Deciding a Snow Day

Written by Matt Cunningham

Photo By Ezra Ekman

Snow was coming down quickly and heavily. Cars were fishtailing all over the icy roads as the temperature seemed to continue to drop rapidly. This was the case on Jan. 28, as FRCC attempted to make a difficult decision: keep the school open or shut down for the day.

There are a number of factors that go into determining if the school will shut down for the day due to severe weather. As long as the school remains open, students will not receive excused absences for missing classes because of the weather.

“If I’m already paying money to attend this community college, I don’t want to have to worry about severe weather affecting my safety.” said student Nick Eichner.

Eichner thought that his money should go towards “making snowy weather on campus an easy task to deal with.”

Cathy Pellish is vice president of the Westminster campus, College Hill Library, and Brighton campus. Her responsibilities extend to setting up arrangements for snowy days on campus.  

According to Pellish, the most important part of the decision making process is, “having our facility and security teams on campus very early to assess conditions, clear snow, and get the building open, which is the ultimate goal.” This allows for the sidewalks to be cleared for students, allowing for easier access to the building.

“The decision to close or delay opening is made by college leadership, including the president,” said Pellish, “We try to choose times to have the least impact on everyone.”

The school has a careful process to make sure that it is safe for students on campus during severe weather.

“For example, college leadership (president, vice presidents, campus safety personnel and public relations personnel) meet by phone at 5:30 a.m. when considering a full day closure or a delayed opening,” said Pellish.

So far, the snow has caused the school’s hours to change twice this semester. On Feb. 7, the school had an early closing at 4 p.m. The next day, the school dealt with a delayed start at 10 a.m.

“Since many of our evening classes begin at 5:30 p.m., we try to make a decision no later than 4 p.m.” said Pellish. This decision is made earlier, because the evening classes start at 5 p.m.

Colorado’s weather is unpredictable, and FRCC is working towards making days with severe weather a safer experience for its students. Students like Eichner feel a bit uneasy about the process, but the school is looking to make it as easy as possible for everyone. Students are able to sign up for emergency texts from the college on the FRCC website, which provides to-the-minute updates that will make the decision the school is making a bit clearer.  

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