Winter Weather

Winter Storms May Cancel Classes

Classes at SUNY Oswego’s main campus in Oswego may be canceled due to winter weather. When classes are canceled at the college, faculty and commuting students are advised not to come to campus. Although Oswego is a residential college, severe weather typical of this region can make it difficult to clear campus roadways and parking lots.

The college cancels classes when the entire campus of thousands of students and faculty are affected. Since weather conditions can vary greatly at any given location in Central New York and along Lake Ontario, we encourage faculty and commuting students to decide for themselves if it is safe for them to travel to campus. When it is not safe to travel, commuting students should promptly call or email their professors to advise them of their situation, particularly if an examination is scheduled for class on that day.

Classes will proceed as scheduled unless official announcements of class cancellations are made.

To find out if classes are canceled, members of the campus community have several options: Check the SUNY Oswego homepage, visit the Campus Bulletin webpage or listen to television or radio stations: TV Channels 3, 5, 9 and 10 in Syracuse, the WRVO Stations (FM 89.9 to 91.9 throughout Central /Upstate New York); and WHAM 1180 AM in Rochester.

You may receive direct notification as well, if you have signed up to receive campus alerts through New York Alert.

Classes will proceed as scheduled unless official announcements of cancellation are made. When classes are canceled, faculty and commuting students are advised not to come to campus.

Day vs. Evening Classes

Day classes begin at 8 a.m., evening classes begin at 4:30 p.m. and after. Classes beginning before 4:30 p.m. are day classes regardless of when they end.

Campus officials try to decide by 5:30 a.m. about canceling day classes and by 2 p.m. for cancellation of evening classes, though this is not always possible. The announcement process typically takes up to another hour to reach all communication channels.

Off-campus and Syracuse Branch Campus Classes

Faculty teaching classes off campus should follow the weather closing policy governing the class site and inform students how to find out if their class is canceled.

Our branch campus in downtown Syracuse may not always follow the same procedure as the main campus. Cancellations at the Syracuse branch will occur either class by class, with notification via the professor, or as an announcement on

Individual Class Cancellations

The public announcement of class cancellations only occurs when the entire campus of thousands of students and faculty are affected. Individual class cancellations do not require broadcast across Central New York. Faculty members wishing to cancel their own classes should follow the same procedure used when they are ill.

Personal Safety

Individual students and employees are responsible for their own personal safety to a large extent. If you feel it is unsafe in your area to travel to class or work, you should not travel, regardless of whether classes are canceled. These resources can help you make that determination:

  • Live Doppler Radar at      9WSYR
  • Travel Info New York
  • SUNY Oswego Webcam

Campus Closing

Only the governor has the authority to close a state agency such as SUNY Oswego. Unless the governor closes the college, employees who choose not to come to work or to leave work early are required to charge their time. The only exception is for instructional faculty when classes have been canceled.

State of Emergency Declarations

Cities and counties in Central New York may declare a state of emergency in order to qualify for state or federal aid. They may also declare states of emergency that require the public to cease normal activities, such as parking in city streets or possibly even driving on streets and highways. It is important for commuters to determine if a "state of emergency" is aimed at prohibiting their travel or not.

Lake Hazards: Lake Ontario and Glimmerglass Lagoon

Lake Ontario’s shoreline is a desirable place to visit, fish and play but also can be very dangerous due to hazards such as flooding, erosion, dynamic movement of beaches and water disruptions.  To protect public safety, students must be aware that the lake is not a vehicle for recreation or entertainment and that they should not go in the water.

During the winter months, Lake Ontario is powerful and unpredictable and those who visit her frozen shoreline are wise to marvel at her grandeur from a safe distance. This lake is certainly an awesome sight in winter with towering ice sculptures adorning her shoreline but the ice, as incredible and alluring as it may seem, is dangerous.  The ice floes are extremely hazardous and are made more so by the wind and waves. The shore of the lake should be avoided entirely during the winter months.

Do not walk out onto the ice floes or break walls. The footing is treacherous; the wind is strong; the ice can be unpredictably thin and covered with snow; the waves are overpowering; and the water is freezing.  

With the freezing, thawing and refreezing, the ice on Glimmerglass Lagoon is also hazardous and should be avoided as well.

Snow Removal on Campus

The Facilities Services staff at the college is experienced with snow removal and when it is snowing, keeping roadways and walkways safely cleared for both pedestrians and vehicular traffic is a priority. Staff and students who see walkways or roadways that are difficult to traverse  where snow is quickly and deeply drifting back in should contact the Maintenance Office at 315.312.3200 and report the location to them.

Snow Removal in Resident Student Parking Lots

Plowing of student lots requires the full cooperation of all students. Students can generally expect their lot to be plowed three to four days after a heavy snow storm. Emergency snow removal signs indicating the date and time that certain lots will be plowed will be posted on the main doors of the residence halls. Students are expected to move their cars to a designated lot before the time of plowing.  University Police will assist students who are at their cars and have difficulty starting them.  Unattended cars will be towed -- at the owner's expense -- at the hour of plowing. After plowing, students must move their cars back to their original lot. Failure to do so will result in towing. If a student is unavailable to move his/her car during the announced time, he/she should make arrangements to have a friend move it for him/her. Students going away for the weekend should leave their keys with a friend to avoid possible towing costs.