Winter Storm Juno Forces College to Close
Issue   |   Mon, 01/26/2015 - 23:36

Updated Jan. 27, 2015 at 11:53 a.m.: According to Chief of Campus Operations Jim Brassord, the college is unlikely to be closed on Wednesday. "The storm is trailing off and is less intense than some of the forecast models predicted," Brassord said.

Amherst College will be closed Tuesday in preparation for a snowstorm expected to bring 1 to 2 feet of snow to the region.

Chief of Campus Operations Jim Brassord announced the closure in a campus-wide email on Monday afternoon, after Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker declared a state of emergency and issued a ban on all non-essential motor vehicle travel beginning Tuesday at midnight. The National Weather Service has described the storm as “crippling and historic.”

All offices will be closed Tuesday, and all classes are canceled. Because the storm falls in the middle of add/drop period, the add/drop deadline has been extended until Wednesday, Feb. 4 at 5 p.m.

The only buildings open Tuesday will be Valentine Dining Hall, LeFrak Gym and the dorms.

Valentine will operate during its normal hours on Tuesday, but Director of Dining Services Charlie Thompson said that the dining hall will likely be short-staffed. Approximately 12 Valentine employees will be staying overnight in college housing in order to ensure that the dining hall will be staffed on Tuesday morning. Schwemm’s Coffee House, Frost Café, Grab ’n’ Go and Lewis-Sebring Commons will all be closed Tuesday.

“Our intent is to provide as much as the posted menu as possible, but we may need to make modifications to our service and menus depending on the staffing levels,” Thompson said. In anticipation of the storm, Dining Services arranged to have food for Tuesday and Wednesday brought to campus ahead of time so that Valentine would be stocked with food in case distributors could not travel to campus.

Other essential personnel will remain on campus during the snowstorm, including staff members from environmental health and safety, Amherst College Police, environmental health and safety, facilities and grounds. Students from Amherst College Emergency Medical Services (ACEMS) will also be on duty during the storm.

In his email, Brassord warned that the storm could lead to power outages on campus. Valentine and LeFrak Gym are equipped with back-up generators, as are many dorms on campus. However, Brassord said that Appleton, Chapman, Cohan, Garman, Humphries, Jenkins, Leland, Taplin, the social dorms and the Hill dorms do not have back-up generators.

“Use your residence hall as your normal place of accommodation unless we advise you otherwise,” Brassord told students in his email. If power outages necessitate moving students out of their residence halls, the college is prepared to house affected students in Valentine and LeFrak.

Brassord also recommended several safety precautions in his email, including staying indoors, avoiding the use of fireplaces and candles and being aware of falling tree limbs.

In an email to The Student, Carter reiterated Brassord's warning about staying indoors.

"Being outside during the storm places an individual at a higher risk of accident or injury and can interfere with snow clearing efforts," he said.