BYU students have ‘slim chance’ of snow days

Icy conditions have BYU students taking extra precaution walking on campus. (Ryan Turner)

Snow days continue to be rare on the BYU campus despite wintry conditions.

Over the past five years, BYU has only had one snow day in 2013 when classes were canceled and campus was shut down.

There isn’t a specific policy for BYU regarding snow days. Todd Hollingshead, media relations manager of University Communications, said the only reason campus would be closed is because of safety concerns, major accidents or infrastructure failures.

Hollingshead explained the process of deciding whether campus is closed down or continues running, and he also explained who makes that final decision.

“Student Life VP, Academics VP, Risk Management, Police and others as appropriate, assess the situation and all potential options and consequences,” Hollingshead said.

Hollingshead said the final decision to close campus would have to be approved by the president of the school.

Other schools in Utah have also had snow days, such as the University of Utah, who had their last snow day on Jan. 11, 2013 according to The Salt Lake Tribune.

In comparison to BYU, Utah Valley University (UVU) does have a campus closure policy in place. Robin Ebmeyer, director of emergency management and safety at UVU, said campus closing down really depends on who has the most authority.

“When we have severe weather, there is a group that can assemble and perform an analysis of the situation and make decisions about what we will do going forward,” Ebmeyer said.

Hollingshead said it is possible to have a snow day on campus, but the chances would be very slim. Mild Utah winters make it easier to handle the cleanup of snow storms, especially since BYU has snow equipment to handle these situations.

Associate physics and astronomy professor Denise Stephens said it is hard to make up canceled school days because of BYU’s tight schedule.

Stephens said she believes the school should seriously consider the dangerous driving conditions for faculty and students.

BYU’s Risk Management, Safety, and Compliance website gives a few tips on how to handle dangerous campus conditions:

  1. Assume everywhere you step is icy.
  2. Point your feet out like a penguin which will increase your center of gravity.
  3. Choose proper footwear that has a well-gripped sole.
  4. Extend your arms out to help with balance.
  5. Take short steps and shuffle, taking occasional breaks.
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