The Times West Virginian

The 411

February 12, 2007

Snow day? Not at WVU

MORGANTOWN — The term “snow day” is practically a foreign concept to West Virginia University students.

While other schools canceled classes after significant snowfall, classes at WVU went on as scheduled, even though the Morgantown area received a considerable amount of snow two weeks ago and some students who did not live near campus had trouble making the commute.

Gerald E. Lang, WVU’s provost, is one of the main contributors to the decision of whether or not to cancel classes in the event of snow. He said one factor taken into consideration is timing. If the snow starts falling during the late evening or early morning hours, WVU officials contact the West Virginia State Police to get an analysis of road conditions in the area.

“If our people can clear the roads, sidewalks and parking lots around campus, then we will not cancel classes,” said Lang.

He added that he participates in a conference call around 5:30 a.m. the morning of a snow event with members of WVU Facilities Management and Chief Bob Roberts of the WVU Department of Public Safety. Lang said they pay close attention to early news reports on the radio and television to determine the snow’s magnitude.

When heavy snow falls during the day, Lang said WVU officials take into account people who have to commute to campus for night classes. In those situations WVU will usually cancel night classes.

Students should let their professors know ahead of time if they cannot make it to class due to bad weather, Lang said. Most faculty members understand if a student cannot make the trip, he said.

Lang compared the decision to close the university because of snow to the decision to close a business in the same situation.

“Very few businesses close down when it snows and the university is much the same way,” he said.

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