Winter Weather FAQ

Iowa State has policies and procedures to deal with cancellations, closings and parking. Here are the basics you need to know when inclement weather strikes.

How do I find out about cancellations or closings?

  • Check the Iowa State homepage for information about class cancellations or university closings. Reload the Web page often for the latest updates.
  • Closings and cancellations also will be relayed via central and eastern Iowa media, Facebook and Twitter.
  • University employees should note that media sometimes erroneously report that "Iowa State University is closed" when only classes have been canceled and university offices remain open. For more detailed information on what's closed and what isn't, check the Iowa State homepage.

How do I find out about classes in Des Moines?

  • Iowa State classes in Des Moines are held in a variety of facilities. Cancellations of specific classes will be listed on the Iowa State homepage.
  • Cancellations also will be announced by Des Moines area TV and radio.

Who makes the call on cancelling classes or closing the university?

  • The university's senior vice president for business and finance makes the decision, in consultation with the president, provost, public safety officials, and other university officials. The senior vice president and provost assumes that responsibility in the absence of the senior vice president for business and finance.
  • To aid the decision, weather and travel information is obtained from various weather services, the Iowa Department of Transportation, city of Ames, CyRide, road maintenance staff and various law enforcement agencies. Particularly important is the ability of CyRide to maintain its transportation services.

Why does Iowa State often remain open when public schools are closed?

  • Most Iowa State students live within walking distance of campus and CyRide routes. (Approximately 85 percent live in Ames.) Generally, when CyRide is operating and streets and sidewalks are passable, the university remains in operation.
  • Another factor in the decision to cancel or close is that the loss of a class period can seriously affect a number of programs. Unlike public schools, Iowa State doesn't have built-in make-up days in the calendar and doesn't extend the school year when days are lost.

Why not err on the side of safety and close more readily?

  • Safety is the first concern, but a strong second is providing students with a good education. Each class missed is a lost educational opportunity.
  • If we feel most students, faculty and staff can get to campus safely, we are likely to remain in session, counting on others to make good judgments about whether they should travel.

What about those who feel it's dangerous to travel?

  • Students, faculty and staff should put safety first when determining whether they should travel to campus in poor weather. Instructors and employee supervisors are expected to accommodate those who cannot make it to campus due to travel difficulties.

Do faculty and staff have to take vacation or make up hours lost due to inclement weather?

  • The Severe Weather and Emergency Closings Policy details policies for various employee groups and situations.
  • All employees should promptly notify their supervisors when it's impossible to report to work due to severe weather.

How can offices get the word out on cancellation of events or activities?

  • For help in getting announcements to the media and on the Web, contact University Relations, contact@iastate.edu, (515) 294-3720 or (515) 294-4845.
  • An up-to-the-minute list of cancellations and closings will be available on the News page.

Where do I park during a snow storm?

  • Drivers are asked not to park in their usual parking lots unless they have been cleared. Instead, they should park in one of these designated lots (all valid ISU parking permits will be honored):
    -- Southwest corner of Iowa State Center (lots A3, A4, B5 and B6)
    -- North of Molecular Biology (lots 29 and 30)
    -- North of General Services Building (lot 41)
  • Those parking at the Iowa State Center can ride the CyRide shuttles to campus. The buses (the Orange route) run at 5- to 10-minute intervals at no charge.
  • During poor weather, the campus community is encouraged to use the CyRide bus system, which will add buses to its routes. For more CyRide information, call (515) 292-1100.

Who removes snow and ice on campus?

  • Campus Services provides snow and ice removal, as conditions warrant, for 23 miles of institutional roads, 34 miles of sidewalks and bike paths, and 162 acres of parking lots. Campus Services also removes snow at the Iowa State Center for event parking. Details on snow removal services.