As the snow and ice came down Monday and Tuesday, Pittsburg State officials did not cancel classes Tuesday. But that did not stop professors from canceling 355 classes on Tuesday alone.

As the snow and ice came down Monday and Tuesday, Pittsburg State officials did not cancel classes Tuesday. But that did not stop professors from canceling 355 classes on Tuesday alone.
“Unless the storm is so bad that it is shutting things down, the university will stay open,” said Ron Womble, Pittsburg State director of public relations. “We leave it up to the decisions of the faculty members.”
It was also an opportunity for Pittsburg State to unveil its newest method in alerting students about canceled classes or other important news, the Pitt Alert system.
When Pittsburg State officials want to alert students about emergency information, they now have two options for doing so.
The first was used Tuesday, which is a small drop-down link on the Pittsburg State Web site to class cancellations.
The link also shows class cancellations for today.
The second option will only be used in emergency cases, such as the bomb threat to Kelce Center last fall. This option would make a pop-up box on the Web site every time a person visits the site.
“When the weather gets bad, the Web site is one of the best options,” Womble said. “We can provide links from there. That’s something I hope that the students really pick up on, and that they become reliant upon.”
There is an additional method of getting in touch with students on which Womble and other Pittsburg State officials are working.
That method is a text messaging system that is expected to be ready soon, officials said. Students will be able to sign up on the Pittsburg State Web site. These text messages will alert students of breaking news or emergencies at Pittsburg State.
“As we get into stormy weather in the spring, we want to make sure that students are signing up for that,” Womble said. “It will be one of several technologies we will be able to use in the spring. We hope never to use it, though.”
Pittsburg State officials also have other plans and possibilities in their back pockets, including improvements to the blue emergency phones. But there may be more practical improvements Pittsburg State can make.
“We’ve talked to some major universities, and they have found that chalk on sidewalks has been the most effective strategy for communicating to students,” Womble said.

Andrew Nash can be reached at andrew.nash@morningsun.net or by calling 231-2600 ext. 132.