EDITORIAL: Canceling school was the right decision

Staff Editorial

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Many people working at and attending Eastern waited with high hopes on Tuesday afternoon for the university to make the decision on whether or not to cancel Wednesday’s classes.

At The Daily Eastern News, not only were we not disappointed with the decision, but we were downright grateful that classes got canceled.

And we don’t mean this in a “woohoo, no school!” kind of way. (Well, OK, maybe a little, but come on, it’d been two years since we had a cancellation.) But considering the safety of everyone who would have had to make it to classes risking frostbite or hypothermia, canceling was the best decision that could have been made.

With wind chills as low as -45 degrees in areas of Central Illinois, frostbite can occur on exposed areas of the skin in as little as ten minutes. Students living in the South Quad have approximately a 15-minute walk to Old Main. Students living off campus often have to walk even farther.

Proceeding with classes would not have been fair to students for whom walking is their only method of transportation—whether from simply not having a car or from vehicular malfunctions occurring in this cold of weather (which has happened to multiple members of our editorial board this week).

The cold temperatures and wind chill make it difficult enough to walk outside; however, it is also a challenge when such temperatures come shortly after a rainy day, as they did, because ice puddles tend to form in various spots around campus. These conditions are simply not safe.

Some people don’t understand why we can’t just tough it out; they think a little ice and wind won’t hurt anyone if they are careful and bundle up.

Well, on top of all the reasons already mentioned as to why people should not just “tough it out,” some students may not have the proper clothing to stay adequately warm, whether they don’t own a heavy jacket, gloves or some other necessary article of clothing. Maybe they didn’t bring theirs to campus, or maybe they can’t afford it. Regardless, not everyone is properly equipped to walk in arctic weather.

Sure, canceling classes messed up some people’s plans and set them back. But a canceled plan is better than having to go to the hospital for hypothermia. It is better to be safe than sorry and to consider the well-being of the Eastern community.

Not everyone had the day off, including several of us at The Daily Eastern News who still created content for our website. But canceling classes was the best decision that could have been made considering the situation, and we are thankful Eastern took that step to ensure the community’s safety.

The Editorial staff can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]