June 7, 2023

UMW Campus Snow Protocols and Safety Strategies

Snow and ice are often a part of our Virginia winter weather, as we have seen in the past couple of weeks. When wintry weather occurs, the UMW Facilities team works diligently to ensure safe access to all University facilities ​on all three campuses. Members of our Landscape and Grounds crew often work overnight to keep up with accumulations of snow so that we can reopen campus as soon and as safely as possible.

The Facilities team monitors weather conditions and ensures equipment and personnel are on hand to respond to winter storms and other extreme conditions. When foul weather strikes, the team and their contractors are responsible for plowing, removing snow and treating icy conditions for over seven miles of walkways and sidewalks, 26 parking lots and two parking garages. The team also works to ensure that campus roads remain passable for emergency vehicles during winter weather events.

 How You Can Help Keep Yourself and UMW Safe

Keeping the UMW community safe during a winter weather event requires everyone’s cooperation. We ask that all students, faculty and staff keep these safety steps in mind:

  • If a road or walkway is not yet cleared or is blocked by cones, caution tape or barricades, do not attempt to travel that path. Stick to the cleared areas only and remember: Even cleared areas can have slick spots and/or black ice. Always watch your step!
  • Pay special attention to steps and slopes. Facilities places snow shovels, buckets of ice melt or magnesium chloride crystals and/or sand and scoops in the entry alcoves of all residence halls and select other building accesses. Advocate for your safety and your UMW community and shovel or sprinkle! A little bit goes a long way…and your help is always appreciated.
  • Use common sense – if you do not have to go out…don’t. Overnight hours often generate freezing temperatures, making conditions worse, even if a walkway has been cleared. If at all possible, wait until Facilities crews have had a chance to clear AND sand before venturing out.
  • We have priority campus areas and walkways (such as ramps/accesses and life safety routes) which are addressed first, then other locations next in a well-honed, systematic order. We will get to all locations, in priority order, as part of the plan.
  • Always make way for UMW Facilities equipment that is actively plowing or sanding. Sometimes visibility from equipment or vehicles is restricted, and sand can blow out several feet beyond the vehicle.

To report concerns about snow or ice, please contact the Campus Police non-emergency number at 540-654-1025 or Facilities Service Operations at 540-654-1047.