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UPDATED: Webster’s Florida campuses to close Thursday due to onset of Hurricane Irma
Updated on Sept. 13
Webster University campuses across the Southeast are preparing to reopen to students and faculty following Hurricane Irma. Florida campuses are expected to reopen Monday, September 18 while campuses in Georgia are tentatively planning to reopen later this week. All South Carolina campuses reopened Wednesday, September 13.
The Merritt Island, Melbourne and Ocala campuses in Florida reported minor damage such as water damage from leaky roofs or loss of power and internet. All campuses are being assessed prior to reopening to students and faculty. Students, faculty and staff at campuses in Florida, South Carolina and Georgia are safe and unharmed, according to a Webster University press release.
Regional Director of Florida Operations Nicolas Spina said instructors are being directed to reconfigure course syllabi to make up for lost class time. Extended campuses like Webster Florida do not have a fall break; therefore, the campuses do not have the ability to extend the Fall 1 term into Fall 2.
“This will be an instructor/course based adjustment that will incorporate many creative approaches,” Spina said. “As long as instructors document and follow through on how the contact hours will be made up, our academic standards will not be compromised.”
The Journal will continue to update as more information becomes available.
Posted on Sept. 6
Webster’s Florida campuses are set to close until further notice Thursday, September 7 at 1:00 pm due to category five Hurricane Irma, only days after category four Hurricane Harvey made landfall in southern Texas. Even though Irma is not expected to make landfall in Florida until Saturday, at the earliest, early closing will allow students to evacuate the area safely, according to Director of Public Relations Patrick Giblin.
Florida Governor Rick Scott issued a state of emergency Monday, September 4 across all 67 counties in Florida and encouraged state-wide evacuations. Like evacuations for Hurricane Harvey, Florida state leaders expect massive traffic jams throughout the state.
Webster campuses in the predicted path of Hurricane Irma are Webster Orlando, Lakeland, St. Petersburg/Tampa, Jacksonville Metro and Naval Air Station, Melbourne, Merritt Island and Ocala.
Giblin said closings and storm preparations will depend on each individual campus. Giblin said Melbourne is located on the coast, which means they will be taking more extensive preparations compared to the inland campuses. These preparations include backing up data to servers incase of water damage, moving expensive equipment away from windows to elevated ground and placing paper documents in waterproof safes.
There is not a scheduled date to reopen the campuses to students and faculty, but each campus will vary based on location. Students and faculty have been encouraged to closely monitor Webster Alert notifications as well as local and national news stations.
In light of these storm weather events, Webster University is encouraging all students to sign-up for Webster Text Alert System. Webster Alerts allows for the university to send updated information about weather events or dangerous situations evolving on campus. To add your cell-phone to receive text message updates, please visit My Connections on the webster.edu website and look for the Webster Alerts’ section.