| Ames Tribune
Iowa State University canceled in-person classes for Tuesday morning on account of the extreme cold weather gripping much of the U.S. this week, after canceling classes and suspending other university operations Monday, too.
The announcements appeared to be only the sixth time since 2010 that Iowa State canceled classes because of winter weather — and only the third time in more than a decade that daytime classes have been affected.
In-person classes scheduled before noon Tuesday will not meet, but online classes will remain in session, the university said in a news release.
In-person classes scheduled after noon on Tuesday will meet, and the university will remain open for business.
The university canceled Monday’s in-person classes, closed most buildings — including the campus museums — and modified the hours of others, including dining halls, library facilities and recreation services because of “extreme wind chills and weather conditions.”
“The university continues to monitor National Weather Service reports regarding the extreme weather conditions. If it’s necessary to extend past noon (Tuesday), the university will announce that decision by 8 a.m.,” Iowa State added in the release.
The National Weather Service’s Des Moines office forecast wind chill values as low as -20 degrees Fahrenheit during the day Monday, with wind chills expected to drop to as low as -30 overnight and into Tuesday.
A wind chill warning remained in effect until 10 a.m. Tuesday for all of central Iowa, with parts of the area perhaps to see wind chills as low as -40. The National Weather Service advised to minimize outdoor exposure to the cold, as “The dangerously cold wind chills could cause frostbite on exposed skin in as little as 10 minutes.”
“Avoid outside activities if possible. When outside, make sure you wear appropriate clothing, a hat, and gloves,” the warning Monday added.
Much of the United States is currently experiencing extreme cold and snowy or icy conditions, causing blackouts in several states, including in Texas, where millions of people were without electricity Monday.
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Drake University in Des Moines also canceled its in-person Monday classes, as did local schools in Ames.
Iowa State canceled evening classes on three days in February 2010, 2011 and 2013 because of winter weather.
Daytime classes were affected and the university closed in February 2014 because of a blizzard, and in January 2019 because of a polar vortex system. The 2019 polar vortex shuttered university operations for much of three days.
Adaptations to the COVID-19 pandemic have made it easier for some employees to work from home, though university employees who work in foodservice, police, public safety, security, power plant, animal care, critical maintenance and snow or ice removal were still expected to report to work this week unless they’re unable to.
The university said COVID-19 testing on campus at Johnny’s inside Hilton Coliseum was also suspended Monday, but that testing would be open on Tuesday.