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Chancellor | NewsFebruary 01, 2023

Chancellor Message: Campus Announcement

Dear colleagues and students,

I certainly will be glad when I get to email you about anything besides inclement weather, but here is today’s update:

According to the National Weather Service, there may be some precipitation and ice accumulation between 6-midnight and again between midnight to 6 a.m. on Thursday morning. Fort Smith is not in the direct path of the worst of this precipitation; however, we know that some faculty and students do drive in from Greenwood and surrounding areas. I am happy to see that many of the reports indicate that temps tomorrow should be increasing which will allow some ice to melt and drain off streets. Also, a big thanks to SSC and Plant Operations for continuing to clear and treat sidewalks, parking lots, and roads on campus.

Campus Operations on Thursday will be as follows: Campus will open at 10 a.m. for normal operations. This delayed start to work and classes should allow the majority of normal commuting traffic to be off the roadways when our employees are coming to work.

Classes: Faculty will teach online and in person as normal. Faculty who normally teach in person but unable to drive safely to campus should notify their students ASAP about a change in delivery method (i.e. moving to asynchronous online) or class cancellation. Students, please check your email for messages from your faculty before leaving to come to campus for classes tomorrow.

I have received a request to clarify how classes normally held in person at 8 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. will be handled tomorrow since we do not open until 10 a.m.  Classes normally held on campus at 8 a.m. will be cancelled. Classes normally beginning at 9:30 a.m. will either begin at 10 a.m. in person or held in an online format beginning at 9:30 a.m. Please plan to hear from faculty members if they are moving in person classes to an online format tomorrow; otherwise, please plan to come to campus for classes beginning at 10 a.m.

WATC classes will be held in the afternoon only. Students who are unable to attend should contact their faculty members as soon as possible.

Students: If it is unsafe for you to drive to campus for your in person class, please notify your faculty member ASAP to make arrangements to make up any missed work.

Staff will receive 2 hours of inclement weather leave if they normally work 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Inclement weather leave will be adjusted accordingly for staff who work different hours. Full-time staff who are unable to drive safely to campus should contact supervisors about the option to work from home. Employees who cannot come to campus or work from home should enter vacation leave for the period between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Student workers and part-time employees: Please contact your supervisor to discuss any changes to your schedule and any options for making up hours missed earlier this week.

Safety on campus: Please allow extra time to drive to campus and to find a clear, safe parking spot. Please use extra precautions when walking on campus and into buildings. There are extra dangers of slips and falls, so be sure to look for wet walkways and stairs, and assume you will need to use extra precautions to hold hand rails or walk on campus. Also, be aware of ice which may be melting and falling from buildings, especially when you enter and exit. Last, you may want to avoid using the tunnel that connects the campus under Grand Avenue, so please allow extra time to go to the intersection crosswalk at Waldron or 50th.

Based on the prediction of added accumulation, Chief Ottman and I will continue to keep a close eye on the weather tonight and tomorrow morning. If the weather causes us to modify our operations more than what we have announced, I will communicate the changes no later than 6 a.m. on Thursday, February 2.

Thanks to all of you for your patience and understanding as we work diligently to keep all Lions safe during this inclement weather.

Terisa C. Riley, Ph.D.