Michael Wenye Li / Sun Senior Photographer

Cornell University canceled classes on Monday — just the fourth time its done so in decades.

December 1, 2019

As Winter Storm Looms, Cornell Cancels Monday Classes

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The University canceled all Monday classes on its Ithaca campus amid a snowstorm predicted to hit Ithaca with approximately six to 12 inches of snow. This is only the fourth time in the past 26 years the University has canceled all classes because of inclement weather.

This is the earliest snow day in decades — Cornell canceled all Friday classes in March 2018 and had another full snow day in March 2017. Other than those two closures, March 1993 was the last time that the University canceled all classes.

In a tweet, Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick ’09 urged students not to travel back in such inclement conditions.

“If you’re a student trying to drive back today — don’t,” Myrick said.

Ithaca will experience a total snowfall of 11 inches, current forecasts estimate, with winds up to 35 miles per hour. Ithaca is under a Winter Storm Watch until Monday night. The National Weather Service also warned of power outages, saying that it was “dangerous” to travel.

Aidan Mahoney ’22, co-president of Cornell’s American Meteorological Society, told The Sun that while the sleet and snow will calm down Sunday afternoon and evening, heavy snow will develop later tonight and continue to accumulate into Monday afternoon.

Campus buildings will remain open for faculty and staff, but the University is “continuing to evaluate the weather and operating status.” On Sunday night, Cornell changed its stance and announced that the Ithaca and AgriTech campus will be closed on Monday, starting at midnight.

The cancellation comes as students struggle to return to campus after Thanksgiving break. Coach USA’s Shortline Ithaca Platinum service, which runs from New York City, rescheduled all Sunday departures to leave between 9 and 10 a.m. Other Shortline buses leaving from New York City on Sunday only operated between 8 to 10:15 a.m, according to the service’s website. The company OurBus canceled some of its Sunday trips to Ithaca, saying that it had notified customers of cancellations via email.

Other areas in Ithaca are also bunkering down. Ithaca College announced on Saturday that it would cancel all Monday classes. The Ithaca YMCA and Cinemapolis will be closed Sunday. All Cornell women’s and men’s Sunday basketball games have also been canceled.

Neighboring universities, including Binghamton University, SUNY Geneseo, SUNY Cortland and Tompkins Cortland Community College also announced that they would cancel classes on Monday because of the storm.

While the storm initially inspired a series of memes from students poking fun at the rare likelihood that Cornell would cancel classes, the news of no classes on Monday led to a flurry of celebratory memes and reactions.

Mahoney believed that the University made a good decision in canceling Monday classes.

“So many people who are traveling today or maybe stuck wherever they are, now have the stress of missing classes absolved,” Mahoney said. “I cannot stress enough people are custodians of their own personal safety, but canceling classes is a good decision.”

It is unclear at this time how the cancellation would affect final exam schedules or remaining classes of the semester.