Montclair State Prepares for Winter Storm Despite University Closure

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Published January 22, 2016
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The Montclarion
Snow is piling up during Winter Storm Jonas, causing the closure of university facilities. Photo Credit: Kristen Bryfogle
Snow is piling up during Winter Storm Jonas, causing the closure of university facilities. Photo Credit: Kristen Bryfogle

Snow is piling up during Winter Storm Jonas, causing the closure of university facilities.
Photo Credit: Kristen Bryfogle

UPDATE, Jan. 23 3:19 p.m.: The Red Hawk Diner will close at 4 p.m. and re-open tomorrow at 8 p.m.

Jan. 23 10:50 a.m.: The University announced this morning that the Student Recreation Center and the Dunkin Donuts in Blanton Plaza will be closed until further notice due to the weather conditions. For a full list of what remains open, visit here.

With the first big snowstorm of the semester–Winter Storm Jonas–imminent, Montclair State University is gearing up for the snow, which, according to The Weather Channel, is set to start around midnight tonight and accumulate between eight and 12 inches throughout the day tomorrow.

The university already announced on Friday afternoon that it decided to close on Saturday Jan. 23, since blizzard warnings are in effect from tonight until early Sunday morning.

Though campus may be “shut down,” faculty and staff continue to work on preparing for the storm to ensure the safety of the students who have remained on campus for the incoming blizzard.

“Facilities staff work continuously to clear the snow from the campus as quickly as possible,” said Dr. Karen Pennington, Vice President of Student Development and Campus Life. “It is important for everyone to remember that snow removal is not an easy process, that things will not be perfectly clear immediately and people are working very hard to try and get things back to normal. Patience, reasonable thinking and understanding are critical during these times.”

Snow continues to fall at the Montclair State campus. Photo Credit: Kristen Bryfogle

Snow continues to fall at the Montclair State campus.
Photo Credit: Kristen Bryfogle

John Delate, Director of Residence Life, is one of the staff members at Montclair State who has been working hard to ensure students will be safe and comfortable in the inclement weather. “As you can imagine, we have been monitoring the weather all week,” Delate said, making note of the university’s weather service which aids them in the planning process through its detailed forecasts. “Since we have 5,200 students who live on campus, we take the preparation part very seriously.”

According to Delate, preparation included meeting with Dining Services to arrange food provisions for residents of Sinatra Hall, since the shuttle will not be running on Saturday and it may be difficult for students to reach Sam’s Place or Freeman Dining Hall for meals.

Residence Life also met with Auxiliary Services, University Facilities and University Police in order to coordinate their efforts for the weekend.

Additionally, Delate said that they have stocked up on necessary emergency equipment, such as flashlights, batteries and shovels.

Snow covers Clove Road and the parking lot for the NJ Transit Deck. Photo Credit: Kristen Bryfogle

Snow covers Clove Road and the parking lot for the NJ Transit Deck.
Photo Credit: Kristen Bryfogle

According to Pennington, the administration along with the faculty will take the same approach during this weekend storm as it does for snow storms on weekdays, “but the priorities may shift depending on the storm track and the activities involved.”

As the facilities staff works to clear the main areas of campus first, some walkways and stairways may remain blocked until the snow stops. “We urge our residents to use caution tomorrow, even when walking on campus,” said Delate.

According to Pennington, campus closure on Monday is “extremely doubtful given the current reports that the storm will end early Sunday. If conditions change, a decision will be made before 5 a.m. Monday morning.”

“Storms are unpredictable despite all of the information available,” Pennington said. “The University will take all available steps to keep the community safe and informed of changes. But Mother Nature will do what she wants and we have to all be flexible in our plans. Remember to stay calm, expect the unexpected and be kind to those who are trying to clear the snow so you can get around.”

In case of closures, the University will alert students over email, along with posting a message on the university website, Facebook and Twitter. Students can also sign up for “rave” emergency alerts to receive a text whenever there is an urgent announcement.

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