C/O Nico, Flickr

We might get a snow day sooner than you think ❄️☃️

On Dec. 3, McMaster University posted an update on their information website, Daily News. Titled "Update on McMaster's Snow Policy", McMaster outlined amended changes to the Storm Emergency Policy.

As of January 1, 2022, new amendments are in-place for the Storm Emergency Policy. All in-person and online classes will be cancelled in the event of a snow day. All McMaster faculty and staff will also not be required to work, unless they are deemed "essential".

"If necessary, the university will formally announce a closure when severe weather poses a danger to students, staff and faculty while on campus or if the weather would prevent large numbers of them from coming to campus or returning safely to their homes," reads the statement posted on Daily News.

According to this policy, McMaster will announce by 5:30 a.m. whether university operation will commence on days suspected of having inclement weather. It is worth noting that if weather conditions change throughout the day, classes can be reinstituted. Students, staff and faculty have been advised to check Daily News to find out more information during university closures.

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McMaster also noted that if nothing is posted by the morning deadline, university operations will continue as normal.

Previously, the Storm Emergency Policy was amended ahead of the 2020-2021 academic term due to the online nature of classes. This amendment included a stipulation that if McMaster declared a snow day, all in-person classes would be cancelled; however, all online classes would continue.

At time of publication, Hamiltonians are bracing for a snow storm set to hit southern Ontario with an estimated snow fall of up to 40 cm. No word has currently been issued as to whether or not McMaster will have its first snow day of the season on Jan. 17.

This is a developing story. For more information, keep it locked to www.thesil.ca

Photo by Kyle West

Following recent snowstorms that deposited as much as 40 cm onto Hamilton streets, some Hamilton residents are using social media to bring attention to the issue of snow-covered residential sidewalks.

Currently, residents are expected to clear snow from their sidewalks within 24 hours of a “snow event.” If residents fail to comply, the city will issue a 24-hour “Notice to Comply,” followed by possible inspection and a contracting fee for the homeowner.

However, residents say both residential and city sidewalks are still not being cleared, either by residents or by the city.

The Disability Justice Network of Ontario has encouraged residents to participate in the “Snow and Tell” campaign by tweeting out pictures of snow or ice-covered roads and sidewalks using the hashtag #AODAfail, referring to the Accessibility for Ontarians for Disabilities Act.

https://twitter.com/VicBick/status/1087879002092646401

McMaster student and local community organizer Sophie Geffros supports the campaigns and says it a serious issue of accessibility and justice.

Geffros uses a wheelchair and knows how especially difficult it can be for those who use mobility devices to navigate through snow-covered streets.

“It's people who use mobility devices. It's people with strollers. And it's older folks. People end up on the street. If you go on any street after a major storm, you'll see people in wheelchairs and with buggies on the street with cars because the sidewalks just aren't clear,” Geffros said.

https://twitter.com/sgeffros/status/1087384392866123778

Snow-covered sidewalks also affect the ability for people, especially those who use mobility devices, to access public transit.

“Even when snow has been cleared, often times when it gets cleared, it gets piled on curb cuts and piled near bus stops and all these places that are that are vital to people with disabilities,” Geffros said.

https://twitter.com/craig_burley/status/1088798476081741824

Geffros sees the need for clearing sidewalks as non-negotiable.

“By treating our sidewalk network as not a network but hundreds of individual tiny chunks of sidewalk, it means that if there's a breakdown at any point in that network, I can't get around,” Geffros said. “If every single sidewalk on my street is shoveled but one isn't, I can't use that entire sidewalk. We need to think of it as a vital service in the same way that we think of road snow clearance as a vital service.”

Public awareness about the issue may push city council.

Some councillors have expressed support for a city-run snow clearing service, including Ward 1 councillor Maureen Wilson and Ward 3 councillor Nrinder Nann.

I just don’t find it all that complicated. Cities are for people. It is in our best interest, financial and otherwise, to plow sidewalks. It’s also a matter of justice. I await the city manager’s report and ensuing debate

— Maureen Wilson (She / Her) (@ward1wilson) January 29, 2019

A city council report issued in 2014 stated that a 34 dollar annual increase in tax for each homeowner would be enough to fund sidewalk snow-clearing.

Recently, Wilson requested the city council to issue a new report on the potential costs of funding snow-clearing service.

Geffros sees potential for the current discourse to open up to further discussions on other issues of accessibility and social justice.

Hamilton’s operating budget will likely be finalized around April. Until then, Geffros and other Hamilton residents will continue to speak out on the issue.

 

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Photo by Kyle West

By: Kashyap Patel

The safety and wellbeing of the student population should be the top priority of any respectable university. On Jan. 29, McMaster University chose to prioritize profits over the safety of their students.

Despite heavy snowfall and icy conditions, McMaster remained open because “crews [had] spent the night clearing snow and cleaning walkways.” The university simply advised their students to take care when travelling to campus.  

Crews have spent the night clearing snow and cleaning walkways. The University will open for classes this morning and all events and activities will take place as scheduled. Please take care travelling to campus.

— McMaster University (@McMasterU) January 29, 2019

McMaster’s Storm Emergency policy states that the university will be closed “when severe weather poses a danger to students, staff and faculty while on campus or if the weather would prevent large numbers of them from coming to campus or returning safely to their homes.”

For students living on-campus, the inclement weather did not pose as serious of a concern. However, for students and staff who live off-campus and commute, this decision put their safety at risk as roads and pathways leading to the campus were not adequately cleared.

In the opinion of many students on social media, the cancellation of classes should have been deemed a necessity. Students used the closure of the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board schools, which are located in the same area as McMaster, to support their views.

Due to the inclement weather, all schools and administrative buildings are closed and transportation is cancelled today, Jan 29. All exams scheduled for today will be written tomorrow, Jan 30.

Enjoy the snow day! ❄️ pic.twitter.com/WpmHYJnFAD

— HWDSB (@HWDSB) January 29, 2019

Many students could not make it to campus due to Go bus cancellations and delays. The university clearly overlooked these legitimate concerns despite the potential negative impacts on students’ academic standings.

This incident begs the question: does McMaster value profits over the safety of its students? Given this instance, I believe the answer is yes. This decision was careless and irresponsible considering that most students attending McMaster either commute or live off-campus. These severe weather conditions also made it impossible for students using accessibility devices to safely reach campus.

Furthermore, many students that braved the conditions and commuted to campus found out that their instructors had cancelled their classes. The lack of coordination between the university and its faculty led to students unnecessarily putting their safety at risk.

Students also pointed out that several walkways on-campus were not cleared even though the university claimed otherwise. McMaster should be more truthful about the statements they disseminate to the public. Students use this information to make decisions about their commute and how they navigate the campus in a safe manner.

https://twitter.com/obeng_lily/status/1090300759802109952

It is difficult to pinpoint what sources of information the university used to inform their decision. The weather forecast predicted a snow storm at approximately 4 p.m. the day prior. The local facilities in Hamilton such as the YMCA and public libraries were also closing for the day. Buses and trains were also delayed or canceled in several locations throughout the southern Ontario area.

McMaster University should take a multi-faceted approach when making weather-related closure decisions. Transportation, safety and the effectiveness of the clearing crew needs to be evaluated before making a decision that can impact the safety of thousands.

Student safety should be of paramount importance to educational institutions. There seems to be a disconnect between McMaster and its students regarding the implementation of the inclement weather policy.

McMaster should re-evaluate the actions it took on Jan. 29 and learn from this incident. Students need to know that their safety is valued and plays a key role in the decision-making processes of their university.

 

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Holiday travel plans can bring us together with family and loved ones. However, because winter weather in Canada can be extreme, it’s important to take a few precautions before you hit the road so you arrive safe and sound.

The York Regional Police, based just north of Toronto, have provided a few tips to help keep you safe on the roads.

Traveling in a winter wonderland

Weathering the conditions: Double-check the weather conditions before heading out. Weather can be severe and change quickly, so it’s extremely important to know the latest weather and traffic conditions, and to leave yourself plenty of time to arrive safely.

Get road-ready: Ensure your vehicle is prepared for the winter. Investing in winter tires is a good place to start. Top-up windshield fluids and antifreeze, ensure you have enough gas for every journey, and update your car’s emergency kit. Clear snow and ice from the windshield and mirrors, as well as from the top of the car and from wheel-wells to increase safety for other drivers.

Buckle up: Always wear your seatbelt, and make sure all of your passengers do too. While this may seem obvious as it's the law, it’s also the most important safety consideration no matter the road conditions.

Eyes on the road: Drive slowly and be aware of other motorists and road hazards. Winter roadways can feature big snow-removal vehicles and sand/salt-trucks, as well as distracted drivers and crosswalks full of pedestrians with arm-loads of gifts! Take the necessary precautions and make sure you’re always in control of your vehicle.

Arrive alive: The holidays are all about good times with family and friends. Don’t drink and drive.

 

Plan for the best, prepare for the worst

Icy roads, limited visibility, Top 40 Radio…lots of things can impact your time on the road this winter. If you are involved in a fender-bender this season, remember to contact local police immediately if your collision involves:

 

View original article from TD Insurance.

 

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By: Sasha Dhesi and Jennifer La Grassa

Turtlenecks

Quick, tell me one thing that all these people have in common: Audrey Hepburn, Michel Foucault, Steve Jobs, Zayn Malik and Carl Sagan. Nationality? Nope. Ideology? Probably not. Love of turtlenecks? Check!

What is it about a turtleneck that makes it so appealing? It seems as though they’ve never really fallen out of fashion. And how did these sweaters win my heart over every other type of sweater? I remember finding a picture of my dad from his mid twenties, wearing a light blue turtleneck and tweed blazer. Maybe it’s in my genes to like them.

Turtlenecks have long been associated with new ideas and innovation. During the 1950s they were adopted by the beatniks who challenged societal norms with their art. Likewise, in the 1980s they became associated with the late Steve Jobs and his strides in technology through his fledgling company, Apple. They’ve also been a staple in the fashion world, from Twiggy’s teenybopper editorials to Comme des Garçons’ brutal anti-fashion 1992 Fall/Winter collection. The unisex simplicity of the style allows it to be worn and appropriated by many different crowds, arguably making it the most versatile piece one could own.

Either way, turtleneck season has arrived, and with Drake now endorsing them via a cameo in his “Hotline Bling” video, it will only be a matter of weeks before every fast fashion boutique worth anything is brimming to the seams with oversized turtlenecks emblazoned with spikes and slogans. With so many options it may seem impossible to pick, but here are my top choices for those who adore the cozy, sleek look that a turtleneck affords you.

Boots

I love my Steve Madden combat boots as much as I love life itself. It’s been two years since we found each other, and I can’t imagine what fall would be like without them. They go well with all my leggings and jeans. The only downfall to their worn leather brown exterior and cloth laces is their lack of durability and warmth during the winter months; I tend to wear them up until the first decent snowfall, and then tearfully put them away for the year.

Shifting from fall to winter boots is not only an emotional struggle, but a financial and fashion one as well. Finding a boot that looks, feels, and functions well is hard to come by when the amount of snow we get begs for snowshoes. Throughout high school I refused to wear the boots my mom suggested. I wanted boots that made me feel mature. This change of heart sacrificed both my bank account and fragile toes, forcing me to quickly realize that winter fashion came at a cost and that cost was quality.

Last winter, I was due for new boots and because school was a 15 minute walk away and the thought of my toes falling off from frost bite, I allowed my mom to help me shop for a pair of boots. Even though they made me look like a child and the fierceness created by my Steve Madden combat boots melted away a little more each time I wore them, they kept me warm and had good grip, which is all I can ask for when trekking to school in a blizzard.

For those of you searching for the shoe that will get you through winter, these high-quality boots will help you survive the winter in style. Forewarning: Winter boots are costly, but if they are of good quality and proper care has been taken, they’ll last; don’t let the prices scare you away.

Photo Credit: Nate Greenberg

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Brianna Buziak
The Silhouette

Most would agree that the only good slush is flavoured, in drink form and consumed in the summer months. But until the temperature rises, or until we encounter the infamous April heat wave, we are stuck with cold, wet, dirty slush. The worst part is figuring out our footwear: do we sacrifice warmth for dryness, or dryness for warmth? Well stay tuned fair reader and find out how with these options you don’t have to sacrifice either.

Women’s Classic Knee High Rain Boot $39.99 (Target)- The name says it all. These boots will never go out of style nor will they ever be out of commission unless, of course, you move to a desert.

Men’s Arctic Cat Sherbrook Cold Weather Boot $59.99 (Target)- Being described as being a cold weather boot and having a water resistant construction, we can only assume that this boot will keep men’s feet both dry and warm this winter season.

T-Max Heat Thermal Socks $9.99-$10.99 (Mark’s Work Warehouse)- if you want to continue wearing your tried and true wellies throughout winter, add a pair of thermal socks to keep your toes toasty. Available in both men’s and women’s, these are a great addition to any cold weather wear closet.

Hunter Boots $150 (Footwear retailers)- on the pricey side, these boots are meant to keep feet dry throughout the wet months. They are great for treading through slush but not necessarily the warmest. There are many options for fleece socks and insulated liners. Although not as popular, there are also styles for the gentlemen who don’t want to get cold feet.

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