Severe Weather Information and School Closing

During emergency situations, advisories will be provided by Washburn University or the School of Law Dean's Office.

Coronavirus / COVID-19 Update

The Law School Building is closed and not available as a severe weather shelter. Garvey Fine Arts Center, east of the law school and just north of Memorial Union, will be unlocked for students during severe weather warnings.

Beginning the week of March 23, courses will be taught remotely using online tools for the remainder of the semester.

See also: How to access electronic versions of your textbooks.

See list of law school event cancellations. Please send notices about cancellations of law school-related activities to

See the Washburn University website for further Coronavirus Information and Precautions.

School Closings

Generally, the law school is open if the university is open. If the university is closed, the law school will be closed.

Closings are posted on the Washburn Law website and the university's website, and notification is sent via the iAlert system. If you cannot access the Internet or a local TV station for information, you can call (785) 670-1010, where a recording will tell you about any closing.

Students should also check their email for messages from professors, because a particular professor may cancel a class even if the school is not closed. Students with long commutes and an early class may need to make a decision whether to head out before the university makes a closure decision. Students in doubt about whether it is safe to travel should be guided by the principle that safety comes first, regardless of whether there has been a notification about closing. See also class recording request form.

See also Washburn University's inclement weather policies and procedures.

Severe Weather and Tornado Information

During tornado warnings, information about a tornado's path and status will be provided to the Dean (Pratt) or her designee in her absence, the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs (Mastrosimone); and in his absence, to the Associate Dean for Student Affairs (Lowry). This individual will make the decision as to whether classes and other building occupants should be directed to go to the law school tornado refuge areas.

Tornado refuge area locations are (links display maps (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)):

  • Law School & Law Clinic: first floor rooms 100, 102 and men's and women's restrooms
    (Note: Emergency lighting, including in the stairways, will come on if total building power is lost.)

Graphic: Law school first floor plan.

Other Washburn University buildings

Helpful Shelter Hints

  • Keep away from exterior doors.
  • Close the corridor fire and/or stair doors (helps prevent wind tunneling, flying debris).
  • Utilize restrooms (windowless) in shelter areas if additional space is required.
  • If caught outside a shelter, stay away from tall furniture and files that could tip over. Get under something large or sturdy. Protect your head and neck.
  • Take a flashlight.

Emergency Phones

Tornado shelters are equipped with help/emergency (911) phones.

  • Use phones only to report emergencies such as health or personal safety issues. These phones ARE NOT house or local access phones.
  • Lift the handset to automatically dial 911 and reach Shawnee County Emergency Dispatch.
  • University Police will be able to call the phones to announce to occupants of the area when a tornado warning has been lifted and it is safe to exit the tornado shelters.

Short URL for this page:

iAlert - Be Safe and Informed

Learn how to sign up.

Washburn University has implemented iAlert, a mass message emergency notification system which significantly enhances our ability to maintain a safe academic environment for staff, faculty and students. Participation in the iAlert system is voluntary. It is the responsibility of the individual to register for the free service and to keep the contact information up to date. Registration in iAlert is recommended for your own safety and well-being. All iAlert participants will be informed as quickly as possible in the event of a campus emergency or special situation in order to take appropriate and timely measures in response to the event.

  • iAlert will be used to notify you of situations threatening the safety and security of campus closings due to emergency situations threatening the safety and security of campus.
  • iAlert will NOT be used for general announcements or any other purposes.

The use of weather alert radios during severe weather season is also recommended.

Watch Definitions
  • Tornado watch: conditions are favorable for tornadoes. You may continue normal activities. Supervisors should assign someone to monitor the situation and notify others if storm conditions deteriorate.
  • Tornado warning: a tornado is occurring in the area. Seek shelter immediately! If you are inside a building, proceed to the designated tornado refuge area in the building. If there is no designated tornado refuge area go to an interior hallway or other enclosed area on a lower floor and away from windows. Avoid auditoriums, gymnasiums, or other large rooms where roof collapse may be more likely. Seek shelter if you are outside or in a vehicle.
  • Severe thunderstorm watch: conditions are favorable for severe thunderstorms. You may continue normal activities. Supervisors should assign someone to monitor the situation.
  • Severe thunderstorm warning: severe thunderstorms are occurring in the area. Be prepared to move to a place of shelter if threatening weather approaches. Stay indoors away from windows until the storm passes. If large hail begins to fall, seek shelter.
Building Emergency Coordinator
Jo Hunt
(785) 670-1859
Severe Weather

Utilize NOAA Weather Service alert OR portable radios to monitor severe weather information.