Thursday, January 4, 2018

This morning the campus is white; the wind makes it very cold. Other schools are closing; the federal government is on a two hour delay. So naturally, everyone wonders what the Seminary will do. So let me set out some principles which will shape our decision making.

In terms of educational program, the vast majority of the students and faculty live on the campus. Provided the campus is safe for walking, we are hoping that even in a major storm the cancellation of classes will be unnecessary. If the professor and students can get to the class, then the class should go ahead. Now for our staff who commute to the campus, we always invite staff to consider the conditions they face and to take safety into account. If you live out in rural Virginia, then the commute might be impossible; if you live at Cameron Station in Alexandria, then the commute is perfectly possible. So once again, we will tend to have the school open for basic services and invite any individual staff person to contact his or her supervisor if there is a particular problem.

These decisions are always controversial. Constantly closing is very disruptive; but being open can be challenging to some staff. I invite us all into a space of thoughtful consideration. The announcement from Jim Mathes today invited users of the Butterfly House to consider the reduced staffing levels and perhaps have family time instead of childcare. This is the right attitude. Let us do what we can as we live through these periodic storms.

The Very Rev. ian S. Markham, Ph.D.
Dean and President

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