UPDATE: WKU closed for rest of the week, Ransdell encourages personnel to assist students

WKU sophomore Isaac Stevens of Morganfield brushes snow off of his car on East Main Ave. on Wednesday, Feb. 18.

Herald Staff

WKU students will have the rest of the week off, according to an email sent out by Bob Skipper, media relations director. 

Students, faculty and staff were notified around 5:08 p.m. Wednesday evening that all WKU campuses will be closed Thursday and Friday, Feb. 19 and Feb. 20. 

Tentative hours for WKU dining facilities are as follows, according to WKU Restaurant Group: Fresh Food Company from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., Papa John’s and Steak ‘n Shake from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Subway at Bates from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and POD Market from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. 

The full dining service schedule can be found online: http://www.campusdish.com/en-us/CSMA/WesternKentucky

Shortly after the announcement was made, President Gary Ransdell sent an email to faculty and staff. The email is as follows:

Faculty and Staff:  A message announcing the cancellation of classes for the rest of the week just went out to the media and on social media.  While we are canceling classes tomorrow and Friday, there are still numerous campus functions and activities that will go on.   We do need personnel involved on student services to be here.  If you have activities planned, you may conduct them at your discretion.  We have some 5,000 students living on campus and they need places to study, eat and recreate.  

It has been a challenging week.  I cannot compliment enough our Facilities staffs for their hard work this week to clear the campus as much as possible and care for buildings which have been in use even though the campus has been officially closed for the last three days.  

As we communicate now our crews are replacing a high voltage cable which blew yesterday and forced students living in Pearce Ford Tower to shift to other halls last night and tonight.  PFT will be back on line tomorrow.  And cheers to our Campus Dining staff for their outstanding work in feeding so many of our students and staff these last few days.  We have served large numbers of students in the Downing Student Union since Monday.  Our Residence Life staff has kept our residence halls in full operation, and our personnel in IT has been most helpful in opening computer labs for students.  And thanks for the Preston Center staff for being open for students and employees.  
The campus streets are clear, and most of the walks and steps are clean. There are numerous piles of snow taking up some parking spaces in many of our parking lots, so if you come to campus use good judgement when parking.  Please do not block vehicular or pedestrian walk ways. 

Students with whom I have communicated ( and Julie and I have been with many of them all week) are generally anxious to get back to class, but the weather conditions across the community and region make that a tough call.

I encourage faculty to engage students via email, Blackboard or other means if you can.  Classes may be cancelled, but learning can still occur, and campus business can still be conducted.  

Many employees live relatively close to campus and can get to campus if you need to do so.  If you cannot, or feel it is dangerous or risky to travel, then don’t.  Please use discretion when navigating area roads.  We will make it through the next two days as best we can.  

Thank you in advance for your service to our students and your departmental needs in difficult conditions.  We will be back up to full speed on Monday. Dress warmly and be safe.  

Gary Ransdell 

The Herald will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.