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Photos: Emory in the snow

The Emory campus was blanketed in white Friday when a rare early December snowstorm provided a delightful, unexpected study break for students preparing for final exams.

The university officially closed at 1:30 p.m. Friday, causing afternoon exams to be rescheduled, although residence halls, dining facilities and athletic centers remained open and available to students.

Emory’s Division of Campus Services was in the midst of its annual employee Christmas Party Friday afternoon when the university closed early. Facilities Management employees rallied to stay throughout Friday afternoon and work through the night to ensure roads and sidewalks remained open for safe travel. Grounds and roads crews applied about 8,000 pounds of de-icer to campus streets and hospital emergency vehicle ramps. Zone mechanics inspected buildings for frozen pipes and roped off sidewalks in danger of falling ice.

At the Emory Police Department, a team of officers and dispatchers spent the night at the Emory Conference Center in preparation for staffing and shift relief. Logistics work included tracking weather developments, anticipating public safety needs and identifying how to support Facilities Management and redirect traffic around areas vulnerable to ice and accidents on the Atlanta, Oxford College and Midtown campuses.

At Emory Transportation and Parking Services, shuttle drivers reported to work early and several routes were launched early so students and employees could leave when the university closed. Other routes continued as normal, with shuttle service to Michael Street, Peavine and the Clairmont Campus running until midnight. Parking vendors also applied de-icer to keep pathways in parking decks and shuttle stops clear.

Collectively, the efforts helped the campus reopen again by noon Saturday and allow students to resume taking finals on Sunday.