The Snow Day

I knew it was going to be a bad day when, in driving my older daughter to school, there were two collisions on the way. Her school is less than 2 km away. Then I saw traffic backed up for at least six blocks. Yup, a bad one. I got home to pick up my younger daughter and take her to daycare, but had to shovel the driveway. And then I got stuck. That’s why I’m at home writing this blog post while watching Elmo’s World.

I’ve never missed an exam in my life. (Once, as a student, a snowstorm made me late for an exam--but it made everyone else late, too.) And I’ve never been snowed out of getting to class. Today, both of those perfect records have fallen.

There was good news and bad news about the exam. The good news was that my stalwart teaching assistant lives close to campus and was able to hike in and proctor the exam. Students, stuck in the snow, wiped out in the ditch, or abandoned by the transit system, were sending me a blizzard of emails and tweets asking what to do. My brilliant solution? Hold the exam again, during the next class. Brilliant, except that the Associate Dean (Undergraduate) of Science sternly reminded the Department of Psychology that that’s not allowed--exams have to take place according to the syllabus. No exceptions. That’s the bad news.

It would have been nice to get more advance notice about this snowfall. Environment Canada’s weather office issued a snowfall warning at 9:15 a.m. MST. Really? By this point, ETS had tweeted about weather delays, the Edmonton Police Service had told people to stay off the streets, and I was up to my knees shoveling snow. Don’t need a warning at that point. When I checked the weather last night before going to bed, only 6-10 cm of snow was forecast for today. The 9:15 warning predicted up to 25 cm, with my end of town already hammered by 18 cm.

Obviously, we can’t prevent a snowstorm, but knowing about it more in advance would have been a big help.

Why aren’t you studying?


Anonymous said...

I'm curious - what did you end up doing about the midterm? Did you give it again the next class?

I had a midterm in my 6 - 9 pm night class that day as well, but the professor cancelled it with permission of the Dean, but that was an Arts class.

Karsten A. Loepelmann said...

@Anonymous: Although I wanted to, I was not allowed to hold the exam on two different days--this came right from the Faculty of Science. This shows that different Faculties often have different policies.

It turns out that only about 5% of the class was unable to write the midterm, so relatively few students were affected. Still, we've all got to plan around winter a bit better.

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