A closer look at dealing with snow days

Rain Hopkins, Staff writer

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When it comes to snow days, one may typically think of going sledding, building snowmen, watching Netflix for hours on end and drinking hot cocoa. Not often do we think of the less glamorous side of snow days– the stuck cars, missed work days, slim paychecks and piled up homework– but this snow day struggle proves very real to both students and professors on campus.

“Some of our employees live out, some live a couple hours away, and some weekends they go home. Last week it was harder.”

— Barbara Hall

With the two winter storms that happened the week of Feb. 15 and then again the week of March 1, several schools and workplaces across Southern Indiana shut down for multiple days. In February, IU Southeast closed Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, and had a two-hour-delay Wednesday and Friday (closing early on Wednesday). The first week of March, campus closed early on March 4, was cancelled on March 5, and had a two-hour-delay on March 6.

Criminal Justice junior David Lapsey is a server at Joe Huber’s restaurant. He averages about 20 hours a week during the winter season. The week of Feb. 15, Lapsey worked zero.

“We’re only open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in Winter. So they went ahead and closed the whole restaurant that weekend,” said Lapsey.

As far as making up for lost hours and lost dollars, Lapsey said he aims to pick up more hours within his next few shifts.

Not all employers were as willing or even able to shut down during the harsh winter conditions.

Economics junior Ahmon McCollum is a Guest Services manager at the Crown Plaza hotel in Louisville. When the first storm hit, McCollum’s manager said to get a room.

“Sunday I worked 3 p.m. – 11 p.m. The snow came in Monday, so he was just like ‘hey, stay tonight in case someone on first shift comes in and you can cover’,” said McCollum. Which, he said he ended up having to do.

McCollum said his manager will often do this for people who live far from work and likely won’t be able to drive in the snow.

Of the most recent snow storm, graphic design junior Megan Hellinger said it was a struggle.

“It definitely set me back a little. As nice as a snow storm sounds to some people, I have bills to pay, so it’s become a necessity to get to my job and make money,” she said. Hellinger works at the Greentree Mall in Clarksville, and said the two days the mall closed it just money she missed out on. As far as the missed school, Hellinger said she didn’t mind.

“That I’m not too upset about. Less projects and less stress!” she said.

While many students enjoyed their time off, professors worked on re-arranging their syllabus to make up for the missed days.

Associate Professor of Sociology Sara Hare said the weather definitely took a toll on class attendance the week of the 15th.

“I’d say less than a third of my students were there. And the ones that were there, their heads were elsewhere,” said Hare.

Hare said she received several emails from students stating that they couldn’t make it out of their driveway, or that their car didn’t do well in the snow. She said the missed days and lack of students put her class behind the original schedule.

“My classes are a little bit behind, and I’ve had to alter the syllabus a bit. I’m cutting out a few things so that we don’t get too far behind,” said Hare. She even took a day to repeat Wednesday’s lecture for the many students who had missed class.

Hare said that her class is largely computer-based, and students must use a particular program available on computers on campus to get much of the classwork done.

“I didn’t assign an online class for the week. Frequently, students don’t have the software on their computers. We basically lost a whole week, and that puts everybody behind,” she said.

Students and professors were not the only ones affected by the recent snow. The IU Southeast Children’s Center is a daycare on campus that cares for children of students, staff, faculty and the surrounding community. Assistant/Lead teacher Barbara Hall said that the daycare follows very strictly the schedule of campus, so when IU Southeast was closed and delayed during the storm, so was the Children’s Center.

Hall said the daycare normally has 12-18 children, but during the icy week in February, only about 8 showed up. The parents and children weren’t the only ones who had difficulty making it out during the harsh weather.

“Some of our employees live out, some live a couple hours away, and some weekends they go home. Last week it was harder,” said Hall of the icy conditions.

With temperatures now in the 50’s, it’s hard to believe that just a week ago the roads were covered with nearly ten inches of snow. And while the return to warmer weather is nice, the recovery is not easy.

I’ll try to keep the debit card in the wallet,” said Lapsey.