Snowy weather not enough to cancel classes

Jason Henry and Jason Henry

Students hoping the University would be closed yesterday morning were likely disappointed when classes were still in session.

According to the Severe Weather Closing Policy and Procedures, which can be found on the University’s Web site, the University usually will not close for weather unless the Wood County Sheriff’s Department declares a level three emergency.

A cancellation can also be determined by factors such as “hazardous road conditions; presence of ice, snow or both; amount of wind; presence of daylight; the weather forecast; severe cold; and consultation with the BGSU Police Department and the sheriff’s office,” the Web site states.

Some students may find it confusing when the city declares a snow emergency but the University stays open.

“A snow emergency, in terms of a snow street, is declared when we get to two inches of snow,” said Lori Tretter, assistant municipal administrator for the city.

Vehicles on designated snow streets must move during a snow emergency, and violators may be towed.

The city’s snow emergency is different from the snow emergency levels (such as level one, two or three) that are issued by the county, Tretter said.

According to the Severe Weather Policy, a level three snow emergency is when all roadways are closed to non-emergency personnel.

“No one should be out during these conditions unless it is absolutely necessary,” the policy states.

Individuals traveling on the roads can even be arrested.

Wood County Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn said roads would not be passable during a level three. If declared after commuters came to campus, a shelter would need to be provided, because they would not be able to drive home, he said.

Some students, such as freshman Jessica Martin, disagree with the University’s policy. She said she thinks the University should close at a level two.

A level two snow advisory is when roads are considered hazardous and only those who feel it is necessary to drive should be out on the roadways, the policy states.

Martin said she thinks classes should have been canceled all day Tuesday because of commuters.

“They shouldn’t have had to drive in this kind of weather,” she said. “I know that if I didn’t live on campus, I probably wouldn’t have come to school.”

What Students can expect if the University is closed:

During a closure, only designated “essential employees” will be expected to work. Individuals who are unsure about their status are advised to contact their supervisor.

If classes are canceled, the shuttles will not be running, said Fred Smith of Public Safety.

Nonessential buildings will be closed.

According to the Severe Weather Policy, the only services remaining open will be essential ones, such as “preparation and serving of meals to students, provision of lighting and heating to University buildings, law enforcement and public safety, and snow removal from parking areas and sidewalks.”

“Technically, probably everything should be closed. But we are trying to make sure the students’ needs are met,” said Dave Kielmeyer, director of Marketing and Communications.

Dining services in the Residence Halls will be open. Services such as the Student Recreation Center and Jerome Library will be decided on a case-by-case basis.

Kielmeyer urged students to signup for AlertBG through the University Web site because subscribers will be notified first by text and email.