Posted Jan. 26, 6:25 a.m.– University officials canceled Monday classes after a snowstorm hit D.C. Sunday night and blanketed the campus in powder. The storm triggred a declaration of a city-wide emergency and closure of D.C. public schools.
Bob Ludwig, interim director of Media Relations, said officials debated whether to close school since snow began to fall at about 7 p.m., and that their 5:45 a.m. decision ultimately hinged on “the ability of students and professors to get to campus.”
Ludwig said the University has implemented a liberal leave policy, meaning all staff that can’t make it to campus should stay home.
Monday’s cancellation, along with President’s Day and Martin Luther King Day will create a situation where students enrolled in Monday-only classes will miss at least three classes this semester. Ludwig said officials would work hard to make sure students have the necessary class time to complete their course work.
“This is a weather emergency, and we’ll have to evaluate any make up days once we get through this,” he said.
Students said they were enthusiastic about the storm Sunday, and they anticipated the cancellation of classes. A group of 10 students congregated behind the White House early Monday morning to marvel at a city momentarily transformed by the snow.
“I’m from Texas so we usually get ice,” freshman Nathaly Callado said. “I’m excited to see this.”
On the Quad, more than 100 students threw snowballs at each other and expressed hope that they would be able to sleep late Monday morning.
“I think they will cancel classes, but they will probably procrastinate just like the always do,” junior David Gil said.
Last December, administrators decided to cancel classes around 6 a.m., after a storm blanketed campus with six inches of snow. Officials consulted with GW facilities management workers and traffic reports before making the decision.
The city will see between four and eight inches of snow by daybreak Monday, said Andy Woodcock, a meteorologist at the National Weather Services’ Baltimore-Washington Weather Forecast Office.
Woodcock said the District’s primary roads will be in “decent shape,” but that neighborhood routes would be difficult to navigate.
The District declared a snow emergency at 9 p.m., and announced the cancellation of Monday classes for all D.C. public schools shortly before midnight.
More than 200 vehicles will plow and deposit salt on main thoroughfares, overpasses and bridges throughout the night, according to a city press release. Crews will work around the clock to clear routes for Monday’s rush hour.
The last time the University called off school because of a snowstorm was last February, when a blizzard dumped more than 18 inches of precipitation on the District.
While previous closures were also preceded by a city declaration of emergency and cancellation of D.C. public school classes, Ludwig said the University evaluates each storm on a case-by-case basis.
Some students partying late into the night said they would skip classes regardless of a decision to keep GW open.
“Even if there are classes,” said freshman Marjorie Levine, “I’m not going to them.”