From President Russ Kavalhuna to the campus community

About our decision to remain open the morning of February 12, 2019

Dear HFC students, faculty, and staff,

I have heard from many of you today, and thank you for reaching out. I know many of you were concerned, frustrated, or angry about the College’s decision to remain open this morning. I too have been battling the elements, and I can relate to your difficulties.

The decision to close, delay, or remain open is particularly difficult on days like today. I try to reach the best decision based on all available information. Sometimes, we make the wrong choice. I think today was one such circumstance. As you know, we have closed for afternoon and evening classes.

I do want to tell you about our process, and explain why we made the decision we did.

Starting at around 4:00 a.m., I began discussing the question with facilities staff and senior leaders to evaluate this question. We monitored the current weather, the weather forecast, other schools’ decisions (colleges and P-12), local and regional road conditions, and the conditions on our campuses. By 6:00 a.m., I analyzed all of these factors and concluded that it was safe to remain open.

While I recognized the potential of ice and freezing rain, I was relying on forecasts showing that the temperature would be at or above 32 degrees when the rain came. As the rain arrived, the temperature was slightly below 32 degrees, but our surfaces seemed to remain passable. Then, the rain began to freeze around 7:30 a.m. Our crews went to work trying to clear the surfaces. But the temperature was not climbing as forecasts predicted. As a result, I became concerned that that we could not rely on the temperature to help us remove the remaining ice. That led to my decision to close at 12:30 today, and remain closed through the evening.

This explanation is not to convince you that I made the right choice today, but I hope it gives you some idea of the process I undertook. As you know, we have canceled school four days this term, and I am convinced that each event is an opportunity to learn and improve. Please know that we as a team at HFC will learn from today’s event, too.

We do want to keep the College open whenever we safely can, to deliver the education our students expect of us. There may be future days when the weather is wintry but our campuses are safe to navigate. In such cases, each of us has to make the best possible decision about our personal safety traveling to and from campus. I will request that HFC faculty give reasonable waivers of their attendance policies and, if possible, their course due dates, in recognition of family and students’ decisions not to come to campus for weather-related safety reasons.

If you are unable to make it to campus for weather-related reasons on a day the College is open, please reach out to communicate individually with your faculty members. Each course is different, and faculty are the experts on providing the best education to our students. Your faculty members’ contact information is in each course’s syllabus.

I will always respond to any feedback you have, and I am committed to you, your family, and to our community’s education and safety. I apologize that my decision caused some of you frustration and difficulty today.

You may reach me at OfficeOfThePresident@hfcc.edu or RKavalhuna@hfcc.edu. My Facebook page is facebook.com/russ.kavalhuna.9.

P.S. Apologies that the video says "Wednesday." It's been a long day! I meant Tuesday.