision to cancel daytime classes should be communicated to the Public Affairs Director by 5:30 am to ensure radio announcement before 8 a.m. classes. If possible, the decision to cancel evening classes should be made by 2 pm to insure radio announcement before 4:30 pm classes. Evening classes are those beginning at 4:30 pm and after.

The college community is informed how to find out when classes are canceled through:

  • Campus Update and Student Notes
  • Student Handbook
  • Faculty Handbook
  • College catalog
  • Online, via this website

Faculty and students in off-campus classes are informed how to find out when off-campus classes are canceled in a bulletin prepared each fall semester by Public Affairs. The Public Affairs Director gives the bulletin to the Deans, the Dean of Graduate Studies and Director of Extended Learning for distribution to faculty teaching off-campus classes, who in turn distribute it to their students.

External announcement

The President or the President's designee will alert the Communications and Marketing Director of a decision to cancel classes (or, in the Director's absence, the Associate Director). The Communications and Marketing Director and Associate Director will send messages via the following channels:

  • New York Alert 
  • Post a message on the college's homepage
  • Inform Centro of Oswego
  • Call TV Channels 3, 5, 9 and 10 in Syracuse and 50 in Watertown
  • Call the WRVO Stations - FM 89.9 to 91.9 throughout Central and Northern New York; Syracuse Clear Channels including WSYR 570 AM, B104.7 FM and Y94FM 94.5; and WHAM 1180 in Rochester. The stations have agreed that the Director and Associate Director of Public Affairs and the Vice President for Administration and Finance are the authorized callers from whom they will accept class cancellations.

Once these calls have been made, the decision to cancel classes should not be reversed.

Internal announcement

The President's designee will also notify internal campus authorities, as necessary: 

  • the President
  • the Academic Vice President/Provost
  • the Vice President for Administration and Finance
  • the Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students
  • the Vice President for Development and Alumni Engagement
  • the Switchboard

Facilities, University Police and Communications and Marketing should be alerted during the decision. The Vice President for Student Affairs will alert members of that division as they deem appropriate—Residence Life and Housing, Campus Information Channel, etc. 

If classes are in session at the time of the decision, the Provost will alert the Deans, who in turn will alert the academic departments.

Off-campus classes

The weather cancellation/closing policy governing the class site applies to off-campus classes. The decision to cancel events in an off-campus building, and the announcement, will be made by the operators of the building, not by administrators at SUNY Oswego.

Snow Plowing

The college has established priorities for snow removal with the Grounds Department. First priority includes all campus roadways, commuter and employee parking lots, residential lot driving lanes, and sidewalks.

Resident parking lot plowing notification

Once the above areas are cleared, the grounds crew will move to clear the resident parking lots. The grounds supervisor, a University Police supervisor, and a Residence Life and Housing Office representative will determine the lots to be plowed on that day. By noon, a “Notice of Intent to Plow Certain Lots” will be posted in all residence halls. A sign will also be posted at the entrances to all lots that are to be plowed. In the larger lots, plowing will generally occur between 8 and 11 pm, depending on the workload and current conditions.

Cars not removed by the designated time will be ticketed and towed at the owner's expense.

If a snowstorm should occur between the time the notice is posted and the actual snow removal time, the grounds crew may suspend their scheduled resident lot plowing and plow higher priority areas.

Resident motorist assistance

Approximately an hour and a half before the time established for plowing, a University Police car and a tow truck will be available at the designated parking lots to assist students in removing their cars. The truck will help with jumper cables for cars that cannot be started. University Police will assist in directing traffic during this operation.