Snow Prompts 30-Minute Delay; Thursday Conference Period Rescheduled

Students, faculty and staff received a brief respite from classes, which were postponed for 30 minutes on Thursday, January 27. John Rogers, Dean of Studies, said the decision was made after a conference call with administrators and staff at six a.m. on Thursday morning about the snow. “[We knew] there was snow on the way and that we [were] scheduled to get another ten inches. We didn’t know exactly when it would stop,” said Rogers. “We thought [the snow] was going to be done by 9:30.” “Given that amount of snow, we hoped the delay would give people a little more time to get snow out of the way and make it a safer, more pleasant morning,” continued Rogers. Because of the delay, conference period on Thursday was cancelled and advising period on Friday was rescheduled as conference period. Faculty department meetings and the Thursday classes following third period continued as scheduled. Rogers said, “Unfortunately, the impact [of the delay] was a little greater than [just cancelling conference] because we were having problems with the email system this morning.” The delay, however, did not affect the arrival of Office of the Physical Plant (OPP) or Paresky Commons Aramark Staff members. According to Rogers, several members of OPP had arrived on campus to help clear snow at around three or four on Thursday morning. Rogers said, “If we needed to have a longer delay, we probably would have just cancelled school. Because we knew we could move the conference period without impacting classes, we decided to use that just because, again, it would make it easier to get to classes.” “If we thought that it was going to be [snowing] until 10 o’ clock or 11 o’ clock then we would have cancelled school,” continued Rogers. According to Rogers, after the snowstorm last Wednesday, January 19, administrators decided to hold the conference call at six a.m. instead of five a.m. Roger also said that it was important to realize that regardless of when the decision was made, it would be impossible to have all the information, “so we decided to err on the side of caution.” “I think [that] in this case we may not have needed the delay, but because the impact seemed so minimal, it seemed like a good idea,” he continued. The last snow-related rescheduling on campus was in 2003, after the “Blizzard of 2003” caused Phillips Academy administrators to cancel classes. Prior to 2003, major snowstorms included the Blizzard of 1978 and the Ice Storm of 1921. School was cancelled for one day during the Blizzard of 1978 after snow fell continuously for thirty-three hours. According to a Phillipian article from 1978, Andover received 31 inches of snow and faced “hurricane-like gusts” of wind. The article also reported that “students spent two to four hours digging the school out of the snow. There were [also] two more shoveling periods [the next day] even though classes did meet.” Following the storm, Ted Sizer, then the Head of School, assembled students and faculty to help clear the streets of downtown Andover. At an Archaeology and History Club meeting on Wednesday, Victor Henningsen ’69, Instructor in History, recounted clearing out the streets of Andover after the blizzard as merchants opened up their shops and offered Andover students donuts and coffee. Henningsen mentioned it was one of his memorable moments at Andover.