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Governor Rick Scott closes public schools in preparation for Hurricane Irma

Nathan Pigott

Classes at FGCU have been canceled through Monday, Sept. 11., following Hurricane Irma’s imminent threat to South Florida.
Florida Governor Rick Scott ordered all public schools, state colleges and state universities to close Friday through Monday.
Scott said in a statement Thursday:
“Today, I am directing the closure of all public schools, state colleges, state universities and state offices for their normal activities effective Friday through Monday, to ensure we have every space available for sheltering and staging. Floridians are facing a life-threatening storm in Hurricane Irma, and every family must prepare to evacuate. Our state’s public schools serve a vital role in our communities as shelters for displaced residents and staging areas for hurricane recovery efforts.Closing public schools, state colleges, state universities and state offices will provide local and state emergency officials the flexibility necessary to support shelter and emergency response efforts.”
All FGCU classes, business operations and events will be closed, and students will be notified when the university will reopen, university spokeswoman Susan Evans said in an email Thursday.
According to the email, starting at 8 p.m. Friday the university’s campus will only remain open to residential students and FGCU-designated personnel.
While FGCU housing remains open, if it closes, Alico Arena will serve as a shelter for students.
In a 5 p.m. update from the National Hurricane Center, Irma’s path has shifted west, placing West Coast and Central Florida at risk of a direct hit.
Although Irma’s exact projections remain unknown, students and residents are urged to monitor the storm should any changes occur.
Following an FGCU Emergency Advisory Council meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 6, the university canceled classes and business operations on Thursday and Friday.
“We recognize that some students, faculty and staff who evacuated will be in other parts of the state and country,” Evans said in the email. “And as always encourage you to make decisions based on personal safety that are in your and your family’s best interests.”
According to the email, Evans said an announcement would be made at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday regarding classes on Monday, Sept. 11. However, the storms unpredictability prompted a change in plans.
FGCU Police Chief Steven Moore will continue to notify students on weather conditions and university updates.
Check back with Eagle News for updates.

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