Superstorm Sandy: ENC’s closing procedures

Author: | Former Editor in Chief November 6, 2012 12:29 am

With the impending arrival of recent hurricane-turned-tropical storm Sandy, many students took to social media to express their thoughts about what they perceived as a delay in a decision from the administration at ENC.

While many public and private schools in the Boston area began canceling Monday classes on Sunday afternoon, by 6 p.m. there had been no word on whether classes would be held at ENC.

Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick held a news conference at 5 p.m. on Sunday, in which he requested all Boston schools — including colleges — close Monday.

An hour and a half later, the administration announced that campus would be closed on Monday.

The decision to cancel classes comes from ENC’s Emergency Response Team, with the final call ultimately lying in the hands of provost and dean of the college, Dr. Timothy Wooster.

Wooster communicates directly with Jan Weisen, James Harding, and John Gelormini, while representatives from six campus offices sit on the ERT.

Dean Wooster made it clear that the safety of the ENC community is most important to the administration as they consider whether to call off classes.

“The decision is made in an effort to balance the safety of the ENC community as well as maintain the integrity of our academic, extracurricular, and co-curricular programming,” said Wooster.

The administration took Sandy seriously from the beginning.

“In the case of Hurricane Sandy, the Office of Safety and Security initiated a communication plan several days prior to the projected arrival of the storm.”

Faculty, staff, and students were made aware of the e2Campus alert system by email, and were encouraged to sign up to receive the latest updates.

Though the goal is to make the community aware of any cancellations or delays as soon as possible, the provost is not required to make a decision public until the day in question.

“It should be recognized and understood that the official decision may not be made until the night before or morning of the event.”

The idea that ENC wouldn’t cancel classes because they can only cancel a certain number of days began circulating when some students felt the administration was taking too long to close campus.

Wooster explained that there is no need to meet a specific number of class days, but the college does need to meet accreditation guidelines.

“ENC has an academic calendar that guarantees that certain federal and regional accreditation guidelines are met regarding total instructional time. Beyond that, all academic institutions of higher education govern their own class schedule and sequence.”

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