How CSU decides on snow days

Stuart Smith

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on Dec. 6, 2016 and was republished on Feb. 20, 2018. 

As cold fronts move into Fort Collins and bring snow after a dry season, Colorado State University will make calls on whether to hold class.

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In the event of severe weather, a closure will be announced through social media, email, text, the CSU Status Line at 970-491-7669 and posted on the Collegian’s website.

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Footsteps are seen in the snow on sidewalk by the Lagoon on Thursday afternoon. (Forrest Czarnecki | Collegian)

In the case of overnight storms, the Public Safety Team tries to make a decision by 5:30 a.m.

However, it is unlikely that CSU students will get much time off as a result of the weather this season. The University has only had three snow days since 2009, with the most recent on Feb. 3 of this year.

The University does have some guidelines for when it shuts down, though according to policy, it aims “to remain open when possible, in consideration of tuition already paid by students and the University’s mission.”

In the case of a possible snow day, the Public Safety Team collects information and then makes a recommendation to the President based on their decision, according to a November CSU press release.

The Public Safety Team takes the following factors into consideration:

  • Whether local public schools are closed. However, the safety of K-12 students is held to a different standard than that of college students and employees.
  • If City of Fort Collins and Larimer County offices are still operating, including the bus system.
  • Recommendations of City of Fort Collins Emergency Management.
  • Road conditions to and from campus.
  • Road conditions on campus.
  • Assessments by the CSU Police Department and CSU Facilities Management on the safety of the campus and its features.
  • Individual members of the Public Safety Team’s opinions based surveying the city in the early morning.

The University says that even if it does not call for a snow day, “Individual students or employees who cannot travel safely should use sound judgment and make arrangements with their professors and supervisors.”

Regardless of a school closure, there are several safety measures that should be taken for extreme cold weather, according to the American Red Cross:

Layer up: Wear layers of lightweight clothing to stay warm. Gloves and a hat will help prevent losing your body heat

Don’t forget your pets: Bring pets indoors. If they can’t come inside, make sure they have enough shelter to keep them warm and that they can get to unfrozen water

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Remember the three feet rule: If you are using a space heater, place it on a level, hard surface and keep anything flammable at least three feet away – things such as paper, clothing, bedding, curtains or rugs.

Don’t catch fire: If you are using a fireplace, use a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs. Turn off space heaters and make sure fireplace embers are out before leaving the room or going to bed.

Protect your pipes: Run water, even at a trickle, to help prevent your pipes from freezing. Open the kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing.

Set the thermostat at the same temperature: Your heating bill may be a little higher, but you could avoid a more costly repair job if your pipes freeze and burst.

Use generators outside: Never operate a generator inside the home, including in the basement or garage. Also, do not hook a generator up to the home’s wiring. The safest thing to do is to connect the equipment you want to power directly to the outlets on the generator.

Collegian reporter Stuart Smith can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @notstuartsmith.