Keeping Students Safe in Storms

Keeping Students Safe in Storms

What Can Universities Do?

We're just two days into March, or meteorological spring, and severe weather is the talk of the South and Midwest. We're anticipating a highly dangerous storm headed our way in just a few hours, and our area is on edge. Several colleges and universities are in our area, and it's interesting to see how they handle the potential of severe weather. Schools don't want to jump the gun and cancel classes for no reason, but they also don't want to delay students and professors from getting to a safe location.

Colleges and universities have a responsibility to ensure the safety of their students, faculty, and employees. Severe weather can be particularly dangerous on campuses, as students trek from their dorms to classes and the library and back every day. So, universities don't want to risk students' safety when dangerous weather hits. During the spring semester, in particular, universities need to be on alert to changing weather conditions, as tornadoes and severe thunderstorms are a common occurrence in many areas of the country during this time of year.

Universities should have severe-weather plans in place long before the threat of dangerous weather looms. A text-message or email alert system can give students important weather information; it can also provide students with any information about school closings or cancellations. Faculty shouldn't be expected to work during dangerous weather times, either. Simply put, campuses should close when dangerous weather is on the horizon.

Overall, our area colleges and universities seem to be doing a good job of maximizing safety today. Most schools have cancelled afternoon classes so that students can find a safe spot to hunker down and faculty can go home to their families. Here's hoping that college campuses stay safe during this severe weather season thanks to well-thought-out emergency plans.