Frozen at Home: Snowstorm Leaves Nearly 100 Students Stranded Around the World

Confined to her Chicago home by cancelled flights and temperatures dipping below negative 40 degrees, Victorian Bian ’15 was forced to drive for 16 hours to reach school before the bell rang at 8 a.m. on Tuesday morning.

Bian was one of the approximately 100 student who were stranded at various airports across the world on Monday, unable to return for the start of classes in the wake of Nor’easter Hercules, the snowstorm last Friday that suspended most air travel on the East Coast.

Most of the 100 students have now arrived on campus, but about 10 or 15 are still trying to catch a flight back and should make it to Andover by the end of the week, said Paul Murphy, Dean of Students.

“This happens often around breaks when everyone is coming back at the same time. When the storm hit last Thursday and Friday, it started this chain reaction that was made worse on Monday and Tuesday. And kids that normally are coming from all over the world to travel back to school couldn’t get back,” said Murphy. Nevertheless, the first classes of 2014 began on Tuesday without the stranded students.

“I think there really isn’t much accommodation, perse. Students obviously will have to work with teachers to make up work that they may have missed, but teachers tend to be fairly flexible about that. It’s something that is beyond the student’s control in terms of getting back,” said Murphy.

The Office of Physical Plant (OPP) had little trouble clearing paths after the storm because of the reduced traffic around campus during the vacation, said Tom Conlon, Director of Public Safety.

“The ice isn’t too bad, because we were lucky [Tuesday] night. We thought the grounds crew was going to have to be in here early [Tuesday] morning to sand. I think they put salts at a few different spots, but most of the rain had dried out, so the ice isn’t much of a problem,” said Conlon.

Murphy said, “It’s really about watching the weather, trying to anticipate when people need to come in. Sometimes they [OPP] need to come in early in the morning, or sometimes late at night depending on when the storm comes. They do this essentially all winter, so they are pretty good trying to figure out how to respond to what happens.”