What?? A Rockhurst Snow Day in 2021!?


Liliana Reyes

We can all agree that zoom classes and remote learning have become the new norm, which is why many believed that snow days would become a thing of the past. That was not the case this past week at Rockhurst University.

On Sunday evening, February 14th, 2021 an email from University Relations was sent out to students and faculty regarding important changes to campus operations for the following Monday and Tuesday. We were informed that “Due to the dangerously cold temperatures forecast for Monday and Tuesday, classes and labs (face-to-face and online synchronous) and other in-person activities that start prior to 4 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 15, are canceled on both the Troost and Westport campuses” stated the email.

The statement regarding cancelations of online synchronous classes caught my attention right away. I was more so expecting face-to-face classes to be canceled and simply switching everything over to zoom. I understood why in-person classes needed to be canceled since the weather was not in our favor with the icy roads and crazy low temperatures.

So why cancel online courses as well? Wasn’t the implementation of zoom classes the solution to never having to miss or postpone scheduled classes since they can be remotely conducted from home? At first, this came as a shock to me, but then I realized not everyone has Wi-Fi at home or even a nice quiet place to take a class. This meant there were still going to be students needing to commute to wherever they normally take their zoom class. So that is when I realized everyone’s situation is different and it is important to consider every possible scenario during times of critical weather.

Soon after on February 15th, 2021; University Relations sent out a second email regarding campus closing updates. To my surprise, the email stated, “Due to the extreme temperatures, snowfall, and slick roadways, along with resulting intermittent power blackouts by energy companies, Rockhurst University will cancel all classes and activities for the remainder of today and tomorrow, Tuesday, Feb. 16”.

Another day of suspended classes, both in-person and virtual, had been announced. This time I had a better understanding as to why no classes whatsoever would be taking place. The email mentioned yet again the extreme temperatures, which were ranging between 0 to 4 degrees Fahrenheit, so it made sense it was not safe for people to be going out in these critical conditions.

What stood in this second University update was the statement regarding intermittent power outages which were being conducted by energy companies. There were news reports warning Kansas City of power outages being conducted purposely to conserve energy during these extremely low temperatures. A time when everyone is consuming large amounts of energy to stay warm and survive the-close-to-arctic environment.

No power meant online classes would not be able to take place. The outages were said to range from 30 minutes to an hour at any point in the day. In that case, Rockhurst University made the decision to completely suspend all classes for that day. The thought of extremely low temperatures causing intentional power outages by energy companies never crossed my mind when I thought of a snow day. It was something new and proof that snow days will continue to exist even with online class options in place.

When I asked Kimberly Banuelas, a student at Rockhurst, what her thoughts were about the snow day situation she stated, “I had lost hope for snow days once I saw how everything was still able to take place virtually even with the pandemic going on, but I was proven wrong once the energy companies took a stand”.


Edited by Amarvir Ghuman