GOSHEN — Goshen College is scheduled to start classes Wednesday, Jan. 8 — but because of the winter storm affecting much of the U.S., not all students are going to make it to the first day of second semester.
Rachel Jantzi, a senior, was one of several Goshen College students who complained on social media about their “stranded” status earlier this week.
“My major concern is that the weather will die down like they say it will,” Jantzi said Tuesday afternoon, Jan. 7, in a phone interview from Denver, Colo.
Jantzi, a Nebraska native, usually flies out of a Denver airport to return to school. But she found out Monday morning — after waiting for hours at the airport — her flight was canceled due to weather conditions. The next available flight is Thursday, which forces Jantzi to miss the first two days of classes.
“I’m not too worried because the first few classes are usually an introduction,” Jantzi said, adding that she’s in contact with her professors.
Jantzi plans to meet up with another Goshen student who’s stuck in Denver for Thursday’s trip.
“We are going to go to the airport together,” Jantzi said. “We are kind of a buddy system right now.”
Goshen College sophomores Anneliese Baer and Caleb Beachy drove back to Goshen from Cleveland, Ohio, on Monday, Jan. 6 — despite the winter storm.
They were part of a small group of students — between 30 and 50 — who decided to come back from winter break Monday, according to Chad Coleman, director of residential life for the college. Usually, Coleman said, 60 percent of the student body arrives on campus the Monday before classes start. But the college advised students to wait until Tuesday to make the trip back.
Baer and Beachy drove in Monday because they are leaving for a study abroad trip Wednesday, and they didn’t want to miss their flight.
“It was a little scary at times,” Beachy said of the drive to Goshen. “Our windshield wiper fluid was low and we couldn’t really see out the windows. We slid a few times.”
Baer added, “We weren’t sure we were going to actually be able to drive in Goshen (because of the county snow emergency).”
The two left Cleveland at 9 a.m. and arrived at school around 4 p.m. The college opened the cafeteria, both for students who stayed on campus during break and for those who arrived Monday — and Beachy and Baer were glad for a good meal soon after they arrived on campus.
Also back Monday was freshman Molly Zook, who is from the Akron area.
She made the trip with her brother, a Goshen resident.
“We just wanted to get back — the roads weren’t too bad where we were,” Zook said. “We decided to see what would happen.”
Coleman said the college started “putting out a lot of communication” to students prior to the winter storm late last week. Students were told to delay coming back to campus if they could, but that residence halls and food would be available if they did make the trip.
“There’s some that just want to be here as soon as they can be here,” Coleman said Monday night, adding that he’s happy most students heeded weather alerts and stayed home.
On Tuesday morning, Coleman said a few cars carrying students had arrived on campus, but he doesn’t have an exact count of how many students are back. He added that several staffers have gone to pick up students at airports.
Bill Born, vice president of student life for the college, let students know in an email Tuesday that absences would be excused and professors would understand if they miss classes because of the weather.
“Be smart, and take the necessary precautions,” Born wrote, adding that classes would begin Wednesday as planned.