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What does it take to get a snow day at JCU?

Students like Editor-in-Chief Laken Kincaid wonder what determines John Carrolls decision for a snow day given recent inclement weather.
John Carroll University
Students like Editor-in-Chief Laken Kincaid wonder what determines John Carroll’s decision for a snow day given recent inclement weather.

Ohio is no stranger to cold weather. In fact, the Buckeye State is particularly known for its biting temperatures and potentially hazardous conditions impacted by snowfall, circumstances that could impact the openings and closures of institutions hit hard by the flurries. However, to many students, John Carroll has remained a stalwart in keeping its gates propped even when the precipitation piles.

On Jan. 19, 2024, John Carroll University closed at 2:00 p.m. “due to ongoing snow accumulation.” While the closure was appreciated, some members of the community felt that a midday closure was not enough, especially as many schools and colleges in Northeast Ohio did not hold classes.

“We should have snow days when other schools in the surrounding area do,” Allison Foos ‘25 told The Carroll News. “If it snowed enough that sidewalks aren’t accessible, we should not have classes,” Lauren Hoffman ‘25 echoed.

Amidst frustrations and the nuances of virtual instruction, it is natural to wonder: what does it take to get a snow day at JCU?

According to Garry Homany, John Carroll’s director of Regulatory Affairs and Risk Management,this call ultimately comes down to the vice president of academic affairs. The decision also is brought to the Weather Emergency Team (WET); JCUPD Chief Jeffrey Daberko calls this group “a team of selected administrators who get up early in the morning to check weather conditions, forecasts and get reports about current conditions on campus.” These reports are provided by officers and “Turfscape workers who have sometimes been working all night to get the campus ready for the day.”

“The primary concern is always safety, especially for students/staff who have to drive into campus every day,” Daberko elaborated.

Along with the reports the chief describes, Homany said that there is an established JCU weather emergency plan that the team follows. This document establishes that the university closes “only in the event of extreme weather conditions; decisions are made based on short- and long-term meteorological reports.” This includes a “Level III Snow Emergency as declared by the Cuyahoga County Sheriff, other declarations of local authorities” and/or “weather conditions and their local effects that – in the judgment of the WET – would disrupt the normal activities of the University and have a significant impact on the safety of students and employees.”

There are a few response categories that John Carroll can take pending these conditions such as being “open for regular University business with classes being held, open for regular University business when classes are not in session, delayed opening: two-hour delay, three-hour delay, evening classes only canceled, all classes canceled, weekend activities canceled and that the university is closed for business.”

When there is a possibility that the weather could impact the university, JCUPD contacts the Vice President of Academic Affairs by 5:15 a.m. on the morning of the concerned event. Within 15 minutes of this communication, the VPAA must contact the executive director of Media Relations with their decision. And, by 5:45 a.m., information on the university’s potential closing is distributed to media outlets and internal modes of communication. For evening-only closures, this decision occurs by 1:15 p.m.

Even though most facilities get a break when the snow starts to stick, some services remain open on campus including JCUPD, Parkhurst Dining Services and individuals who the John Carroll Weather Emergency Plan deems as “essential services personnel.” However, their duties may also be relieved if the VPAA deems it necessary.

So, while seemingly impossible, there may still be a possibility that the traditional snow day at John Carroll is feasible. For more information, you can view John Carroll’s official stances on weather closing information here.

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About the Contributor
Laken Kincaid, Editor-in-Chief
Laken Kincaid is the Editor-in-Chief for The Carroll News from Beckley, West Virginia. They are a senior at John Carroll University who is double majoring in political science and communications (digital media) and minoring in leadership development. Laken has written for The Carroll News since the start of their freshman year and has previously served as a staff reporter, campus section editor and managing editor of the paper. They have received 18 Best of SNO awards, a Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence award for Region 4 and two honorable mentions from the College Media Association. They have also been recognized by universities like Georgetown for their investigative reports. Additionally, they also write political satire for The Hilltop Show and feature stories on global poverty for The Borgen Project. In addition to their involvement with The Carroll News, Laken is involved with the Kappa Delta sorority, the speech and debate team, the Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion, the Improv club and other organizations. They also serve as the news director for WJCU 88.7, John Carroll's own radio station, and as the president for John Carroll's Society of Professional Journalists chapter.  Laken also started their own national nonprofit organization known as Art with the Elderly which they have won the President's Volunteer Service Award and the Humanity Rising Award for. When not writing, Laken can be found doing graphic design for their internship with Union Home Mortgage or working as a resident assistant and peer learning facilitator on campus. Laken also enjoys skiing and watching true crime documentaries. In the future, Laken hopes to become a political journalist for a national news organization or to be a campaign commercial editor for politicians. To contact Laken, email them at [email protected].

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