West Virginia University’s year-round philosophy is to provide educational services to students and maintain operations, unless weather or other conditions are so severe that closings and/or delays are necessary, said Scott Kelley, vice president for administration, finance and human resources, in response to recent weather-related queries.

It is rare for WVU to close. Like other area businesses and organizations, we start with the premise that WVU will maintain operations and continue services, whenever possible. However, if in our judgment, the campus is unable to operate in a safe and effective way, we will consider delays or closings. It is always a difficult decisionone made by considering all available data.

Using weather as an example, Kelley said key personnel track the conditions and forecasts in and around the area. When snow or frigid temperatures are in store for the area, Physical Plant workers are on the scene in the wee hours of the morning evaluating conditions, clearing roadways, parking lots and sidewalks, and generally checking conditions such as heat and water in campus buildings. That information is relayed to him, and in consultation with the president, a decision is made.

If the decision is to close, then it is made prior to 6 a.m. so that local and area media can broadcast the messagebefore most employees would leave home for work.

ASafety is always our first concern, Kelley noted, Abut it is also important to note that as a University we are significantly different than the public school system or even a community college, where a large number of students ride school buses or commute. The majority of our students and employees live on or close to campus.

Kelly says even when WVU continues to operate, students and employees must use their own judgment as to the safety of the conditions in their respective areas.

AWe truly want people to be safe. So, if conditions in a respective area are different than the main and campus roadways, then they should exercise their own good judgment, he said.

There are various policies in place to accommodate such situations. For example, staff may utilize annual leave if they are unable to get to work.

Students that have a problem getting to campus should, in turn, let their instructors know of their respective situations. AI find most faculty and college-school administrators are understanding and will work with students in these situations,@ he said.

So, even when WVU remains open, Kelley said he realizes everyone may not be able to get to campus.

AWe want people to use their best judgment, just as we do when making decisions about closings or delays, he said.

Private industry operates much the same way, he noted. AA bank or mall would most likely keep operating for their customers, even if not all their employees or customers could be there.

Sometimes, just part of campus might experience a closing. Using a recent example, Kelley said a water and gas line break on Jan. 25 caused problems at the University Services Building, prompting administrators to send employees home for the day.

Without water or heat, it would be difficult to work, so we sent those employees in that building home, he said.

Individuals are also encouraged to take some personal responsibility, he noted. AIf it’s freezing outside and you have several blocks to walk, dress in layers. If your car doesn’t start and you’d have to hike several miles in those conditions, then look for other arrangements or call and say you can’t make it.