By Jennifer Greenlee and Tori Waltz
Weber State University was open for regular hours on Feb. 3. despite the winter storm warning that had been issued since 10 p.m. on Feb. 2.
It was projected that in Ogden, 10-14 inches would fall, the majority of which would be between 5 a.m. and 8 a.m.: prime commuting hours.
The Utah Department of Transportation warned people to stay off the roads during the weather as much as possible, and the National Weather Service sent out alerts about heavy snow.
The announcement to keep campus open was dispersed on social media and on the WSU home page at 5:30 a.m. and was met with sharp rebuke from the students who had to commute or couldn’t do so because of the snow.
“Multiple news stations and highway safety organizations are telling people to stay off the road as much as possible,” Kaylin Davis said. “If all these sources are telling the public to stay off the roads, why is WSU implying that their students should still commute to campus?”
Many nontraditional students were concerned with the delays and cancellations of school districts because it meant finding child care could be difficult.
“Weber has a huge adult learner population where many of the students are parents,” Lisa Tidwell said. “If they had at least created a delay where students come after district schools start, or switched to online classes for the day, it would make much more sense.”
“Many classes have strict attendance policies, and there is not much room in this type of event to miss class, and we hope for our professors to make accommodations,” Tidwell said.
Public Safety Director Dane LeBlanc spoke about the conditions that would be needed for a storm to close campus. One factor in being able to stay on top of the storm is when the storm begins and when it is the heaviest.
“Our snow crews will be out about 2, 2:30 in the morning, right in the middle of the storm,” LeBlanc said. “So, their ability to keep up with the conditions and clear the lots and the sidewalks play a role in that decision as well.”
LeBlanc also explained the process for how a snow day would be called and what channels it would go through. First, LeBlanc would talk with NWS and would then check UDOT cameras for I-15, US-89 and Harrison Boulevard.
The campus snow crews work to keep up with the snow and other conditions, and this is assessed before LeBlanc makes a recommendation to Vice President Norm Tarbox on whether or not to close campus.
“It would have to be a significant storm,” LeBlanc said. “This is a pretty average storm for Utah.”
However, the danger for students commuting to campus isn’t over just yet. According to NWS, the snow in Weber and Davis County is predicted to continue throughout the rest of the week.
In a hazardous weather outlook, NWS forecast states that snow will continue in the valleys of northern Utah the morning of Feb. 6, possibly impacting morning commutes.
There will be a mix of rain and snow in some areas late on Feb. 6 into Feb. 7, with some northern Utah mountains and higher valleys potentially seeing significant snowfall through Feb. 7. Strong winds in the higher elevations of Utah and southwest Wyoming will also lead to areas of blowing snow.
The original byline of this story stated that Jennifer Greenlee was the only reporter for this article. However, Tori Waltz was also a contributor, and the author information has been updated accordingly.