Winter break partial shutdown reminders

As has been the case in recent years, university administrators have authorized a partial shutdown for an 11-day stretch during Iowa State's winter break, beginning Dec. 24 through Jan. 3. This period includes:

  • Three university holidays (Dec. 24, 25 and Jan. 1)
  • Four regular work days (Dec. 28-Dec. 31)
  • Two weekends (Dec. 26-27 and Jan. 2-3)

Employees who choose not to work on regular work days must use vacation time or take unpaid leave. The shutdown is optional; the university is not requiring departments to close. Units involved in critical services, maintenance and research will remain open. If you need to get into your building, bring your key or access card. University officials expect many ISU facilities will be closed and locked during the 11-day period, similar to holidays and weekends.

Batten down the hatches

The partial shutdown isn't mandatory but university officials encourage employees to take some time off while the students are away, which also helps conserve energy. Last year, Iowa State saved approximately $25,000 during the 10-day partial shutdown period.

Building supervisors should contact Wendy Kisch in facilities planning and management by noon on Dec. 21 to indicate if a building will be closed or to request a temperature setback.

Keep the following in mind when you leave for winter break to keep your office energy-efficient and safe.

  • Shut down all computers, printers and other accessories. Leave your office computer on if you need remote access from home, but power off the monitor, printer, speakers, etc. A computer's sleep mode uses less energy than full power, but information technology services guidelines recommend shutting down computers completely to protect data. A machine may be left on during break if it's providing access to a critical application. If possible, plug computers and printers into a power strip and then shut off the power strip before you leave.
  • Turn off and unplug copiers
  • Shut off and unplug small appliances, like coffeepots and microwaves
  • Unplug chargers for electronic devices
  • Check faucets in restrooms and break rooms to make sure they are completely turned off and not dripping. If you notice a dripping faucet, contact the FPM Service Center, 294-5100.
  • If you can manually adjust the thermostat in your office, turn it down to 65 degrees
  • Close fume hood sashes completely or open them only minimally
  • Shut down unnecessary climate-controlled plant growth chambers
  • Shut down cooling water systems to eliminate potential flooding issues
  • Remember to turn off your office lights and as much public lighting (hallways, restrooms, conference rooms) as possible 
  • Check windows to make sure they're tightly closed

Keep in touch

If your department is closing over break, discuss how to handle incoming phone calls. One option is to direct all departmental calls to one voicemail box to be checked periodically by designated employees during the break.

Employees also should change their personal voicemail and email messages. Consider stating the dates you'll be absent, and if you'll be checking your messages. If necessary, include an off-campus number where you can be reached. Also consider posting holiday hours on your department's website.

Bundle up

FPM crews will work reduced hours during the partial shutdown. Snow removal will be limited from Dec. 24 through Jan. 3, which means parking lots and secondary buildings may not be plowed by 8 a.m. FPM staff also will not plow lots or sweep sidewalks for less than 2 inches of snow outside of weekday business hours (Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.).