Snow Day Guide

Preparing for the inevitability of inclement weather or other unexpected closings is an important component of course logistics. You can minimize the impact of lost class time by having a plan for how you will maintain contact with your students and readjust scheduling. To ensure academic continuity, we recommend that you perform the following preparedness activities:

  • Be informed of how to get Institute and technology alerts

  • Practice making clear and effective online communications

  • Familiarize yourself with communication and online teaching technologies

  • Make schedule adjustments, as needed

  • Back on campus, evaluate impact and reconnect with your students

  • Be informed of how to get support

Institute Closing Announcements

Connect-Ed announcements will be made to faculty, staff and students to announce school closings. Connect-Ed will use your contact information in IOnline, so please make sure to keep this information updated.  

Instructions for accessing IOnline

Communication Plan

The most critical component of preparing for changes to your course is to have a communication plan in place that is communicated to students at the start of the semester. For most instructors email is the primary method of communication for such matters and may be preferable to D2L for time sensitive announcements. Be as prompt as possible in communicating class cancellations, changes to deadlines, or other adjustments that your students need to be aware of. Be prepared for some flexibility and accommodations for students during a time of disruption. Depending on the circumstances, some students may be without electricity for a prolonged period of time while others may have limited or no access to technology, D2L, or other online resources. In the event of widespread disruptions, you may want to ask for a response from each student to ensure they’ve received your messages.

Snow Day Preparation Checklist

Before the semester even starts, here are some basics for planning for an unplanned class cancellation:

Establish a communication plan to notify students of any major change. Relevant Tools: Email, Phone/Text Messaging, D2L Announcements

Make your Syllabus available digitally to students. Relevant Tools: D2L Content, Email

All class documents posted in D2L. Relevant Tools: D2L Content

Make sure that all your important documents exist in cloud storage. As a Partners employee, you have access to both OneDrive and Dropbox solutions. To access these, go to or respectively and log in with your Partners credentials.

You can also access your computer and its files via VPN or GoToMyPC, though we recommend using cloud storage if possible. Please note that it may take a couple of weeks for accounts to be requested and approved. Relevant Tools: VPN: VPN Request Form (List Val Grande as “manager”), Windows GuideMac Guide. GoToMyPC: Open a ticket to request an account

Review planned material and activities and consider what is “must know”, what is “important to know” and what is “nice to know.” Relevant Tools: D2L Content

Evaluate what activities and material require in class time vs. could potentially be accomplished though out of class or online activities. Relevant Tools: D2L Content, D2L Capture, D2L Assessments, D2L Discussions, Online Rooms in D2L

Reprioritize the course based on these decisions so that you and your students are able to successfully meet the course goals. Relevant Tools: D2L Content

Notify students of any changes to Syllabus and update Syllabus in D2L. Relevant Tools: D2L AnnouncementsD2L Content, Email

Adjust any deadline or due date in D2L for quizzes, assignment folders, discussions etc as needed. Relevant Tools: D2L, D2L Assessments and D2L Discussions

Adjusting Plans - Technology Solutions

As you adjust your plans in reaction to unexpected cancellations, there are a variety of technology tools you might leverage to move classroom activities online. These might include tasks you’d undertake on a snow day, or in the days and weeks following to make up lost time.

Distribute notes, slides, handouts, or any other materials via PDF or link out to Library materials. Relevant Tools:strong>D2L ContentLinking to Library ArticlesInstructional Videos and ImagesPresentation Voice-Overs

Collect student work electronically. Relevant Tools: D2L Assignment Folder

Conduct class discussions online asynchronously. Relevant Tools: D2L Discussion Board

Move an in-class quiz online. Relevant Tools: D2L Quiz: Creating a Quiz, Creating Quiz QuestionsRespondus Lockdown Browser with Respondus Monitor

Request a customized LibGuide to help your students with their library research assignment. Relevant Tools: Customized LibGuide on Faculty Resources Guide

Post grades and feedback for students. Relevant Tools: Email, D2L Assignment FolderD2L GradebookD2L Discussions

Hold online office hours for students in D2L. Relevant Tools: Online Rooms in D2L (Adobe Connect; synchronous), D2L Discussions (asynchronous)

Facilitate a “Webinar” style synchronous online class meeting. Relevant Tools: Online Rooms in D2L (Adobe Connect; synchronous)

Record a narrated lecture of key points or review material. Relevant Tools: D2L Capture. Adobe Connect: Recording Online Rooms (Adobe Connect, asynchronous), Online Rooms Best Practices (Adobe Connect; synchronous). Lecture Capture Decision Chart

Adjusting Plans – Room Reservations

If you have learning objectives that cannot be met by moving activities online, rescheduling your class for an additional future date may be necessary. When doing so, you will need to follow the same protocol you normally would when requesting additional academic space after the start of a semester.

You will need to log-in to Virtual EMSOnce logged into Virtual EMS you will need to create and submit a reservation request for an Academic Space. Please make sure you select the “Request Academic Space” option to ensure that your request is received by the Registrar’s Office.

During weather emergencies, the Registrar’s Office will continue to check room reservation requests at regular intervals to assist with faculty planning

Closing the Loop

As you return to campus it can be important to take a moment to evaluate the impact of lost class time on the “big picture” plan for the course:

  • Review activities and assignment for alignment with course goals to make sure course goals are met

  • Make use of Classroom Assessment Techniques to check in with students, particularly on content areas that were condensed or removed. Consider the use of TurningPoint clickers for in class check-ins of student understanding.

  • Review assignments, quizzes, and exams for alignment with any adjustments to course content

Contact Information

Information Technology

For general technical support, or help with a specific instructional technology, please submit a help desk ticket.

D2L Help Site

Instructional Design

To plan and discuss any of the tips within the context of your own course, set up a consultation with the instructional designers. They can suggest effective approaches and assist you in reorganizing your course to ensure you and your students achieve all your stated course goals.

Faculty Compass Teaching Website

Tony Sindelar,
Phone: (617) 726-5993

Joyce LaTulippe
Phone: (617) 726-1015​

Library and Learning Materials

For information about Customized LibGuides and help with finding and linking to instructional materials in the library databases, please contact a librarian.

Jessica Bell
Phone: 617-643-5714

Registrar’s Office

For questions regarding academic room reservations made during weather emergencies, please contact the Registrar’s Office.