Elon University announced at 5:56 a.m. Monday that it would delay operations and postpone classes until 10 a.m. after inclement weather Sunday night and early Monday.
Snow days affect local businesses’ operations, too. Phil Smith, owner of The Oak House, said delays impact their scheduling.
“Obviously it is easier for the rest of the community, particularly the downtown business community, to make our business decisions and operational decisions when we know those type of things in advance, so earlier is always better,” Smith said. “I know the last storm they made a decision the night before, and we were fully able to plan our contingencies for the next day.”
Smith said, ideally, downtown businesses would be aware of changes as soon as possible.
“We sometimes have to have extra staff, because if school’s going to be out, then sometimes we’re feeding — and I would say housing — for the day a lot of students who are looking for a place to be warm and to study, especially when classes are out,” he said.
Peter Ustach, co-owner of Pandora’s Pies and Fat Frogg, agreed it is beneficial to know the school’s plans ahead of the business day.
“I have contacts that work at the dining halls, so I stay in touch with them, Ustach said. “And if they tell me that they’re going to be closed, we load up. My kitchen manager and I watch forecasts of the weather and order heavily earlier in the week if we know there’s a chance of inclement weather.”
Ustach said he puts employees on an on-call schedule on snow days and usually find someone to work that day to accommodate the thousands of students in the area.
“It’s our responsibility, if we can get our employees here safely, to feed [the students] and be part of that community,” Ustach said.
Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students Smith Jackson said the university delays classes as soon as they deem it necessary.
“We want to keep classes as long as we feel people can be safe,” Jackson said.
The university took steps to ensure snow or ice would not prevent students, faculty and staff from coming to campus.
“We have Physical Plant down on campus in the wee hours of the morning clearing things, making sure [paths are walkable],” Jackson said. “We’ve got Campus Police driving out checking all the different locations, and then we will have Provost Steven House and I talk after he’s talked with the Campus Police and Physical Plant.”
Despite the university carrying on with its services, some professors were not able to come because of inclement traveling conditions in surrounding areas.
“We have 3,500 students who are living here or around [campus], but there are many faculty and staff who don’t live so close,” Jackson said.
News Editor Bryan Anderson and Sports Editor Alex Simon contributed to this report.