AACC opened late on the first day of the spring semester because of snow.
Vice President of Learning Resources Management Melissa Beardmore decided to close the college until 1 p.m. on Jan. 17 because of snowfall the night before.
“Every faculty member I spoke with was praying that the college would open on time,” Ken Jarvis, The Faculty Organization chair, said. “We teach a program with a lot of labs, and if we miss a lab it changes the whole semester. We get a day off, and snow days are great, but this is our job and snow days affect our ability to cover all of the content.”
Jarvis said the administration makes the decision to cancel or delay school to ensure the safety of students, staff and faculty.
“It was an extra day off, but now we have to cram two days of work into one class,” said Brandon Brashears, a first-year transfer studies student. Beardmore makes the final call about delays, cancellations and early releases based on the weather forecast, the current weather and the condition of the campus.
“Predicting the weather is not exact science,” Beardmore said. “If we decide to delay or close early, the inclement weather is either actively happening or [is predicted to happen with] a high level of certainty.”
AACC has a monthly subscription to an AccuWeather radar that gives predictions specifically for Arnold.
Under Maryland law, all colleges must meet a quota of “instructional minutes,” regardless of unexpected closures.
In the past, AACC extended the spring semester on the fly to make up for snow closures.
But that can be difficult for students and faculty who make plans expecting their classes to be finished by a certain date.
A couple of years ago, the snow was so frequent the college added a week to the end of the semester, Associate Vice President for Learning Alycia Marshall said.
“I had colleagues that had scheduled trips and students with work obligations, who weren’t expecting to have an extra week of classes,” Marshall said. This year, AACC officials added two make-up instructional days to the spring semester calendar: May 7 and 8. If they aren’t needed, they will be study days in preparation for finals.
Instructors will have the option to choose whether to use the make-up days or add additional assignments to make up for lost time.