‘Costly winter’ prompts make-up classes

By on February 4, 2011

Students who thought they left the days of having to make up snow days in high school have to think again. Some of the classes missed earlier this week because the university was closed due to inclement weather will be made up, according to university officials.

“We are making arrangements for several classes, particularly those who meet only once a week, for make-up days and times,” Senior Vice President for Academic & Student Affairs Mark Thompson said. “We’re working with the faculty and the students and so forth, as a way of insuring that they are getting their money’s worth, in light of all the cancellations that we have had.”

Thompson pointed out the fact that due to inclement weather occurring on the past two Wednesdays, Wednesday night classes have yet to meet this semester. They’ve missed two full weeks and Thompson is planning for a make-up day to give instructors sufficient time to teach all their material. The specific details were not available at press time, but Thompson said make-up class information would be finalized within the next few days.

Snowfall and temperatures affected every bit of campus - it even gave the bobcat statue an icy reception. Photo contributed by Kelly Stevens '14

“I know many students and parents that are upset with the closings we have had,” said Chris Hart, sophomore biology major. “I have only been to one out of four of my classes, so I think that since I am paying for this education, I should be getting it.”

In the first eight days of classes this semester, Quinnipiac has had two snow days and two early closings due to winter weather. Two snow storms and an ice storm created dangerous travel conditions and lots of work for Quinnipiac’s facilities department.

“This is absolutely the worst five weeks we’ve ever had,” Associate Vice President for Facilities Administration Joseph Rubertone said. “It’s the advent of a 15-inch snow storm, a 10-inch snow storm, a 24-inch snow storm and then an 18-inch snow storm with no thaw or melting in between. It’s a set of conditions that has never occurred before.”

Rubertone has worked at Quinnipiac for 37 years and he said this was one of the worst winters as far as snow cleanup.

“The school’s decision [to cancel classes] makes sense,” Hart said. “This is one of the worst winters we’ve had and the school should have been closed due to the weather. If the school wasn’t closed, many teachers wouldn’t have come in anyway and if they did, there would have been dangerous conditions that would have put peoples’ safety at risk.”

A group of three administrators are the decision-makers as to if classes will be canceled. Thompson, Rubertone, and Keith Woodward, director of facilities operations, comprise the team who make the decision to close the university due to inclement weather.

There are two main factors they take into account when making a decision. They evaluate if the “campus is in shape to handle the daily commute,” including parking lots and walkways, and they consult “the general weather forecast to see what it’s going to do over the course of the day, and what the road conditions are like for the morning commute,” Rubertone said.

Many times the decision to close the university has more to do with the roads off campus then it has to do with the conditions on campus, Rubertone said. They keep the commuter students in mind when assessing the road safety.

“This is absolutely the worst five weeks we’ve ever had,” Associate Vice President for Facilities Administration Joseph Rubertone said. “It’s the advent of a 15-inch snow storm, a 10-inch snow storm, a 24-inch snow storm and then an 18-inch snow storm with no thaw or melting in between. It’s a set of conditions that has never occurred before.”

“Obviously we are probably already through our snow budget,” Rubertone said. “But we need to plow the snow. So we will go back, as appropriate and reshuffle what we have to in our accounts. We will make an appeal for more funding, if necessary. It has been a costly winter.”

There are grounds supervisors on all three of Quinnipiac’s campuses who manage the snow cleanup process. They each have unique snow plans, equipment and snow routes. During heavy snow when there is major clean up to do, Quinnipiac utilizes all of its grounds crews and supplement with mechanical staff.

“I am very proud of the job that our people do on snow,” Rubertone said. “If you paid attention to the snow removal, most reasonable people would agree those guys keep the roads pretty clean and pretty safe.”

Featured illustration by Marcus Harun

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