Education

EKU, Berea College cancel classes; UK, KSU on delayed start

Eastern Kentucky University and Berea College have called off classes and closed offices for Thursday and Friday because downed tree limbs have made traveling to class too dangerous.

Officials at Kentucky State University announced there will a two-hour delay. Classes will resume and offices will open at 10 a.m.

Friday would have been the last day of Berea College's winter semester.

At EKU, most of the debris is from large branches, not whole trees, but "we still have several trees that are hanging in the balance with ice," said Marc Whitt, EKU's associate vice president for public relations.

"It's going to take our campus facilities (workers) anywhere from two to three days to just clear the downed trees so that students would be safe," Whitt said. "Even with taking the remainder of this week to clear a pathway out, it will take several weeks for facilities services to pick up all the downed branches."

University officials are encouraging students to remain on campus, where buildings and dormitories have heat and power, rather than traveling on roads, many of which remain hazardous.

"We want to assure students' parents that their children are being well taken care of, and that's why we're advising they remain here and enjoy a couple days away from classes," Whitt said.

Because the university's Internet service was knocked out, Western Kentucky University is hosting a special Web site for EKU updates, which can be found at www.eku.wku.edu. Students can also use EKU's bad weather hot line, (859) 622-2239.

The Fresh Food Company dining service on the top floor of the Powell Building will have extended hours, 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., over the next two days, Whitt said.

In addition, EKU is hosting the All-A Classic high school basketball tournament this weekend at Alumni Coliseum. Students who show an EKU identification card may attend for free, Whitt said.

EKU canceled classes Tuesday and Wednesday as the storm rolled into Central Kentucky. This is the first time in 15 years that EKU has canceled classes for more than a day because of weather, Whitt said.

It's unclear whether missed class time will be made up, he said.

The University of Kentucky, which canceled classes Wednesday, planned a delayed start Thursday. Classes before 11 a.m. Thursday are cancelled, and classes after 11 a.m. will meet. Employees' start is delayed until 10 a.m., except for those essential employees required under the university's Plan B.

"There are several tree branches down around campus, but there is no significant damage that we are aware of," Stanton said.

Other schools, such as Georgetown College and Transylvania University, also remained undecided about holding classes Thursday.

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