Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I Am So Tired of Snow and Ice!

I woke up earlier this week and once again my car was covered in snow, my driveway was iced up and it was time to leave for school. I live in Greenbrier, and during wintertime it is not uncommon to have a lot of snow and ice on the back roads near my home. After sledding through my neighborhood, I’m always shocked to find that on the drive to Volunteer State Community College, the main streets and highways are clear. I know students and faculty in Joelton, Hartsville, Lebanon and many other outlying areas that can attest to similar experiences.

This can be frustrating, especially, when the local elementary schools are closed and Vol State is open. Daycare issues and scheduling problems become a real challenge in this scenario.

Who makes the call and why? I asked this question to the Executive Assistant to the President Ken Lovett. “Though Dr. Nichols ultimately determines changes, there are a lot of factors that contribute to this decision. Campus police and local authorities assist in determining road conditions through various safety departments around middle Tennessee.”
Eric Melcher, coordinator of communication and public relations advised me how to find out the latest information, “We ONLY post if there is a delay or a cancellation. Always assume that school is open unless you are notified. The most reliable way to stay up to the minute on weather related changes is to sign up for the e-text system. The second best option is to check the website, and look at the updated information on the left side of the screen.” He also noted that Facebook, Twitter, and traditional media are additional options.

This semester has had more closings and delays than any other during Melcher's years with Vol State. “Right now faculty members are concerned because we have had a number of delays and postponements this semester. They have to cover a certain amount of curriculum for us to stay accredited, and to be able to do all the things that we do. Each student will have to use their own best judgment.”



On Tuesday, Janie Bresee of Cottontown said, “The roads were really bad in our neighborhood. They were all iced over. But most of my instructors are willing to work with me. I’m just worried that I might miss something from not being in class, but I may have to get my notes from another student.”


Scott Rhein from Pleasant View also ran into some problems getting to his first class this week, “When they delay opening the school, you still miss the information from the cancelled class. Even though the school was open, I couldn’t make it. I am only a few minutes off the interstate, and there was an inch and a half of ice on the roads. There were six miles of backed up traffic. My teacher understood why I missed and met with me afterwards and gave me some notes and the handout.”

Education student, Julie Harrison advises others to, “Keep a copy of the syllabus with you at all times to know what your instructor expects from you. In bad weather I always leave early to be safe. Some instructors give extra points on tests for making the extra effort during bad weather. Go above and beyond what your teacher wants.”

Those of us that live in rural areas know that it can get bad, so be prepared. If you think that weather is going to problem, discuss it with your instructor in advance.
Mary Nunaley, specialist, distance learning/instructional designer confirmed that, “All classes have a Desire to Learn shell. You can login at myvolstate online. It is up to each instructor whether or not they will use it, but it is available for notes, presentations, and even lectures.”

The VSCC Catalog states on page 10 under the snow policy, “Even when the College is open in full or in part, students and college personnel should not endanger their lives or safety by attempting to reach campus when local road conditions prohibit safe travel.” I can say that I will be very happy when spring finally arrives. Be safe and stay warm.

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