Just over six feet of snow have fallen in Boston these past 18 days, setting new records in terms of both depth and speed, according to Weather.com. MIT was among the many institutions that shut down Monday and Tuesday due to the snowstorm that led Governor Charlie Baker to declare a state of emergency Monday night.
The MIT Student Center (W20) was also closed for all of Tuesday, which is rare for the building, which is normally open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Phillip J. Walsh, director of the Campus Activities Complex, attributed the move to the “unprecedented weather” and the challenges staff would face getting to work.
As The Tech reported last year, the decision to close the Institute in cases of severe weather like this week’s starts with the director of campus services, John DiFava. At least three other MIT officials must agree on the decision before it can take effect.
MIT reopened on Wednesday with an excused lateness policy in effect, ensuring that employees are paid their full wages even if they arrive late. This is often considered an alternative to shutting down the entire Institute.
A Massachusetts state of emergency does not mean that businesses and schools are automatically closed, but Harvard, Northeastern, Suffolk, Tufts, and Boston University all chose to suspend classes, according to The Boston Globe. UMass Boston, Emerson, Simmons, and the Berklee College of Music also shut down.
The MBTA was shut down for all of Tuesday to allow crews to clear ice from switches and rails. Commuter rail, subway, and trolley service was restored with less frequent service Wednesday morning.
A few schools opened on Tuesday despite the state of emergency. Boston College, Babson College, Bentley University, and Brandeis University were open for most of the day, and Wellesley College remained open all day.