What to do at Western when the snow starts to fall

  • Red Square shines in the sun the day after a snowfall last winter.

Temperatures are dropping, and with that comes the threat of snow. So what happens at Western when the snow falls?

On the morning of a predicted snowfall,  staff from Western’s Facilities Management arrive on campus between 3-5 a.m. to assess the state of the university from a safety standpoint. Based on those conditions, university administrators will make a decision to either remain open and on a normal schedule, have a delayed opening, or to close the university for the day and cancel all classes.

All faculty staff and students will be notified of this decision as early as possible, with a goal of getting the messaging out by 6 a.m. This messaging will be sent via the Western emergency notification system and will arrive via text and email, as well as being displayed on the Western home page, the Inclement Weather page, and recorded on the WWU Storm Line (360.650.6500). Throughout the day, conditions are monitored in case there is a need to change the status of the university. Anyone who encounters what they consider unsafe conditions is encouraged to report the location and description to Facilities Management Work Control at 650-3420. Remember there are roughly four miles of streets and roads on campus as well as 59 acres of parking lots, and it takes time and considerable effort to keep these as clear as possible.

Above all, SAFETY is the top priority. Is the campus reasonably safe for students and staff to navigate? Can the Facilities Management crews reasonably expect to keep up with the conditions expected (i.e. snow, ice, freezing conditions)? Is there enough time to clear sidewalks and parking areas before everyone gets to campus? For commuters, weather conditions in Whatcom and Skagit counties may be worse or better than in Bellingham.

There will likely be days when the university is open and classes are in session, but snow and/or ice are on the ground. Facilities Management will work to have all of the priority snow routes across campus done first; these snow routes are shown on the campus map here. Everyone is reminded to wear sensible footwear when snow and ice are present, and to avoid trails through the arboretum due to falling snow.

Western’s Inclement Weather page has an FAQ to answers of many common questions about snow on campus, from what happens if a student can’t make it to class because of the weather, to what happens with dorms and dining halls, to the status of the libraries as well as Inclement Weather and Suspended Operations Policies for employees.

Be safe when the snow falls, and remember that all updates and information will be delivered through the Western emergency notification system.

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Wednesday, November 13, 2019 - 11:08am

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