By Alexis Bott:
Along with sub-zero temperatures, snow and ice, winter also brings hazardous driving conditions. Despite the dangerous driving conditions this winter, some students say the attendance policy at the school are borderline extreme.
These past few months have been tough for students at The College at Brockport. Major unpredictable weather events made going to class difficult for students on campus and those who commuted.
Kayla Lincoln, a sophomore at The College at Brockport commutes to campus from Parma, NY. She has a short drive to the campus in good weather conditions, but during rough winter months it’s difficult. Lincoln explains driving in extreme conditions can make it a long and terrifying commute.
“I don’t feel it’s safe for commuters to drive when there are extreme weather conditions. Putting your life in danger over a couple classes is crazy,” Lincoln said.
For most classes, there are three unexcused absences that are permitted without penalty to a student’s attendance grade. The College’s attendance policy states that students may miss no more than 15 percent of scheduled classes or they may receive a lowered grade or failure, at the instructor’s discretion.
“If the class can’t be postponed, then attendance that day should not be taken and hurt the students who commute,” Lincoln said.
The college’s main priority is to continue classes as usual with the help of snow crews to salt down the roads, parking lots and sidewalks. Students who live on campus don’t have to worry about shoveling, but some say the sidewalks are poorly shoveled.
Rachel Schleusener, a senior at The College at Brockport currently lives on campus. She mentioned how she mainly walks to her classes, but during the winter months it can be extremely difficult to get around.
“They should take into consideration more of the temperatures for those who are walking. It is a brutal walk especially during the winter time when the weather has dropped to the negatives,” Schleusener said.
Canceling classes and activities can be disruptive to the college’s academic calendar. According to the policy statement on The College at Brockport’s website, normal operations in case of severe weather conditions must be continued despite the dangerous conditions.
Emma Sedia, a student at The College at Brockport who currently commutes from the Rochester area. Sedia explains that her drive is risky during the winter time and that it is difficult to get to school with a slow commute.
“I just can’t skip my classes when the weather is bad because then my attendance goes towards my grade, so I think it’s unfair to the students,” Sedia said.
John Fallaco, Director of Communications at The College at Brockport sends out emails to the campus community covering the news that goes on. He has sent out information regarding weather conditions for if classes are canceled, dining hours are changing and power outages.
“Class attendance policies are developed at the discretion of each individual instructor,” Follaco says.
While the school districts have closed in the area due to severe weather conditions, the college had remained open. Fallaco sent out an email in the beginning of the semester while the college remained open on a winter weather advisory issue. He explained if students feel it’s unsafe to commute and walk to classes, they should contact their instructor to see if there’s possible alternate arrangements that could be made.
The attendance policy is up for review in 2020. It is unknown if The College at Brockport has any plans to change their policy on inclement weather.