Too cold? Then don’t go

Too cold for classes this week?

Kent State doesn’t think so, and neither do we.

Wind chills were between 11 and 16 degrees below zero Monday and 4 degrees below zero and 4 degrees yesterday. Kent State remained open, as did other Northeast Ohio universities such as the University of Akron, Cleveland State and John Carroll.

But nearly every single preschool, day care, elementary school, middle school and high school in Portage, Summit and Cuyahoga counties have been closed for the past two days.

And going outdoors in such weather isn’t safe. Frostbite can develop in about 10 minutes of exposure to such extreme cold.

But does that mean Kent State’s classes should be canceled too?

Absolutely not.

Kent State students were so angry that one created a Facebook group about canceling classes called “Kent State! Don’t Put us in Danger!! Cancel Clases!” (yes, “classes” was spelled incorrectly). As of yesterday afternoon, the group had more than 2,100 members. About 40 students even protested Monday night at Eastway.

Students in the group and the ones quoted in yesterday’s story, “Steamed students left out in the cold,” said they felt Kent State was endangering students by putting them out in the cold. Many even sent e-mails to President Lester Lefton about the university remaining open.

But classes shouldn’t be canceled. It’s not snowing, the roads are clear and the sidewalks are salted. Commuters can make it to campus safely and students can walk to class without having to trudge through mounds of snow. Kent State doesn’t have built-in snow days to cancel classes like elementary schools and high schools do, said David Creamer, senior vice president for administration, in yesterday’s story.

We’re in college now. We don’t have to stand outside and wait for the bus to come or walk a mile or two to school. We don’t have parents that take time to drop us off at school and pick us up.

But we do have one thing school children don’t – we have the option of going to class. No one can make us go to class. We don’t have to go if we don’t want to. We don’t have parents around to make us go either. Some professors may take attendance, but that doesn’t mean we are forced to go. You might lose attendance points and miss the notes, but if you want to stay in bed, no one’s stopping you.

We’re also old enough and responsible enough to dress appropriately and to wear hats and scarves. Kent State has bus routes for students who have far walks to class, and there are warm, heated buildings throughout campus that a cold student walking to class can walk through or warm up for a bit before continuing to class.

There are plenty of things students can do to stay warm and to avoid frostbite and hypothermia. Meterologists suggest going outside only when needed, limiting time spent outdoors to five to ten minutes, wearing several warm layers and making sure all body parts are covered.

So while the walk may be bitterly cold, bundle up and suck it up. No matter how many e-mails Lefton receives, it’s not going to change his decision to not cancel classes as long as it’s not snowing heavily. You’re here for an education, not snow days.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.