If you’re a born and bred Canadian then you should be no stranger to trying winter weather conditions. However, in light of the extreme cold and snow that Canada and the rest of North America has been experiencing, even tried and true Canadians will be struggling.
During bouts of severe inclement weather, traveling can be considerably hazardous and as many of Concordia’s students, faculty and staff commute to school each day, this winter season may see many of them staying home. Missing school or work is not a desirable option, but nothing is worth risking one’s life. If the roads are too slippery or the snow is too thick people are usually advised to stay home. However, university students are on a very strict learning schedule and cannot afford to miss too many classes or have too many of their classes canceled.
Taking into consideration that winter 2014 is already off to an extreme start, Concordia should advise its teachers to prepare class material that students can access from home in case they or their professor can’t make the commute.
Concordia’s Moodle service provides an excellent way to give students learning material, however not all classes have a Moodle account, nor do all instructors know how to use Moodle. Email is a viable option for communicating lessons and it would allow for students to respond directly to their professors with any queries. Furthermore, teachers should be lenient with attendance and responsive to students who may live farther away from campus and may need to miss more classes than their fellows because of commuting concerns.
This isn’t to say that students should use the weather as an excuse to miss class, but the university should take into consideration the health of its students, staff and faculty.
Not only should this be done as a courtesy but also because students pay a lot of money for classes and they should be able to access the classes they pay for when circumstances prohibit them from traveling to campus.
Moreover, the university should also consider establishing procedures for stranded Concordia members. If public transit were to stop running or if conditions made it impossible to drive, members of the Concordia community would be unable to get home. The university should have a plan in place to accommodate those who may become marooned on campus.
If the university does have these sort of accommodations already in place, then that information should be made readily accessible. We don’t want to have to weigh the consequences of missing class versus the potential consequences of commuting in inclement weather.