Memphis has been hit with a cold front for the last couple of days. With ice on the roads and freezing winds, many college students do not want to take any risks and have chosen to skip school.
On Monday, the city was hit by heavy rain causing students to be late to classes due to the slow-moving interstate traffic. Two major accidents involving tractor-trailers on the interstate were reported throughout the day.
Many students decided to stay home the next day with news of overnight and next day temperatures dropping down to 20 degrees Fahrenheit, the coldest weather the city has experienced in 2019.
The University of Memphis sent out an email to all faculty and students Monday afternoon, noting the inclement weather and reminding students that classes had not been canceled as of yet. However, students were encouraged to make decisions on commuting based on their safety, with staff being asked to be considerate toward the decisions of those that chose not to come due to the recent conditions.
Dr. Dennis Laumann, a history professor at the UofM, has never had any issue with students that take a class off for weather-related reasons and goes as far as to make it an automatically excused absence.
“I consider this a legitimate excuse as I would not want any student to risk injury to attend class,” Laumann said. “Additionally, some students may have to care for children who are home from school because of closings, and some students may have physical disabilities that require more caution in wintry weather.”
Laumann said that although he is giving his students an excused absence, they still have the responsibility of finding out what they missed to be caught up for the next class meeting.
The Memphis International Airport has held records of Memphis weather since 1941. Their data shows that in 1963, Memphis had its lowest temperature recorded at -13 degrees Fahrenheit. Since then, Memphis has hit negative temperatures only twice in the 80s.
In the last 10 years, Memphis’ coldest weather of the year had an average of 12.6 degrees Fahrenheit, and the coldest of those days was last year, Jan. 17, when it dropped to only 7 degrees. The last time Memphis hit 7 degrees was back in 1970.
Chandler Inman, a junior at the UofM that has a 30-minute commute every morning to school, said he has not missed a class this semester. He said the weather has been a little overhyped and not a real reason to have to stay home at this point.
“I am from Illinois, so I know what terrible winter weather is like,” Inman said. “Monday just had hard rain showers, and the next day it was super sunny outside with just some chilly winds. I think it is a bit ridiculous that students have to consider not coming in over that unless, of course, their roads are actually frozen over.”