On Tuesday at 3:37 p.m., the College sent out a Student-Info email stating that, in order to “foster student safety and minimize exposure to dangerously cold temperatures,” classes would be canceled the following day. By 4 p.m., both the Village Market and the Kenyon Bookstore saw long lines of students and community members looking to buy food to avoid going outside the next day.
On Wednesday, temperatures reached a reported high of negative 1 degree Fahrenheit and low of negative 4 degrees Fahrenheit, with wind chills dropping as low as 35 degrees below zero. At 2:17 p.m., a third Student-Info email stated that Thursday classes taking place before 4 p.m. would also be canceled and that students should “avoid going outdoors.”
Though Wednesday was the first time since January 1994 that many places in northern Ohio saw highs below zero, according to the National Weather Service, such weather is not unprecedented on Kenyon’s campus. In 2014, the Collegian reported a day with a high of five degrees Fahrenheit, and a low of negative 22, although classes were not canceled. In 2011, however, a February ice storm left classes canceled after the campus experienced a 13-hour power outage.
In order to contend with this polar vortex, shuttles ran on a continuous loop between Peirce Hall, the Bookstore, Caples Hall, the Post Office and the Cox Health and Counseling Center, but many students chose to stay in their dorms for the duration of the day. In addition to classes being canceled, some student employees were told on Wednesday that they didn’t have to come into work and various campus clubs and organizations either canceled their meetings or moved them to earlier in the day.