Classes canceled as snowstorm grips the South

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Caleb Jenkins

This is the second time this year campus has been covered in snow.

By Muneebah Umar, The Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science

Snow rarely falls in Mississippi, but this year students saw snow twice: once for one day, and the other for almost four. Across the state, people have lost power and coped with dangerous road conditions due to the massive winter storm that has affected numerous states.

On Sunday, Feb. 14, Executive Director Dr. Germain McConnell emailed the school community to say offices would be closed and classes would be taught virtually the next day. He warned that classes possibly would have to be canceled later in the week if power outages occurred.

At the start of the week, there was much excitement around the possibility of snow.

“As a Mississippian who doesn’t get to see snow all that often, I was ecstatic that we were getting snow again,” said senior Katy Chen, who is currently off-campus in Louisville.

However, the storm escalated quickly and while some enjoyed the winter wonderland, others had to deal with harsher effects.

“The winter storm hit my town in a completely different manner—freezing rain, sleet and ice. The roads froze over, making it extremely dangerous for drivers,” Chen said. “At one point, I heard someone outside my window slide and crash in our front yard. I didn’t really get to enjoy the lovely winter snow that other people across Mississippi may have gotten to enjoy.”

By Monday night, many people in Mississippi were without power.

“I hope you are safe and staying warm. Since parts of the state are without power, classes are canceled tomorrow and offices are closed,” McConnell said in an email sent Monday night.

Even after the storm calmed down, the remnants of it, mainly the ice, hindered Mississippians’ ability to do much. Students on campus were told to stay in the dorms as much as possible and many students off campus were confined to their homes.

“The snow was fun, but the ice has been a real pain,” senior Fiona Dawe, who is currently in Starkville, said. “My power went out, but it was brief, so that’s nice. However, the ice has prevented anyone from leaving the house, and it knocked down a tree in my driveway.”

Wednesday remained a regular Academic Support Day for students, and classes were supposed to occur virtually for the rest of the week. However, early Thursday morning McConnell sent an email saying classes would have to be canceled.

“We are aware that several areas of the state are without power this morning, and we have been getting messages from teachers and families.  Therefore, it is necessary to cancel classes for today.  We will resume classes tomorrow,” McConnell wrote in the email.

Chen did not have power that day and was appreciative that classes were canceled.

“While I could have joined my classes using my phone’s internet, I’m glad that MSMS decided to cancel classes the day my power went out, especially since I know that many other students who are doing virtual schooling may not be as fortunate in having cellular internet access,” Chen said.

Classes resumed virtually on Friday, Feb. 19, although MSMS offices remained closed.

Students on campus have not experienced any power outages, and for some, it was a chance to enjoy some camaraderie.

“It has definitely been a unique experience,” senior Laney Ethridge said. “I’m glad to have been around my friends during this time, since it was something we don’t see a lot. No matter how cool this experience was, though, I know many of my classmates were terribly affected, so I’m glad that the worst of it is over.”

This story was originally published on The Vision MSMS on February 19, 2021.