Published: Feb. 20, 2018

The buffalo sculpture outside of the Coors Events Center stands proudly against the Flatirons after skies cleared and fresh snow blanketed the campus and Boulder area. We're now in the middle of the winter season, so it’s important to be prepared to deal with the adverse conditions on streets, sidewalks and multiuse paths that come with snow and ice.

Extreme winter storms can sometimes lead to campus closures. Notification of such closures is sent out via CU Boulder Alerts, campus social media channels and local broadcast media. You can also view the university’s website for any change in operating status, as well as complete information on campus closing procedures.

But while a surplus of popcorn and a Netflix subscription might be all the preparation you need in the rare event campus is closed, there are several things to keep in mind during most winter storms to ensure you’re able to safely navigate to, from and around campus.

Delayed campus opening

Sometimes, due to adverse conditions that have been judged to be a hazard to normal campus operations, the campus will delay its opening.

For instance, today, Feb. 20, campus was closed until 9:45 a.m. This means all classes, recitations, labs, etc., scheduled to begin before 9:45 a.m. (e.g., the 9:30–10:45 a.m. class period) were canceled. Faculty will take steps to make up material and assignments missed during that time in a later class period. All classes, labs, recitations, etc., scheduled to begin after 9:45 a.m., (e.g. the 10–10:50 a.m. class period) were held as normal.

Students with questions about making up assignments should talk to their faculty member.

Did you get a snow delay text this morning?

Many of our campus community members do not have their mobile numbers listed in the alerts database because they have not completed the new registration process (launched in March 2017). Please complete the steps carefully, and your number will be added to the alerts database during the nightly upload. Pay special attention to add the new phone type Emergency Text Alert Mobile 1 or 2. Even if you already have the number you intend to use listed as a cellular phone type, you must enter it again to be captured by the alerts database.

For more information on CU Boulder Alerts, please visit alerts.colorado.edu.

“It has been awhile since we have had a delayed start for our campus, so I acknowledge that our first message this morning could have been more specific as it pertains to operating procedures,” said Bill Kaempfer, senior vice provost. “Just to be clear now and going forward, we will ensure that all students, faculty and staff know that courses that begin before the time we open are canceled for the day, not delayed until we open.

“Student, faculty and staff safety is of primary importance in decisions about campus operations. When we have a snow event, we want to make sure all parties have the opportunity to arrive at campus safely, and then find a campus that has reasonably treated parking areas, sidewalks and streets so that they can cross campus to work and study locations. Our safety priority includes not hindering efforts of Facilities Management and Parking Services crews diligently working to clear snow.

I appreciate it’s never convenient to cancel a class, but safety is our top priority.”

Resources and reminders

CU Boulder, the city of Boulder and the Colorado Department of Transportation offer several helpful resources and reminders for when the flakes start flying.

  • The university "hotline" service within the campus telecommunications system will provide a recorded message for callers who are unsure about whether the campus is closed. The CU Boulder Emergency Information Line is 303-492-4636.

  • CU Boulder operations personnel from multiple departments work in concert with the city to remove snow from campus streets, parking lots, sidewalks and multiuse paths. It’s always important during winter weather storms to exercise caution when traversing campus, whether by foot, by bike or by vehicle. You are reminded to always wear appropriate footwear and to be careful getting in and out of vehicles, including buses.

  • Snowy weather can cause road closures and situations where campus officials must change bus routes to accommodate safe and accessible roads to and from campus. The Buff Bus Inclement Weather Reroute map for the Williams Village, Athens North and Discovery Express Buff Buses illustrates the altered routes to be used when snow begins piling up on campus streets. Riders should check the CUBusTracker app for campus bus updates and reroute alerts. Commuting students, faculty and staff riding to/from campus via RTD bus routes are encouraged to sign up for RTD Rider Alerts.

  • During significant snowstorms, snow piles from Main Campus will be hauled to East Campus and piled next to the curb along a stretch of Discovery Drive. However, traffic will remain open in both directions along Discovery Drive.

  • CU Boulder’s Division of Emergency Management features several winter weather safety tips on its website.

  • The city of Boulder’s website features an update to the city’s planned snow removal procedures for the 2018 winter season, including plans to discontinue the practice of windrowing snow to the center of streets in most locations. This is important to note if you’re cycling or driving to campus, as the city maintains several streets adjacent to campus, as well as Regent Drive running through campus.

  • The Colorado Department of Transportation includes winter driving safety tips, reminders and road-condition updates on its website.

  • The latest Boulder weather forecast information can be found on the National Weather Service website.