By Sherry Sokolowski
With the COVID-19 pandemic touching every aspect of our lives, it begs the question: what happens to snow days?
Feb. 5 was our first snow day since the pandemic began. Grand Rapids Community College administrators decided to cancel all classes and activities that Friday night due to the inclement weather. Even the virtual classes were canceled.
Students were notified of the cancellation via the emergency notification system, Rave Alert. The system sends out text messages, email messages, and voice calls.
“This was the first snow day of the pandemic era, and the decision was to cancel all classes, just as if most classes were still offered on campus,” said David Murray, GRCC Communications Director. “Professors will work with students to determine how to cover material in the weeks ahead.”
There’s a sense of normality here – even though it is feasible to continue on with virtual classes from the safety of our homes, they are canceled as if students had to report to them in person.
“This snow felt like a typical snow day for me because the day before some colleague and I discussed the storm and how we anticipated a snow day,” said GRCC student Aaliyah Minor. “Shortly after I received an alert from my place of employment and school and screamed with excitement.”
“The safety and security of our students and employees is the top priority as GRCC considers canceling classes,” Murray said. GRCC’s Emergency Response Team follows campus policy for inclement weather.
First, GRCC Police and Facilities staff assess the road conditions and campus, incorporating information from the city, county, and state resources as well. The GRCC Chief of Police (or the designee) communicates with the college President (or the designee) and then a decision is made. If the decision is to delay or close the campus, the Communications Department is informed and the communication methods are carried out.
“Many factors are taken into consideration (when declaring a snow day) and steps — such as closing for the day, or a delayed opening — will vary based on the situation,” said Murray.