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Penn State must reconsider weather-closing policies

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It’s cold — and not State College winter cold, but polar vortex cold.

And while we all know students love rolling out of bed for early morning classes as it is, the negative temperatures make an already long walk even longer.

In the past few days, State College temperatures have yet again dipped into the single digits, with wind chills or “real feels” bottoming out at -15 or -20 degrees Fahrenheit.

Apartment complexes around Penn State are asking residents to leave their water running overnight to prevent frozen pipes. And the Office of Physical Plant has its hands full tending to frosty sidewalks and hardened slush.

Commonwealth campuses across the state are closing their doors early — or not opening them at all — most for the sake of keeping their students safe and warm.

Yet at University Park, there seems to be a precedent that, much like the U.S. Postal Service, “neither snow nor rain nor heat” will keep us from going to class.

While we appreciate the university’s dedication to helping us achieve a higher education, we also can’t help but ask when is too cold? Local school districts aren’t afraid to close their doors, or even delay, in cases of inclement weather, and college should be no different.

We still walk to classes or wait outside for the nearest bus. Some students even commute, with a majority of students living in the surrounding area utilizing the commuter parking lot out by the Bryce Jordan Center.

That doesn’t even begin to account for the hundreds of professors employed by the university who also don’t live within walking distance of Penn State’s sprawling campus, who have children to attend to and plan for on days when nearby schools shut down.

And unlike most schools, Penn State’s guidelines for closing its doors aren’t readily available online. We all remember the shocked Facebook statuses following Hurricane Sandy’s impact on classes.

Let us be clear: We’re not asking for numerous snow days or two hour delays all the time. Just remember, our hands get cold, too.

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