Ice and snow impacts Heartland higher education

Ice and snow impacts Heartland higher education

A weekend of winter weather blanked college campus in the Heartland with layers of ice and snow, and caused every school in the region to consider whether or not to cancel classes Tuesday.

While two universities have stayed fully open, two others have had to alter their class schedules, and all four schools focusing on one major priority: the safety of students, faculty and staff.

Academic activities have been called off for the first two days of Spring semester at Murray State University in Kentucky, and at the University of Tennessee - Martin, because the southern part of the region received more snowfall during Monday's storm.

Staff with the communications departments at both schools said that crews have been focusing their clean up efforts near residence halls and food facilities to accommodate for students who live on campus.

Facilities staff at Murray State and UT Martin plan to continue shoveling and laying down salt on other high traffic areas through Wednesday.

Southern Illinois University and Southeast Missouri State both had classes Tuesday, after employees at each location were able to clear the snow and ice off of a majority of the roads, sidewalks and staircases.

The director of facilities management at SEMO, Angela Meyer, said they had 18 crew members working since Friday and that they've used over tons of brine and four to five pallets of bag salt.

"We want to stay in business," Meyer said. "We want the students to be able to get to class, we want people to be able to work and we want them to do it safely."

Meyer added that they're encouraging anyone traveling around campus to be careful and pay attention to their surroundings.

"Use the handrails when you're walking up and down the steps that is very important," she said. "Try not to text and walk, and just be mindful of using areas that are actually clean and not to divert around to any areas that we may have not gotten to."

A senior at SEMO from Piedmont, MO, Ryan Deering, said that he wish he didn't forget his coat in his car across campus and is recommending other students bundle up.

"The cold temperatures has been a bit annoying," he said. "I'm glad that the sidewalks are clear and most of the stairs. In my home town that is not the case. It got hit pretty hard."

As the sun continues to melt more snow, Meyer said that additional layers of salt will be spread out to prevent black ice from forming.

SIU and SEMO plan to continue their regular operations through the rest of the week.

Classes will still be canceled at Murray State and at the main campus of UT- Martin and all of its outreach centers through Wednesday, January 17.

Download the KFVS News app: iPhone | Android

Copyright 2018 KFVS. All rights reserved.