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UWRF Facilities Management hit the streets after snowfall

November 21, 2014

The average monthly temperature for the month of November in River Falls is 41 degrees for a high and 23 degrees for a low, according to The Weather Channel; instead this year has seen temperatures in the teens or the single digits with snow flurries.

In other words, winter is here early and there is nothing that we can do about it except bundle up and find a way to ride it out. Well, that is if you are not one of the people who loves winter. Last year the snow stuck around well into April, longer than it normally does, and this year the snow started early. The snow and the cold leaves students wondering whether their classes are canceled each morning as the snow falls or the temperature drops.

“The ability to cancel classes resides here on campus, the chancellor can make that decision,” said Director of Communications and External Relations Blake Fry. “The only person who can close the campus is the Governor of the state of Wisconsin.”

Fry also said that it is up to the professors whether their classes are held or not during a snow-storm. Which means if the teachers chose, they can cancel their class for the day and that is where most of the class cancellations that students see will come from. Facilities Management is in charge of snow and ice removal in the winter at UW-River Falls.

“It’s certainly one of the hardest things for us also, and probably the hardest thing is when you have an ice situation and then its followed with snow because then you can’t see it and we have to clear the snow off before we can deal with the ice,” said Grounds Supervisor Joe McIntosh.

Facilities Management will clear emergency vehicle access (streets) as its first priority when snow and ice needs to be cleared. Facilities Management will then do the main east/west walks including from the residence halls to the University Center. Next will be the main entries of academic buildings to main walks. After the entrances the parking lots are cleared, followed by secondary walks and connecting routes. The last thing it will clear is the university farms.

“Be prepared if you are going to live in this part of the country. We have a lot of people who are experienced to winter conditions up here, so that’s good. This doesn’t come to a surprise to a lot of the students,” Fry said. “But my recommendation would be to use your best judgment. You can always make up a test, you can always work with your faculty member but it varies by student. I know, I have lived on roads here in River Falls where it was the very last one to be plowed in the entire city. So 16 inches of snow fell, I wasn’t getting out of my driveway, so each case is different. Just use your best judgment, be wise. Your safety is the number one concern.”

Students need to make sure that they are safe walking across campus and dress for the weather. They also need to be careful if they are commuting.