Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

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Students Navigate Snow Days

Marshall%E2%80%99s+campus+covered+in+snow.
Baylee Parsons
Marshall’s campus covered in snow.

On Tuesday, Jan. 16, freshman Emma Simpkins woke up to commute 45 minutes from Branchland, West Virginia, to campus only to find that she would not be  hitting the roads that day. Her phone displayed that she would have the first snow day of her college career.

Looking out her window, she found her Lincoln County driveway covered in snow, hindering any attempts to leave her home.

On Wednesday, Simpkins awoke to see similar conditions outside her house, yet she did not receive an alert that her classes had been canceled for the day. 

Like many students, the poor road conditions in Simpkins’ area prevented her from attending her classes on Jan. 17. 

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“I live down a backroad, and those never get touched at all during big snow storms,” Simpkins said, “or, if there’s ice, they always are just icy, and you can’t get up the hills.” 

For commuters like Simpkins, missing classes due to road conditions does not qualify them for a University-excused absence; however, students should contact their professor about their absence as soon as possible and may have the chance to be excused at the professor’s discretion.

Dr. Karen McComas, the interim associate provost for the Office of Academic Affairs, said that the first thing students should do if they cannot make it to school is contact their professors. 

“It’s really all about communication,” McComas said. “Faculty want to help students.”

She did acknowledge, though, that some students may be unable to contact their professors due to a loss of electricity or internet during inclement weather. “It’s really a process for everybody,” she said.

Professors are not required to host virtual class sessions when school is closed or when inclement weather causes students to miss class, but they can make that decision by coordinating with their department chair, McComas said.

Simpkins said that, while her professors did not offer her the option to attend class virtually, they told her to prioritize her safety, and they would catch her up in class when she returned.

Even so, Simpkins expressed her interest in professors offering virtual classes or recording their lectures, so students don’t have to worry about a classmate having to catch them up on what they missed.

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