What We Do When the Weather Turns Frightful

It is that time of year again! Crisp January days and overnight frost advisories remind us that the potential is there for the weather to impact our academic and co-curricular lives in the days and weeks ahead. With that in mind, here is how Judson’s leaders decide to close Judson campuses due to inclement weather. This could include snowfall, freezing temperatures, or icy road conditions at key driving times. 

In determining campus closing decisions due to snowfall, we look at both the amount of snowfall as well as the time of day that the snow is falling and how this may impact road clearing success. Six inches falling between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m., for example, might be readily plowed by the time we attempt to travel to campus for a morning class. The same amount of snowfall beginning at 5 a.m., however, may lead us to close the campus due to treacherous travel conditions for faculty, staff, and students. Did the snowfall immediately after wet roads froze-over with ice or were roads relatively dry before the snowfall? All of this is to say that we make decisions on a case-by-case basis.

In regard to extremes temperatures, we typically follow the Industry Standard metrics below. It is important to note that wind chills or “feels like” temperatures alone may not impact university operations. In short, we are looking for a combination of factors that include:

  •       Temperatures between -20 and -30 degrees
  •       Time of day and duration of lower temperatures
  •       Wind Chill Warning (issued by National Weather Service) 

Here at Judson, we have an “Inclement Weather Task Force” that monitors conditions to 1) ensure the safety of each person traveling to one of the Judson campuses as well as 2) provide safe passage between buildings and parking lots once on campus. This team is made up of those in academics, athletics, co-curricular activities, food service, Chapel, Plant Ops, Campus Safety, Res Life, and the Wellness Center. The team begins communicating as soon as we perceive a potential weather event. We will also communicate with the JSO president, so students may be sure of our responsiveness to impending weather.

We understand that not only are students on campus, but we have faculty, staff, and commuters who are traveling to the Elgin and Rockford campuses; therefore, we will be as timely as possible for you. Communication will come to you via email from News and Events, a text through Judson University Update (sign up to Campus Safety’s two Text Alert Systems) and Judson’s Twitter feed. If you are a student, your professors will reach out to you with alternative assignments, so please be mindful of checking your email if the campus should be closed. 

Regardless of decisions made by our “Task Force,” please know that we understand if a member of the campus community needs to make a different choice about traveling to campus during poor weather. Only you can determine the travel conditions in your area based on roads, time of day, predicted weather patterns, etc. If you have any questions or concerns, please let me know.

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