PHOTO | Tara Espinoza
Like all students, the Arka Tech enjoyed our snow and ice days, relaxing indoors and catching up on work. However, nearly a week of calling off classes has led us to question Arkansas Tech’s winter weather procedures.
From what we understand, the Inclement Weather Policy at Tech is that the President’s office determines whether or not the campus should close. While we appreciate the snow days Dr. Bowen has given us, this policy is extremely vague.
Days like Monday, Jan. 30, proved to be no more than a little bit of melted slush and premature closure. This was followed a week later by a storm that caused hazardous icy roads. How does the President’s office decide when the weather is appropriate enough to interrupt class schedules?
Arka Tech believes that it is only logical for there to be an actual system to be in place for inclement weather. Even if this system is as simple as closing at the suggestion of meteorologists, it is better than arbitrarily shutting down the school. Other essential factors include road conditions, precipitation expectations, temperature, and wind speeds.
Everyone appreciates the break from a couple of snow days. However, colleges do not follow the same guidelines as regular schools in Arkansas. The missed hours from snow days are not added on at the end of the semester. No Alternative Methods of Instruction (AMI) guidance appears to be in place.
It is true that most of our days under closure were said to be virtual days. However, professors have been given no guidance for this. They often have to quickly whip up some kind of assignment that is less than equal to actual class time. They are given no instruction or advice on handling virtual class when faced with internet or power problems. They are simply expected to adapt and move on as if their students didn’t miss valuable hours of instruction.
We trust that our professors are reliable and adaptable professionals. We simply believe it would be better for both instructors and students if they were given some kind of guidance by the school to ensure the quality of their work and our education.
It would be more courteous to the staff who work our cafeteria during inclement weather to have a more reliable procedure for inclement weather than a vague decision from the President’s office. It would also be more courteous to the businesses in Russellville whose policy is to close only when schools do. Many businesses have deemed Arkansas Tech as having some authority on when it is appropriate to close due to weather, yet we have no legitimate system in place.
Snow days are fun. By no means do we think they should be put to a stop. The safety of students is essential, and so is their education. Therefore, Arka Tech believes that Arkansas Tech should have a better and clearer policy for inclement weather.