UMass cancels classes as Hurricane Sandy approaches New England

By Katie Landeck

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University of Massachusetts officials have cancelled Monday classes as Hurricane Sandy approaches New England.

Rain is predicted to start in the early hours of Monday, according to the Weather Channel. The National Weather Service has issued high wind warnings from 6 a.m. on Monday to 6 a.m. on Tuesday, with winds expected to be 30 to 60 mph. A flood watch is in effect from 8 a.m. Monday until 8 p.m. on Tuesday.

The Weather Channel also predicted that power outages were likely in western Massachusetts  during the storm.

Officials made the decision about 5:30 p.m. on Sunday evening. Earlier in the day, UMass spokesman Ed Blaguszewski spoke to the Collegian about reasons why the University would cancel classes.

“Safety is first and foremost,”  he said, expressing concerns about commuters’ ability to get to campus.

He also talked about concerns about the University’s ability to operate.

“Does the University have power? Can its employees get here? Can we turn on the lights? Can we turn on the heat?” he said. Those are some of the concerns the University considers before cancelling class, he said.

Some services will remain open despite the expected force of Hurricane Sandy. These services include University Health Services, University Police, Campus Center Hotel and Garage, University Operators, the PVTA bus system and the Dining Commons.

Residents are advised to stock up on non-perishable food, water and batteries. It is also recommended that people have some cash on hand and keep their cell phones charged.

Stay with the Collegian for updates during the storm.

Katie Landeck can be reached at [email protected]