Jan 03 2013

Getting the Word Out on Winter Weather

Community colleges use digital technology to inform students and staff about weather-related closures.

As we enter the coldest months of the year, school closures are bound to happen. On those days, students, parents and school staff will have to adjust their schedules because of snow and ice. Community college students often commute to campus via car or public transportation, making it a challenge to communicate with all students quickly. As a result, most community colleges have leveraged modern technology to communicate quickly when inclement weather affects normal operation.

When dealing with closures, community colleges take an approach that is slightly different from K–12 schools. Whereas K–12 schools have recently begun using technology in a variety of ways to get the word out to parents when weather prompts a closing, community colleges target students directly via e-mail and cell phones.

Here are a few examples of how community colleges are letting people know about closures and delays:

Anne Arundel Community College

Along with a home page that posts emergency information, this Maryland school uses a notification system via e2campus. Users register their e-mail addresses and cell phone numbers in order to receive messages about school closures, event cancellations and traffic issues.

Three Rivers Community College

Three Rivers uses a number of tried-and-true ways to get information to its Connecticut students and staff, including television, radio, the school’s website and an alert notification system from myCommNet which delivers e-mail and text messages with relevant information about closures and delays.

Northern Virginia Community College

At NOVA CC, the college’s website and cable television station carry closure information. In addition, the NOVA Alert notification system sends text messages to registered cell phones, providing up-to-date information about closures and delays.

Howard Community College

Users of the HCC Mobile Alert System opt-in to notifications and designate a method — e-mail, cell phone, pager or RSS — and select the “Closings and Delays” option in order to receive information about school closures as soon as officials deem weather conditions too dangerous.

Community colleges are making good use of modern technology to notify students and staff about school closures. Because notifications are sent as soon as a decision to close is made, unnecessary — and perhaps unsafe — trips to campus can be avoided.

<p>Image courtesy of Michal Marcol / <a href="http://www.freedigitalphotos.net" target="_blank">FreeDigitalPhotos.net</a></p>