Ice delay throws off student routines

By Courtney Lacy

The two-hour delay yesterday morning gave some students more time to sleep in or study, but it left others confused and frustrated with the rare and sudden change in the university’s schedule.

Zach Wilder, a civil engineering junior, said it gave him more study time and a chance to get homework done instead of waiting to do it at the last minute.

“I would be awake anyway, and I would be on campus anyway,” he said.

But some students found yesterday’s unpredictable class schedule maddening, especially when the weather continued to affect classes past 10 a.m.

Whitney Ellis, a kinesiology junior, said she had an exam later in the morning and was frustrated when she arrived at the classroom only to find that class had also been canceled.

“It would be one thing, obviously, if it was before 10 o’clock,” Ellis said, “but I had a test, and I had trouble getting here, and it was canceled.”

Users of UK Alert, the emergency notification system, found out about the delay between 6:10 and 7 on Tuesday morning via text message, phone, e-mail and other mediums, said UK spokesman Jay Blanton.

“So, we had a pretty extensive alert system in place that was utilized,” Blanton said.

The decision to delay opening the university is uncommon, he said, and because the decision was made just shortly before 6 a.m. Tuesday, taking the time to compose a broadcast e-mail would have been largely ineffective for 8 a.m. classes and office openings.

“That’s why we concentrated our efforts on informing the media, working with emergency management on the alert being distributed quickly and posting a news item on the page of the site,” Blanton said.

“Given the time involved, we think we made the right decisions to reach the most people in the shortest amount of time.”

According to the National Weather Service in Louisville, there was an average of three inches of snow and rain accumulation across Fayette County. Colder temperatures and freezing rain will continue through this afternoon.

Blanton said the addition of the UK Alert system is a huge boost to the notification effort and another reason why he hopes people will continue to sign up for the “critically important service.”

The decision to delay classes was a collaborative decision between the UK Police Department, Physical Plant Division, and Lexington’s Division of Environmental and Emergency Management, said Christy Giles, director of UK’s emergency management office, made by using information from local state law enforcement agencies as well as streets and roads departments,

“A recommendation is made if delays and cancellations are warranted, as they were with the sudden ice formations on the roads and campus sidewalks early Tuesday morning,” Giles said.