For just the 14th day since 1978, the Ohio State main campus will cancel classes on Wednesday, the university announced on Twitter on Tuesday.
The campus will be closed at 11 p.m. on Tuesday, and will re-open at 7 a.m. Thursday, the tweet said. It said all classes and activities will be canceled. However, veterinary, dentistry and optometry clinics will remain open on Wednesday, according to a release sent out by the university.
Ohio State had also previously announced on Twitter Tuesday afternoon and evening that it had canceled classes on the Lima, Mansfield, Marion and Newark campuses.
Dave Isaacs, spokesman for the Office of Student Life, said that despite classes being canceled, the three Traditions locations will remain open on campus, as will Sloopy’s Diner and the Pad. Student Health Services will also remain open, but he said all other offices in Student Life will be closed, including the rec sports facilities.
The last time Ohio State closed its main campus was Jan. 6 and 7 in 2014, when there were wind chills of minus 35.
Andy Hatzos, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Wilmington, Ohio, said the high on Wednesday will be 1 degree that will be reached at 5 p.m. with a low of minus 4 that will be reached at 9 a.m. Between 4 and 5 p.m., the wind chill will be at minus 15 while the low will be between 9 and 10 a.m., with wind chill being at minus 29. The wind chill has not been this low since the last time Ohio State closed its main campus, Hatzos said.
While the temperature will gradually warm as the day goes on, Hatzos said it will still be “dangerous at any point.” Frostbite can occur in just 15 minutes of skin exposure given the wind chill and temperature.
Nicholas Riggi, a fourth-year in biology, started a petition Monday afternoon asking Ohio State to cancel classes. As of publication, it had received more than 28,000 signatures.
Riggi said regardless of whether his petition made a difference, it was exciting to see that Ohio State made the decision to cancel classes and ensure students did not have to walk to classes in the cold.
“The fact that [the petition] gained this much momentum, class actually got canceled, I’m really proud of my entire Buckeye nation,” Riggi said. “Everybody just got behind it, started supporting it. It really is incredible.”
Riggi added that he was surprised an announcement was made Tuesday evening rather than early Wednesday morning.
“I’m going to be honest, I was expecting to have to wake up to the alert tomorrow morning,” Riggi said. “I wasn’t expecting it any time before I went to bed tonight.”
University spokesman Dan Hedman said the university needed to wait to make its decision to have time to evaluate the forecast and discuss with medical and public safety officials to determine if it was safest to cancel classes on Wednesday.
A release sent out by Ohio State Tuesday advised all student and faculty to remain indoors and to only travel if necessary given the extreme cold. It said that if anyone needs to leave their homes, they should wear plenty of layers including a hat, water repellant and tightly woven outer garments, something to protect the mouth, and mittens.
Updated at 9:17 p.m. on Jan. 29 to include information about veterinary, dentistry and optometry clinics remaining open on Wednesday.