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Student safety is at risk when classes continue in snow

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Student safety is at risk when classes continue in snow

Heather Stewart, Photo Editor

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As we receive a weather alert on all student accounts, I begin  to wonder how much snow Ellensburg will get before campus closes for classes. According to Craig Revels, who has lectured at CWU for 14 years now, classes have only been cancelled a few times. The most recent time was in winter of 2017 where freezing rain poured in the area and covered everything with a few inches of solid ice. This prevented those that drive from opening their car doors and those who walk from taking a step on our conveniently heated sidewalks.

But back to present day, here we are, on Feb. 11 with 10 inches of snow and five more likely on the way. Those who are recruited from out of state to play sports here from places such as Hawaii, Georgia and the more exotic Australia are unprepared to walk in the depths of snow to attend class, let alone those of us who are from the west side of the state where school is typically cancelled after one inch of snow.

This is understanding of course, that when it snows on the other side of the Cascades, whole cities and towns shut down due to ice and people who don’t know how to drive. However, the same thing is capable of happening in Ellensburg, a college town where the same people who don’t know how to drive over on  the west side are attending CWU courses and amazingly still do not know how to drive in the snow. Our school’s naiveté in allowing teenagers and early 20-year-olds alike to drive in the snow with an average of only four years of driving experience is dangerous and questionable.

Even walking to class in this blizzard weather is dangerous as the snow can cover ice and prevent a walker from noticing the threats underneath the powderous beauty which may just be the last thing they see as their head hits the pavement. The specific emergency weather guidelines given by CWU are as follows: “examples of the types of conditions [which would result in school closure] could be snow or ice affecting the county or city roads, high wind or expected high wind, moderate earthquake, fire, chemical spill, or flood, etc,” according to cwu.edu/resources.

For snow or ice to be used in conjunction with earthquakes, fire or floods shows that the dangers of their existence should be one that is taken seriously. University classes, despite already being paid for, should be seen as optional or cancelled in the event of extreme snowfall over the span of a week because of the potential buildup of ice on sidewalks. It would be a shame for a student death to occur from the matter of not having the money to buy proper snow boots or clothing because that money goes towards tuition and food that isn’t bagged ramen. So here’s to hoping that our university will take into consideration those who have to walk from Student Village to Shaw Smyser or Wahle to Lind Hall before continuing classes through this deadly snow.

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