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Valley College remains open despite record-setting storm

Although CSU campuses shuttered their doors due to dangerous weather conditions, the LACCD let students decide if it was safe to come to campus.

By Kaia Mann

Photo by Ivonne Elias | The Valley Star

Facing one of the most significant storms of the past 90 years, Los Angeles was hit with an average of 4-8 inches of rain and heavy wind. In the midst of this historic downpour, Valley College shut down several buildings but kept the campus open. 

The state of California is seeing the effects of this storm, ranging from power outages, road closures, evacuations, and flooding. The worst of the rain began Sunday and is expected to exceed over 14 inches in the coming days. Given the torrential rain and wind, Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency, urging LA residents to stay home.  

The LACCD sent out an alert Sunday evening, the day before the start of the spring semester, said, “[The] LACCD is open this week for the start of the spring 2024 semester. You are reminded to exercise caution in making the decision to attend in-person classes. If unable to attend in person classes due to storm, please contact your course instructor to ensure you are not dropped as a no show.”

Despite flooding in the Campus Center and campus utility tunnels, Valley seemed to be operating under normal conditions during this extreme weather. Certain buildings including the north and south gyms, pool, and parking structure have had the power shut down to remedy the water encroachment. 

As rain poured down Monday morning, the Unity Center welcomed back students, giving out coffee and pastries. As of now, similar events at Valley throughout the week will continue as scheduled.

For those attending classes, the same could be said. The campus was full of new and returning students, armed with umbrellas and rain boots. 

“Considering many of the buildings have run out of power and I didnt have any internet when I first came to class I feel like they (Valley college) are handling the storm kind of badly, in a way where it's not helping students be productive” said Ryan Lozano a fire protection and technology major. 

With parts of the city getting over 10 inches of rain, many areas, including Van Nuys, have been put on a flood watch. Due to fallen trees, flooding, and mudslides, multiple roads have been closed, including parts of the 405 Freeway, making the journey to campus that much more treacherous. Although the rain is expected to settle by the end of the week, the effects of such a powerful storm still pose a threat. 

While schools in the LACCD district stayed open, it was announced Sunday night that CSU campuses will be closed, classes being held remotely. Some of these schools include Cal State Los Angeles, Cal State Northridge, Cal State Long Beach, and Cal State Fullerton. With no direct instruction from Valley officials, students and faculty were forced to decide for themselves if the potential risk of coming to campus was worth it. 

“It's the first day so you’ve got to make a good first impression with your professor,” said Alejandro Arebalo, an electrical engineering major. “No matter if it was rainy or sunny, no matter the weather, I'll still come.”


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