Why Was UD Closed When It Was -8° But Not -5°?

Sean Newhouse 
News Editor

This article was originally posted on February 25th.

For those of you who don’t want to read the full article, it’s because the wind chill was significantly worse on Jan. 30 than it was on Jan. 31.

On Jan. 30, the university was closed due to extreme cold weather that affected the Midwest. According to the email announcing school’s closure, the National Weather Service (NWS) issued a wind chill warning for the area surrounding UD from 4 p.m. Jan. 29 to 1 p.m. Jan. 31.

AccuWeather reported the high temperature on Jan. 30 was 9°F and the low was -8°F. (This does not include wind chill.) On Jan. 31, the reported temperature for the Dayton area was a high of 12°F and a low of -5°F. Despite the subzero temperature, the university was not canceled or delayed on Jan. 31.

According to Dr. Paul Benson, the academic provost, UD was not closed or delayed on Jan. 31 because there was a reduced risk to students, faculty and staff.

In a statement to Flyer News, Benson said wind chill hazards were “reduced significantly” from Jan. 30 to Jan. 31, according to the NWS. Additionally, he said that individuals who dressed appropriately on Jan. 31 “were in no danger from the cold.” Medical staff also were included in this decision.

Benson said the university is resistant to cancel classes.

“Since the vast majority of our students live in close proximity to classroom buildings, we have a general reluctance to cancel classes,” Benson said. “At the same time, as our students take hundreds of different routes to campus, we trust they use their judgment to make individual assessments of the specific conditions and risks they will face, decide whether to travel and plan accordingly. “

Several university employees survey conditions on campus and in the surrounding area when making the decision to close the university. According to multiple officials, they try to make the decision on whether to close or delay classes by 5:30 a.m. so that the university can notify students, faculty and staff by 6 a.m.

On. Jan 31, the New York Times reported government officials said 21 people had died as a result of the extreme cold weather, including a University of Iowa student who passed away on Jan. 30.