Ice, slush, and snowy weather welcome students back to campus

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Statue on Rowan Boulevard is coated in snow after winter storm graces Rowan's campus. - Managing Editor / Abigail Twiford

It was bitterly cold throughout South Jersey, cold enough that it was painful for skin to be outside with exposed skin for more than a few minutes. The roads were plowed and salted, but snow was still coming down fast. The sidewalks were slick with ice, only made worse by the ice raining down from the sky. And it was the first day of class. 

Students across campus made their way to class, commuters slowly driving in on the slippery roads. They pulled into nearly empty parking lots, leaving their cars in spots with snow piled at the front of them. Those who live on campus treaded through frosty sludge and tried to avoid falling on the icy walkways. The students that could be seen walking around outside wore several layers, being sure to be thoroughly bundled before heading to their classes. 

Grace Fox is a senior English major. She lives on campus and had two in-person classes on the first day of class. 

“It was a little difficult. I almost slipped and fell about four times but I made it without falling,” said Fox.

Some students elected to not attend at all, choosing to stay home rather than brave the elements on the damp and freezing day. 

Daniel Strasser, PhD, is the department chair for the communication studies department. He lives in Glassboro and rides his bike to campus every day, so he did not feel his experience getting to his classes was as difficult as it may have been for those driving or walking. 

“I know that some people had said like, more than half or three-quarters of their students didn’t show up or or didn’t come to class. I guess it was on Tuesday. Yeah. And then I had several faculty who also had to do alternative plans and do like remote learning and virtual learning and canceled classes in person because of it as well,” said Strasser. 

While the university and individual departments do not have recorded numbers of how many classes were canceled or sparsely attended due to the weather on Jan. 16, several professors did have to miss classes due to weather or to care for their children when their schools had been canceled. 

Shortly before 3:30 p.m., a Rowan Advisory was put out that classes would go remote for the rest of the day, and the following day would have a delayed opening, with classes before 10 a.m. being canceled to allow time for the parking lots and sidewalks to be treated for snow and ice. 

Kevin Koett is the dean of students, who made it clear that any absence due to inclement weather and dangerous road conditions would be excused, as long as they contact and communicate with their professors.

“I want to make sure students know because it’s our policy, I never want a student to attempt to come to campus if it’s not safe… I might look out the window in Glassboro and may say, ‘yeah, it’s reasonable,’ but you might live a half an hour away, and you’re dealing with a foot of snow or dangerous ice,” said Koett. 

The only exceptions to the delay were the Wellness Center since it is an essential service, and the Chamberlain Student Center, to maintain regular hours.

Amy Hoch is the associate director of the Wellness Center, and she explained how student behavior changes when inclement weather creates dangerous on-campus conditions.

“I think students are sometimes reluctant to come in for counseling unless someone else is bringing them in on those days… generally, people will just convert to virtual appointments on those days. I think it’s somewhat different for students who are coming in for physical health reasons because the nurses and providers are still here. So they will still often come in,” said Hoch. 

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