Important information about snow policies and how to sign up for emergency weather notifications

Emergency notices will be posted to and featured on the hotline at 410-516-7781

It finally happened: the forecast has called for snow for the first time this season! Time for boots, hot chocolate, and sledding!

Animated GIF shows a panda playing in the snow

Image credit: Giphy / The National Zoo

Oh wait—we're humans with classes and work and exams to prepare for, and not Tian Tian the panda playing in a world of wintery delight? Well in that case, we better know the university's closure policies and where we can find out information at a moment's notice. Below is a list of important numbers, websites, and policy summaries to stay informed when the flakes begin to fly.

The latest information about changes to normal university operations will always be available in two places:

  • The Johns Hopkins emergency hotline at 410-516-7781 or, from outside the Baltimore area, 1-800-548-9004.
  • The Johns Hopkins emergency notices web page at

It's a good idea to program at least one of those phone numbers into your mobile phone and to bookmark the web page. Information on a closure or delayed opening is posted on the web page and phone line as soon as a decision is made. After an overnight snowfall, that's normally around 6 a.m.

An important reminder: Johns Hopkins remains on a normal schedule when possible, both because minimizing interruption to teaching and research is a priority and because so many university employees and students are involved in patient care. Students and employees should be sure to build extra time into their travel schedules on days when conditions are less than perfect. Be sure to wear boots or shoes appropriate for conditions on those days.

Subscribe to Johns Hopkins Emergency Alerts

The university makes critical safety-related announcements by text message through the Johns Hopkins Emergency Alerts system. If you are not a subscriber, it's wise to sign up now by logging into with your JHED ID and password and going to "My Profile/Emergency Alerts." Complete the step-up authentication procedure. Then make sure your correct cell phone number and mobile carrier are entered, check "Receive Emergency Alerts," and tick the appropriate campus check box or boxes. Be sure when you're finished to click "Save myProfile" at the bottom of the page.

Summary of Weather Emergency Policy for university staff

When conditions require curtailment of the operating schedule of the university or a particular campus or unit, the change will be announced on the university weather hotline and website. Staff may be designated as required-attendance employees. Expectations for School of Medicine required-attendance employees who work in clinical areas may be aligned explicitly with Johns Hopkins Hospital inclement weather policies and guidelines.

There are two types of required attendance employees: an onsite required-attendance employee must stay at work or report to work. This employee is one who is vital to the operation of a work group and whose presence and critical services are required regardless of the emergency. Required-attendance employees who do not stay at or report to work may be considered absent without approval pending discussion with their supervisor. An offsite required-attendance employee is one who may best be utilized during an emergency by working from an alternate offsite location, either the employee's home or elsewhere.

Each unit or department defines its staffing requirements. Supervisors should annually and in writing designate required-attendance employees of either type. If your status is unclear, discuss it with your supervisor.

A third category is the non-required-attendance employee asked to work. At the discretion of a unit or department, employees not previously designated for required attendance may be called to work on a case-by-case basis. They may be required to report to work, work from home, or report to a designated alternate work site during the emergency. When possible, employees should be given advance notice that they might be called into service.

Closure Plan

When conditions warrant, the university may choose to close the entire university, a campus, or a building. Required-attendance employees in the affected area must remain at work or report for work at the regularly scheduled time, either onsite or offsite as previously designated. Non-required-attendance employees do not work unless asked to do so.

Delayed Arrival Plan

When the delayed arrival plan is invoked for the entire university, a campus or a building, all required-attendance employees in the affected area are to report to work at the regularly scheduled start time, either onsite or offsite as previously designated. Other staff members are expected to report to work by the delayed arrival time. Employees reporting by that time will not lose pay or have time charged to leave.

The university's full weather closings policy is available online.

Posted in University News