College suspends campus activity for afternoon and evening of Dec. 15 due to forecasted high-speed winds


Allison Moore

On Tuesday, December 14 around 9 p.m., Grinnell College issued an email to alert students, staff, and faculty that because of the potential for dangerous winds on Wednesday, Dec. 15, after 3 p.m. all campus activity will be shut down and at 4 p.m. students must shelter in their residence halls or living spaces.

In an email sent the evening of Tuesday, Dec. 14, Director of Emergency Management and Risk Mitigation Heather Cox and College President Anne Harris cited the forecast of the National Weather Service, which currently predicts Poweshiek County will have “high wind” and “severe weather” throughout Wednesday afternoon and evening.

After 4 p.m., access to campus buildings will be available only in emergencies.

Additionally, students who live in campus residence halls will be required to remain in their dorms. Those who live off-campus and wish to shelter elsewhere from 4 p.m. to 8 a.m. can contact Residence Life before 1 p.m. Wednesday to request to stay in the Bear Athletic Center.

The Spencer Grill will close at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, as will the dining hall. From 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. the Dining Hall will begin a to-go dinner service. Students are expected to take their meals away and eat later in their respective residences.

Staff who are permitted to work remotely are instructed to do so tomorrow, the email said. The College also said that Facilities Management and Campus Safety staff must coordinate with supervisors to adjust their work schedules accordingly.

Administrative offices will close tomorrow by 3 p.m. The College instructed employees who cannot travel home safely to contact Conference Operations to make arrangements.

According to the email, no in-person academic activities can occur after 3 p.m. on the 15th. In-person exams scheduled to occur between 2 and 5 p.m. on Wednesday must be rescheduled. To do so, the College listed various options faculty could take. One option includes a new Thursday evening exam block from 7 to 10 p.m. or moving the exam to 12 to 3 p.m. on Wednesday. Faculty also have the option to make their scheduled in-person exam instead a take-home exam due no later than Monday, December 20 at 5 p.m.

All take-home exams, other written work, or oral defenses of written work will now also be due no later than Monday, December 20 at 5 p.m. Faculty still have the ability to make earlier due dates if they wish.

The College will continue to provide updates on the weather as well as instructions on how to approach exams scheduled for Thursday, the email signed by Harris and Marzluff said.

Editor’s note Dec. 15, 2021, 8:51 a.m.: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the College said all campus activities would be shut down by 4 p.m. on the 15th. The announced shutdown time is 3 p.m.