Inclement weather protocols

Due to the residential nature of our college, the decision to close during inclement weather is difficult. The college must balance student and employee safety with our ability to provide campus services, especially to students who live on campus.

Everyone needs to develop their own system to be prepared for inclement weather. Everyone must use care and their best judgment when deciding whether to travel to, around, or from campus regardless of the college’s decision to open, close, or delay. See helpful weather quick links at the bottom of this webpage. 

Who makes the decision to open, delay, or close?

The decision to open, delay, or close the college is made by Reed's Executive Team (see Reed’s Emergency Response Plan), in consultation with the Emergency Response Team (ERT). The Executive Team includes the president and vice presidents/deans of the college. The ERT consists of representatives from all areas of the college, including community safety, computer and information services, environmental health and safety, facilities services, public affairs, student life, residence life, health and counseling, human resources, conference and events planning, and food services.

What factors are considered when making the decision to close the college due to inclement weather?

During inclement weather, the college’s priority is safety. We also do what we can to reduce the interruption to college programs and to minimize inconvenience to community members. We consider many factors including:

  • Weather forecasts from the National Weather Service, including severe weather advisories and warnings
  • Information on road conditions from local officials (see weather quick links at the bottom of this page)
  • Whether weather conditions are expected to worsen or improve throughout the day
  • Reed’s capacity to clear ice and snow from school parking lots and sidewalks
  • Building conditions (e.g., whether buildings have electricity, heat, and water)
  • What programs are taking place on campus (e.g., academic programs, such as classes and January Academy, and events, such as academic conferences)

Weather forecasts are not always consistent or accurate, so it is impractical to rely solely on them. While we prefer to make our decisions based on visible and reported conditions, we do consider forecasts to determine whether conditions are expected to improve or worsen throughout the day. We monitor a wide variety of sources to get as accurate forecasts as possible to help us make the best possible decisions.

When is the decision made?

We make every effort to make our decision by 5 a.m. A decision to close early is made as deemed appropriate. When a decision to remain open is made, it does not mean that all offices and programs will continue as planned.

How are community members notified?

We make every effort to post the decision on the homepage of by 5:30 a.m. Local news stations are also notified. In the absence of such notification, community members should assume the college is open. If you do not have access to, please call Reed’s switchboard at 503-771-1112 for a status update.

The Reed Campus Alerts and campus-wide email are NOT used to communicate openings, delays, or closures due to inclement weather unless there is an extreme emergency.

Does Reed close automatically when Portland public schools close?

No. We are a residential school with students who live on campus, so we have different obligations and considerations than Portland Public Schools.

When Reed closes or delays, does that mean every service closes at Reed?

No. At a minimum, the college considers the following services to be essential. While hours and services may be modified, the school makes every effort to provide essential services. 

  • Community Safety: all primary services provided 24/7*
  • 28 West open 24/7
  • Dispatch and switchboard operations
  • Campus patrols
  • Fire and security system alarm response
  • Medical emergency response and 911 liaison
  • Facility access (door unlocks and locks)
  • Motorist assists
  • Escorts
  • Bon Appetit 
  • Residence Life 
  • Facility Services 

Community members can call the switchboard to report emergency maintenance needs during a college closure, and on-call staff are notified.

*Wait times for non-emergencies may be longer

When Reed remains open, does that mean every service is available?

No. Department directors and faculty have authority to close or delay their departments or cancel classes during inclement weather.

What if I believe it’s unsafe to travel to/from/around Reed because of weather conditions?

You must decide what is best for yourself regarding safety concerns and make arrangements accordingly.

Do you have recommendations on how to travel during snow and ice?

Getting to and around campus may be challenging during inclement weather. The Tri-Met website includes information on snow routes for those who use public transportation. You may also want to consider purchasing traction cleats available at local stores or online.

Where do I access emergency numbers?

Please refer to the community safety website for emergency numbers.

If I am a student, how do I find out if my classes are scheduled as planned?

Students should direct questions about classes to the specific faculty members teaching their classes.

If I am a staff member, how do I know if I need to report to work if the college closes?

During a college closure, supervisors determine which employees are required to work on campus and for how long. Which staff members are required to work depends on the nature of the inclement weather, the amount of preparation accomplished before the closure, events scheduled on campus that day, and other factors. Reed supervisors and department directors make every effort to minimize the number of staff members required to provide essential services on campus during a closure.

Supervisors notify staff members as far in advance as practical whether they are expected to report to work during a closure. Employees working overnight shifts before a closure may be required to stay late. Employees should speak with their supervisors ahead of time to determine whether their position might be expected to work during a closure.

Non-exempt (i.e., hourly) employees required to work on campus during an inclement weather closure are compensated at a rate twice their regular hourly wage for four hours or all hours worked during a closure, whichever is greater.

Exempt (i.e., salaried) employees required to work on campus during a closure do not receive extra pay because they receive the same salary irrespective of the number of hours worked.

Employees scheduled to work but not required to come to campus to work during a closure (and not on vacation or other leave) receive their regular pay for all the hours they are scheduled to work during a closure, irrespective of whether they work from home.

During a closure, it is likely that many staff members will be required to work from home. Staff who work from home are compensated at their regular rate and do not receive extra pay.

Each time the college closes, specific closing and opening times are announced. It might be the case that the college is closed during the day shift but reopens for the swing or night shift.

Inclement Weather Quick Links

National Weather Service 

Oregon Department of Transportation

Oregon Department of Transportation Winter Travel Tips

City of Portland Weather Info 

Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) Plow Activity & Routes 

Trimet Winter Weather Tips

City of Portland Winter Weather Road Closures and Chain Advisories

Portland Weather on KGW8 

(Page last modified: December 9, 2021)