Winter Weather Concerns for Institutions of Higher Education
Last week, while part of the state was blanketed by snow, we discussed K-12 Winter Weather Preparedness concerns.
While institutions of higher education share some of the same concerns as their K-12 counterparts, there are additional concerns to take into account. For example, while not having to worry as much about bussing students to campus, college campuses can have miles of walkways to attend to.
Institutions of higher education may also face a larger, more ethnically diverse student population that may not be familiar with the weather in the area. And, in moving away from home, there is always the possibility students forget to pack appropriate seasonal clothing and may lack the funding to buy new attire.
Additional concerns arise when considering residence halls. Even if colleges and universities close due to inclement weather, plans still must be made to ensure the safety of those living on campus. For example, what plans are in place if severe weather creates a power outage and neither electricians nor the utility company can respond? And, although many students keep food in their rooms, do they have enough to tide them over should they be campus bound? Are resources readily accessible, even in severe weather, if they don’t have enough supplies? In addition to those living on campus, what about commuters who get trapped there?
As noted last week, t
Illinois Emergency Management Agency’s
(IEMA) website has several resources and tips for winter weather preparedness, including IEMA’s
Winter Storm Preparedness Guide
. The 10-page guide includes statistical information on winter weather in Illinois; winter weather terms used by the National Weather Service; lists for creating emergency supply kits; information for schools, travelers, and farmers; and more.