Who removes snow from school district sites?
The responsibility for snow removal is divided between the Grounds and Custodial Departments. The Grounds department removes snow from school parking lots, driveways, City-owned sidewalks, playgrounds and driving ranges. School custodians remove snow from District-owned sidewalks (and City sidewalks at the high schools), building entrances, stairs, etc. Custodians also spread salt on those areas for which they are responsible.
School Custodians have the final responsibility for ensuring that all sidewalks, stairs and entryways have been cleared of snow at their sites within 24 hours after a storm ends. The custodian will communicate with the Grounds Supervisor if there are driveway or parking lot areas that have been missed. The custodian is also responsible for reporting specific hazards to the Ground's Supervisor. Specific hazards can mean ice that has formed over night or any other hazard that would not affect other schools.
What are the procedures for snow removal?
We do not normally send out snow plows for accumulations of one inch or less. When such conditions do occur, we will take the ambient temperature into consideration and if warranted, problem areas will be salted.
Snow removal is always carried out in the following order:
- Parking lots and driveways
- City sidewalks
- Driving ranges and asphalt playgrounds
Parking lots, driveways and City sidewalks are normally completed the first day of a storm and playgrounds and driving ranges are completed the following day. Many factors, including: temperature, when the snow started to fall, how long and how rapidly it has been snowing, total snow depth, how many trucks are operational and how many employees are available for duty will impact our ability to clear snow from our sites. Snow storms that last for several days are the most difficult to manage followed by storms that begin just before school starts or during the school day.
Each of our snow plow drivers is responsible for five or more sites and it takes a minimum of four hours to complete the assigned route during the best of conditions. Heavy snow storms will slow down our crews considerably. The order in which each school site is plowed is based on the size of the parking lots and difficulty of removing snow from driveways and walks. Some schools have steep or narrow driveways and these sites must be plowed first.
We cannot apply salt as we plow to every site since only a few trucks are equipped with a spreader. If the truck plowing a site does not have a spreader, the site will be salted as soon as another truck with a spreader is available. Grass areas are never salted as the salt would contaminate the soil and kill the grass.
When will newly fallen snow be removed?
The Ground's Department Supervisor monitors the weather conditions throughout the night during periods of threatening weather and dispatches the snow plow crews according to the likely severity of a storm. Crews may start as early as 2 A.M. if it has started to snow during the night. However, we are limited to which sites we can plow in the early morning hours because of Salt Lake Valley Health Department noise regulations. Schools with parking lots and driveways that are close to neighboring homes cannot be plowed until later in the morning.
Our crews are on overtime whenever they are called out early for snow removal so we try to manage the number of overtime hours as carefully as possible to stay within our budgets. Custodians begin their snow removal work as soon as they arrive on site which is typically 6 A.M. Again, if it starts snowing at 5 A.M., there simply isn't enough time to have all the snow removed before school starts.
Because of staffing and overtime limitations, snow will not be removed during extended holiday breaks from parking lots, driveways and playgrounds on a daily basis. We will try to bring in crews frequently enough during the holidays to keep snow accumulations from becoming overwhelming. City sidewalks must have snow removed 24 hours after a storm as required by local regulations. These walks will be handled by either the Grounds Department or the custodian on-call during the holiday period.
Who do I contact for questions about snow removal?
Generally, most questions regarding snow removal can be answered by calling the specific school site and talking to the Head Custodian. You may also call Ricardo Zubiate, Custodial Supervisor at 801.886.8929. If you have questions about school parking lots or driveways, call Mark Ruff, Grounds Supervisor at 801.886.8929 (office ) or 801.244.1581 (mobile) between 6 A.M. and 4 P.M.