For roughly 13 years, we all welcomed approaching snow storms with open arms. On the eve of a storm, we’d turn our pajamas inside out, put a spoon under our pillow, and pray to God, Mother Nature, and any other deity that we’d awake to a blanket of white, no school, and endless opportunities.
Now that we’re in college, a forecast of snow brings different feelings. As a Penn State student, you learn that classes will *never* be canceled before you even enroll as a student.
As we reported after yesterday’s delay, it was the third time in two years that at least a partial cancellation had taken place.
So what does it take to get a day of classes canceled? Let’s find out:
“This process begins with the first forecast of a storm, and continues until about 4 or 5 a.m. on the day the decision to delay or cancel needs to be made,” said Penn State Spokeswoman Annemarie Mountz.
In preparation for snow, OPP deploys 255 employees to prepare 26 miles of roads, 67 miles of sidewalk, and more than 900 buildings for safe, daily use, per Mountz.
According to OPP Spokesman Paul Ruskin, individuals from Penn State’s police services and the meteorology department as well as OPP’s Snow Marshal, Ryan McCaughey, consult administrators in Old Main.
From there, President Erickson and other administrators such as the Provost, discuss the information “to reach a decision which is in the overall best interest of the University,” according to Ruskin.
If a cancellation or delay is deemed necessary, the Office of Strategic Communications comes in to alert students, faculty/staff, and local media.
While classes may be cancelled on rare occasions, as Mountz said, University Park can never really close.
“There are nearly 14,000 students on campus that require meals and warm lodging, and there are critical research projects that require constant attention, as well as livestock that must be fed, watered and sheltered,” said Mountz. “University Police and other emergency services remain operational around the clock regardless of the weather, as do guest services at both The Nittany Lion Inn and The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel.”
Although full-day cancellations are extremely rare, professors and instructors are expected to be sympathetic when inclement weather arises. According to Mountz, Penn State’s Office of Human Resources recommends that “faculty, staff and students should use their own best judgment when considering traveling to campus or the need to leave early during times of inclement weather.”
So while we may never get a snow day quite like this, we can keep hoping for a text like this: