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Winter is around the corner

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By Lizz Vensas
Collegiate Staff Writer

If you attended GRCC last year or are a native Michigander, you know what’s right around the corner-WINTER.  You know that time of the year where holiday cheer meets chilly weather and icy roads, the mornings where you watch for school cancellations and delays due to your car hiding under that snow mountain that the snow plows delivered.

“The big thing about winter is to plan ahead,” said Campus Police Officer Tony Myers, who has been with the department for 15 years.

Meyers recommends that you should let family or friends know your schedule and if you plan on going anywhere after your classes in case something happens.

“We have received phone calls about missing students who were just at friend’s house,” said Meyers.

As far as driving safety goes Meyers recommends that you leave four seconds between cars as you drive in case you need to break quickly.

“Intersections can be dangerous,” he said.  “The extra space will give you a little bit more room to move forward if needed or stop and not get the car in front of you.”

School closings are one of the most stressful experiences of winter.  The waiting, the wondering and even sometimes missing the announcement and coming to school on a day off can be an excruciating experience when you know you could be home sleeping instead.

“Officially it is a decision made by the (College) President or his designee,” said Victoria Janowiak executive director of Operational Planning.  “Input also comes from other individuals, gathering perspectives from Campus Police, people from Facilities, and other sources.”

Decisions are based on whether or not the sidewalks can be cleared, the parking ramps are accessible, what weather reports are saying, and other cancellations by surrounding schools and businesses.

“Are the roads passible?  If not when will they be cleared is what we ask,” said Police Chief Whitman, an adviser on inclement weather conditions.  “A lot of it comes down to the time frame, has the weather stopped or is continuing to come down.”

Beginning last year, the college put a new policy in place where specific campuses could be closed and others could stay open.  Day and evening classes are also separated, so if you have both, you should double check which classes are cancelled.

“Students need to be cognoscente that not just GRCC is closed they have to read the message whether the closing is due to a specific message,” said Janowiak.

There are many things that you can do now to prepare yourself for winter.

“Look into getting your car checked out,” said Meyer.  “See a mechanic, get your oil changed, and check your tires,”

Meyer also recommends keeping an ice scraper and emergency bag in your car at all times.  “You should pack extra boots or shoes, blankets, a sweatshirt, a little glow stick, some water, and even an energy bar along with a basic first aid kit,” said Meyer.

Parking on the top of the ramps is also an issue for students.

“Know where the spaces are,” said Meyer.  “Look at indicators; it will make parking easier when the lines are covered up.”

To get weather alerts through GRCC, the best way is to sign up for text alerts.

“You sign up for text and e-mail alerts through BlackBoard,” said Janowiak “Just remember that you have to use your GRCC student e-mail to sign up.”

For more information about weather policies visit GRCC.edu/weather.