Snowstorm Cancels Class

As one of the worst snow storms in recent memory neared Andover, classes were canceled, buildings were closed and all non-essential personnel were sent home. The blizzard, dubbed “Juno” by the National Weather Service (NWS), began Monday night and covered Andover with over two feet of snow by Wednesday morning, according to the NWS. In response to the snowstorm, Paul Murphy, Dean of Students and Residential Life, emailed the Andover community Monday afternoon, informing them that classes, as well as sports and community service, would be canceled and that Tuesday would be considered a “snow emergency day.” In an interview with The Phillipian, Murphy said that the decision took into account the conditions, timing and duration of the storm, as well as the day of the week and the positions of national and state organizations. “It has to be a fairly severe case for us [to cancel classes],” said Murphy. The storm took place during Wellness Week, forcing the cancellation of all programming on Tuesday. Weather conditions made it difficult for many of the other speakers to arrive on campus, forcing the cancellation of many other Wellness Week programs on Monday as well. To prepare for the impending storm, Paresky Commons provided shelves of “grab-and-go” food for students to take back to their dorms on Monday night, so that students would not have to leave their dorms during the worst part of the storm on Tuesday morning. Paresky was open Tuesday morning, as was Isham, but all academic buildings were closed. All off-campus events were cancelled. The state of Massachusetts also implemented a ban on all non-essential travel, which forced many staff members and administrators to stay on campus through Monday night. “There are essential folks that must come in, and sometimes they need to stay overnight in order to perform those functions,” said Murphy. The Office of the Physical Plant (OPP) set up cots in the Abbot Gym, the Power Plant and the Maintenance Building so that workers could stay overnight on Monday and Tuesday, wrote Larry Muench, Director of Facilities, in an email to The Phillipian. Muench said that OPP workers worked in shifts, with one shift working from Monday night until midday on Tuesday, and the second shift working from midday Tuesday until Wednesday morning. Their work mostly involved snow removal, though Muench said that workers did respond to a fire alarm at a dormitory, a broken window and several complaints about broken heating systems. Workers at Paresky also spent the night on campus, sleeping on cots in Susie’s. About 20 workers at Paresky volunteered to stay on campus Monday night and Tuesday night, said Michael Giampa, Director of Food Services. Paresky workers last stayed overnight during Winter Storm Nemo in February, 2013. Classes eventually resumed Wednesday with a slightly altered schedule. Instead of beginning at the usual 8:00 a.m., first period was postponed until 2:00 p.m., and classes started with second period at 9:25 a.m. The extra time was used to allow shoveling teams, designated by dorms and cluster deans, to help clear the snow. Additionally, volunteers were solicited to clear snow on Tuesday afternoon. “Every storm we get better and better,” Murphy said. A primary concern beforehand was whether or not day students would be able to get to school on Wednesday, according to Murphy. “I think it was a very small number [of day students that could not get to school on Wednesday],” said Murphy. Community service and interscholastic sports were cancelled on Wednesday and the library reopened at noon. “We’re trying to get back to normal as fast as we can,” said Murphy. The two feet of snow recorded in Boston was the sixth-highest amount totalled in the city since 1935, according to “The Boston Globe.” Boston public schools were closed Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.