By Lubna Hindi —
Thousands of U of L students were huddled around their phones and TV’s Sunday evening awaiting news from the university announcing the cancelation of classes for the next day. At 5:43 p.m. the sweet sound of text and email notifications rang loud and proud throughout the campus as news came that U of L classes and offices would be closed on Monday.
Jan. 6 was supposed to be the first day of classes in the second semester, but with severe weather threatening the health and well being of the students, U of L decided to cancel classes.
The decision came from the Associate Provost of Undergraduate Affairs Gale Rhodes after consulting the department of environmental health and safety, the Physical Plant, police and agencies around town.
This cancelation is nothing out of the ordinary for U of L Spokesperson John Drees, who’s been making announcements for U of L for more than 20 years. He says that the decision was made with student safety in mind. When conditions are predicted to be this bad, the university has been known to cancel classes the day before. With the possibility of freezing rain and snow, having to encounter sidewalks and parking lots would be dangerous. By canceling classes, possible car accidents and students falling and becoming injured are prevented.
With a wind chill of -20 degrees throughout the day, everyone is advised to stay inside and stay warm with the dangers of hypothermia running extremely high. U of L sent out an email Friday evening with tips on how to face these extreme temperatures, urging students to stay inside if they can and what to carry with them if they absolutely had to go out.
With any cancelation or delay, there’s bound to be an effect on classes. Some professors like John Begley and Neal Stolowich don’t have classes on Monday and there’s no major effect on their schedules, but others lose a day and end up having to push back everything to accommodate.
“I would have preferred to have started the semester as planned, but obviously nature has different plans,” said Begley, “It is good to know before morning how the University plans to handle the situation, so I’m glad they decided earlier enough for alternative work plans to be made. Ultimately everything that needs to be done for classes will have to get done, just a shorter time frame to accomplish it.”
If there had to be a cancelation this semester, it seems like the first day of the semester would be perfect.
“Cancelling the first day of class is probably better then most other times,” said Stolowich. “For instance, in these recitation sections to be lost today not much is lost- its more or less an introductory session. Later in the semester, a quiz could have been lost. The professors impacted by the cancellation have the whole semester to make up the lost class. Later on, its not so easy- especially if you have an exam planned for that day.”
Although these cancellations leave the professors to rearrange their schedules, they all agree it was the best decision made with the student and faculty’s safety in mind.
Students, although welcoming this extended winter break, are also worried about how this might affect their classes. When asked how she felt about the snow day, freshman Sravya Veligandla said, “I’m equally glad and not glad. I’m not glad because my favorite classes were on Monday and Wednesday. Tuesday’s my longest day so I would hate for it to be my first day back.”
“It might push us behind in lab, but I don’t think it will have too much impact on my schedule. I’m happy to have an extra day, but at the same time I’m not happy we’re missing the first day of the semester,” said student Kirsi Lancaster.
Classes are expected to be back in session and running on normal schedule on Tuesday. But until then, enjoy the day off and stay warm.