January 17, 2007

VSU 2007 Hazardous Weather Conditions Communications PROTOCOL(Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall)

To: Members of the Valdosta State University community:


Winter weather advisories are rare for south Georgia. However, emergency preparedness experts tell us at the beginning of each semester (whether fall, spring, or summer) we should inform our students, parents/families, and faculty/staff of those media outlets that will carry news of VSU’s campus situation. As more of VSU’s students and their parents/families are in north Georgia and other parts of the state as never before, their travel to and from campus may be adversely impacted by severe weather.

As we continue into the winter season and head toward spring and summer it should be noted that Valdosta State University is regularly monitoring weather forecasts from the National Weather Service and other weather outlets for any possible hazardous weather that might impact the campus. This would include frozen precipitation, tornadoes, and tropical systems including hurricanes.

In the event hazardous weather is forecast with a projected track in proximity to the Valdosta and surrounding areas, the VSU web site will post an advisory as soon as possible with periodic updates.

Every storm and every situation may be different as to the impact on the Valdosta area and the VSU campus and community. The timing of the arrival of any storm, whether during a holiday, weekend or regular work week will certainly determine the proper course of action as well as will the forecasted impact and severity of the storm. Evaluations will be made on a constant basis concerning campus operations. VSU will be in communication with local, state and federal emergency officials to monitor the latest weather and public safety information both locally and around the state and region.

As a general rule, the VSU campus is never closed, especially during the regular school year when more than 2000 students reside within campus housing. Even when classes might be cancelled due to weather or other conditions VSU will be maintaining campus services unless otherwise indicated. This will require “designated VSU personnel” to be on duty under most circumstances or unless otherwise advised.

Communication regarding the status of VSU operations will be done primarily through the main university web site and email. The university is also scheduled to introduce a new notification system for cell phone users. News media outlets will also be utilized if there is any change in campus operations. In the event of the loss of electrical power on campus, every effort will be made to communicate through local and statewide news media outlets and through the University System web page. All Valdosta radio stations and specifically WVVS (FM) 90.9, WVGA (FM) 105.9, and WAAC (FM) 92.9, as well as VSU-TV, WCTV and WALB-TV will be the primary contacts for VSU. In addition, Atlanta area and other regional radio and television stations will also be contacted. Every effort will be made to contact these media outlets as soon as any change in VSU status is determined. It must be stressed that campus operations are normal unless an official announcement from VSU has been made to indicate otherwise.

As a general rule, and due to the abbreviated time those news media outlets have to make announcements, VSU announcements will be brief, stating that classes are closed or delayed for the day. Decisions on the status of faculty and staff reporting for duty may vary depending upon circumstances. This information will be communicated as soon as possible. “Designated VSU personnel” charged with public safety, physical plant operations, housing, essential food services or other specific duties, who have been told in advance that they should report for duty under emergency circumstances, should make every effort to arrive at campus for their designated assignments as quickly and as safely as possible.

All members of the VSU community, especially those who have been away in such places as the Atlanta area or other locations during a weekend or holiday where weather conditions may be different than in Valdosta, should use their best judgment concerning traveling to or from the VSU campus during such a weather emergency or threatening situation.

Additional emergency resource information may be found at the following web address:

http://www.valdosta.edu/news/emergency_resources.php