As temperatures drop in Columbus, staying safe and warm during the winter can be a challenge for many Ohio State students.
Luckily, there are many ways students can prepare themselves for the wintry conditions.
Plan and prepare before traveling
For students, one of the most important aspects of travel occurs before leaving for class.
Nicole Holman, spokesperson for the Office of Administration and Planning, said all students should dress for wintry conditions, allot extra time for travel and be careful when moving between classes.
The Department of Public Safety recommends that students wear appropriate footwear and walk slowly to classes to avoid slipping. It is also important that students plan out their route in advance and look out for declining weather conditions.
Use different modes of transportation
On days when winter weather makes walking to class a challenge, Holman said students should consider alternative methods of transportation.
Holman said the Campus Area Bus Service is a good way for students to travel around campus during the winter.
“We recommend that riders download the Ohio State app to track the buses in real time so that they can plan their travel accordingly,” Holman said.
Holman said in addition to the regular, scheduled bus routes, CABS On-Demand gives students the ability to schedule a shuttle to pick them up from the RPAC, Baker Systems and Watts Hall during the day and any campus building overnight.
If students need to travel off campus, they can ride COTA buses throughout Columbus, Holman said. Students may swipe their BuckID to ride COTA buses at no additional cost.
If conditions become so harsh as to stop campus transportation services, Holman said the university will notify students.
“Service levels may be adjusted depending on the severity of the weather and any changes are shared with riders in advance,” Holman said.
Resources for students with disabilities
Ohio State offers many resources for students with disabilities to stay safe when traveling during the winter, a time when sidewalks might be slippery or covered in snow. Tara Rhea, deputy Americans with Disabilities Act coordinator, said in an email the ADA will try to ensure these pathways are cleared during the winter.
“There are over 130 miles of campus sidewalks that take at least 6 hours to clear,” Rhea said. “The University prioritizes accessible pathways and ramps when removing snow and ice.”
Rhea said students can request for specific sidewalks to be cleared by calling Service2Facilities.
If snow or cold becomes too severe, Rhea said students with disabilities can use CABS or CABS On Demand, or request one of the university’s paratransit shuttles.
When planning to drive, be ready and be careful
Driving to and from campus can be a much bigger challenge during the winter, but for commuters and many off-campus students, it is the only option.
The Department of Public Safety recommends students keep their windows and lights cleared of snow. It also instructs people to allow additional distance between the vehicle in front of you when driving.
Having an emergency kit in the car is another way to stay safe.
The Ohio Committee For Severe Weather Awareness recommends blankets, first aid kits, a snow brush, extra clothing, a radio, a flashlight, a cell phone charger and various other materials to fill an emergency kit.