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Hurricane Ian leaves Florida campuses flooded and broken – Inside Greater Ed

Schools and universities in southwestern and central Florida are assessing injury and evaluating reopening plans within the wake of Hurricane Ian.

Some faculties that prepared for extreme situations, together with the College of Tampa and the College of South Florida, emerged from the storm with minimal damage and had been capable of reopen residence halls by Friday morning.

Others had been hit tougher.

Bethune-Cookman College, a traditionally Black establishment in Daytona Seashore, is situated within the heart of what the Federal Emergency Administration Company designated a “particular flood hazard space” of the storm. The college evacuated all college students and workers from campus final Monday in anticipation of the harmful situations. By Friday afternoon, flooding and extreme winds had finished significant damage to a lot of the campus, together with historic buildings.

Karen Parks, BCU’s government director of communications, mentioned Friday that the college has but to do a full injury evaluation, however the campus would stay closed till it does.

“We nonetheless really feel the storm’s affect,” she wrote in an electronic mail to Inside Greater Ed. “As soon as we now have decided the storm’s affect, we are going to work on how and when to convey our college students again to campus safely.”

After surveying the injury to campus and the encircling space, Florida Gulf Coast College canceled classes until Monday, Oct. 10. In the course of the storm, residential and commuter college students sought shelter within the college’s Alico Area, which had been a public shelter during Hurricane Irma in 2017; many remained there by means of Friday night.

In a video posted to FGCU’s Fb web page Thursday, college president Michael Martin mentioned a FEMA workforce would probably help with poststorm restoration and injury evaluation and that college students shouldn’t return to dormitories till they’re deemed secure to re-enter.

“We’ve got to examine the entire buildings to ensure they’re secure to return to, together with the residence halls … however it’s going to take some time,” Martin mentioned. “Given the quantity of harm we’ve had and different issues, we’re going to proceed to hunker down right here.”

In Orlando, close to the College of Central Florida, flooding from the storm surge reached what the local newspaper known as “historic” ranges. In a single residence complicated close to the campus, greater than 200 residents, the vast majority of them UCF college students, had to be rescued by the Nationwide Guard as waters rose; by Friday morning some had been wading by means of waist-high waters with luggage of belongings or traversing flooded streets on inflatable rafts. UCF, which initially canceled courses by means of Friday, extended its suspension of regular operations to Tuesday as a result of injury.

Heather Lovett, UCF’s director of media relations, mentioned that whereas the college’s campuses did not maintain any main injury, some residence complexes and houses off campus the place college students had been residing skilled “catastrophic injury,” and lots of misplaced their belongings and automobiles. She added that workers members can be found to assist affected college students who attain out for help.

“Our UCF neighborhood is thought for our tradition of care and compassion, and that spirit will likely be essential as we come collectively and get better from the impacts of Hurricane Ian,” UCF President Alexander Cartwright wrote in an electronic mail to the college neighborhood on Saturday. “Our hearts are with all of the individuals, together with members of our UCF household and people throughout the state, who’ve skilled unbelievable losses as a result of storm.”

Naim Kapucu, a professor of public administration at UCF and the writer of the 2013 study “Catastrophe Resiliency and Tradition of Preparedness for College and School Campuses,” advised Inside Greater Ed forward of the storm that UCF’s sturdy Emergency Operations Center made the college higher ready than many establishments for disasters like Hurricane Ian.

These with out the identical disaster-preparation infrastructure, he mentioned, should depend on neighborhood assets within the occasion of an emergency.

“Not all campuses have capability or assets to spend money on catastrophe preparedness,” Kapucu mentioned. “Growing partnerships with [the] emergency administration neighborhood will likely be important for campuses if they don’t have assets to develop emergency administration applications.”

After leaving Florida, Ian turned northward, barely diminished however nonetheless formidable. On Friday the storm lashed the South Carolina coast; by that afternoon, streets close to the Medical College of South Carolina in Charleston had been already flooding. Many faculties and universities in Georgia and the Carolinas had already canceled courses in preparation, together with Georgia Southern College, Duke University and the University of South Carolina. However as of Sunday, none had skilled the identical degree of destruction as Florida’s establishments.

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