As Hurricane Michael approaches Florida’s Gulf Coast, Rollins students will remain on campus and classes will continue as regularly scheduled. The hurricane is expected to make landfall in the Florida Panhandle as a Category 3 hurricane on Wednesday.
“We are actively monitoring the situation with our community partner…Orange County emergency management team,” said Rebecca DeCesare, senior operations coordinator for Campus Safety at Rollins.
“There are no expected evacuations as of right now, if there are any changes we’ll put them out there as soon as we get that notification,” said DeCesare.
Students filled out their personal hurricane plans at the beginning of the semester, and information from those forms will be used in the case of future hurricanes threatening Rollins, if necessary. Social media, email, and the R-Alert system will be used to notify students of severe weather events affecting the Rollins community.
More than 120,000 people have been ordered to evacuate from the affected areas of the Panhandle as Hurricane Michael approaches parts of Georgia, Florida, and Alabama, a TIME article stated. In Florida, thirteen counties have issued mandatory evacuation orders, according to Florida’s Division of Emergency Management.
Furthermore, Florida State University, Florida A&M University, and Tallahassee Community College have cancelled classes until Sunday to prepare for Hurricane Michael’s decent on the Florida coastline.
To aid in recovery, students can give blood or monetary donations to organizations such as American Red Cross or other credible emergency relief organizations.
As reported by The Sandspur earlier this semester, Rollins will no longer offer housing to students, faculty, or staff in the case of a hurricane or other extreme weather emergency. This change came after the college spent up to $450,000 to house 125 students and 60 staff members during Hurricane Irma last September. The costs included housing, meals, labor, and supplies, according to Ken Miller, assistant vice president of public safety.
After the 2017 hurricane season, Rollins commissioned an external evaluation of the shelter facilities by the Central Florida Chapter of the American Red Cross and the Orange County Office of Emergency Management. It was discovered that logistical challenges were present in the facilities and that there were safer options outside of campus for the community.