Inclement weather and emergency remote operations: guide for teaching faculty

The purpose of the guide is to provide faculty members with resources for navigating unforeseen circumstances such as inclement weather or emergencies that may result in campus closure and disrupt traditional teaching operations. In the event of a communicated campus closure, our goal is to help faculty members to effectively communicate with students, transition to remote teaching formats when necessary, maintain flexibility in their teaching approaches, and adhere to emergency procedures to ensure the continuity of learning despite unexpected disruptions.

Determining move to remote operations

The decision to close the main campus and/or satellite campuses is vested with the President or designee(s). Please see the University’s Inclement weather policy and procedures page for more information on determining factors and procedures in a campus closure.
Once the decision has been made to move to remote operations, campus will be notified in the following ways:

  • Messaging will be posted to the University’s social media channels and local news media will be updated.
  • A text message and email will be sent via the Emergency Alert system.
  • A campus-wide email will be sent.
  • A banner will be posted on the University’s homepage at

Communicating with students

Effective communication with students during inclement weather or emergencies is crucial for ensuring their safety and maintaining continuity in learning. Here are some guidelines for faculty members:

Use multiple communication channels: Communicate with students using the agreed-upon channel listed in your syllabus, but also consider communicating via additional channels to ensure messages reach students. This may include using

  • the WebCampus Inbox tool
  • the Announcements tool within your course on WebCampus
  • the students’ external email addresses (which can be found by logging in to MyNevada, accessing your course, and clicking on Course Roster).

Provide timely updates: Communicate any changes to class schedules, assignments, or expectations as soon as possible. Timely updates help students plan accordingly and alleviate any confusion or anxiety.

Include relevant information: Provide students with all relevant details, including the reason for the communication, any actions they need to take, and any resources or support available to them.

Acknowledge student concerns: Acknowledge any concerns or questions students may have and address them promptly. Let students know that their safety and well-being are a priority. Offer reassurance to students during challenging times and remind them of the university's support services and resources available to them.

Transitioning to remote teaching

Instructors may choose to transition their face-to-face classes temporarily to remote teaching during n communicated campus closure. Transitioning classes to remote formats, whether synchronous or asynchronous, requires careful planning and consideration of various factors.

Instructors will need to decide whether synchronous (real-time) or asynchronous (flexible time) formats are most appropriate for your course content and student needs.

Synchronous Remote Teaching

In synchronous remote teaching, the instructor and students are online at the same time. Course material is delivered and discussions occur in real time, using a web conferencing tool like Zoom. If you decide to move your regularly scheduled class session to Zoom, you will need to do the following:

Schedule your class meeting in Zoom

You can set up your class session in Zoom in one of two ways:

Notify your students of the move to Zoom

Regardless of how you set up the meeting, you will need to notify students of the move to Zoom as soon as you can. You can do this via your established communication channels (e.g., a message or announcement via WebCampus, or an email).

Students may access Zoom sessions using the Zoom course menu link in WebCampus. However, if you choose not to use the Zoom WebCampus integration to create the session, the link to the session can instead be put in a course message, or in a course announcement.

Plan your Zoom class session

Please review ODL’s Teaching with Zoom page for tips to get started teaching with Zoom.

You will want to determine what to cover in your class session, and how it might differ from what you would do in your face-to-face classroom. Consider that some students may be more affected by an emergency than others or may miss communication about the move to remote instruction. This may affect the amount of material you attempt to cover, or the activities you ask students to participate in during the synchronous session. Prioritize teaching content that is immediately relevant to students' understanding of key concepts or their ability to complete upcoming assignments or assessments.

Record the session for flexibility

Some students may not make it to your live Zoom session, so make sure to record the session. You can then make the session available to all students after the session concludes.

Asynchronous remote teaching

In an asynchronous online course, course materials (lectures, readings, discussion forums, assessments, etc.) are prepared in advance and are made available for students to access and engage with on their own schedules. Asynchronous courses do not include set meeting times. If you decide to move your regularly scheduled class session to an asynchronous format, you will need to do the following:

Notify your students about the transition to asynchronous learning.

Clearly explain the reasons for the change and provide instructions on accessing course materials and participating in asynchronous activities. You can do this via your established communication channels (e.g., a message or announcement via WebCampus, or an email).

Prepare materials

Gather and organize course materials such as lecture slides, readings, videos, and assignments in WebCampus. Ensure that all materials are accessible, well-structured, and clearly labeled to facilitate student navigation and engagement.

You may consider recording your own asynchronous lecture videos.

You may also consider using already created video content available on YouTube or other streaming services, or from your textbook publisher.

Create learning activities

Develop asynchronous learning activities that align with course objectives and promote active student engagement. Consider incorporating a mix of individual assignments, discussions, and quizzes to enhance learning outcomes. Provide clear instructions for each asynchronous learning activity, including objectives, expectations, deadlines (if applicable), and guidelines for participation.

Considerations for both synchronous and asynchronous remote instruction

  • Provide structured guidance: Organize course materials and instructions in a structured manner on the LMS, providing clear guidance on navigating content, completing assignments, and participating in discussions.
  • Be flexible with deadlines: Extend deadlines for assignments and assessments to accommodate students' adjustment to remote learning. Offer flexibility and understanding during this transition period.
  • Communicate supportively: Maintain open lines of communication with students, offering support, reassurance, and encouragement during the transition. Address any concerns or questions promptly and empathetically.
  • Prioritize student well-being: Prioritize the well-being and safety of students, recognizing the potential stress and uncertainty they may be experiencing during emergencies.