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Hurricane Irma remains on university’s mind

As the potential threat of Hurricane Irma approaches Florida, the storm remains on students’ minds. The storm remains a Category 5, but is expected to be a Category 4 by the time it reaches Florida early Sunday afternoon, according to Bay News 9.

In response to concerns, the Dean of Students office sent out an email Tuesday afternoon stating that hurricanes are difficult to predict and the exact path has yet to be determined. Any class cancellation has yet to be determined, but is still being considered based on where the storm moves.

“The university will make decisions regarding class cancellation in the next couple days,” the email said. “While we encourage instructors to be flexible with our students in this of uncertainty, it should be reiterated that classes have not been cancelled at this time.  We are confident that the situation will become clearer in a few days.”

Should closures occur, the university has two options. Classes can be cancelled without calling for the university to evacuate. According to the email, if this happens food services and residence halls will remain open for those living on-campus.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an ideal hurricane kit would include items such as water, non-perishable food, first aid supplies, a flashlight, extra batteries and a battery-powered radio to receive updates on the storm.

However, should the need arise, the university could also call for an evacuation of campus. This would require those students in the residence halls to leave campus as well. The email recommended that students start to make an evacuation plan.

Should an evacuation be called and a student not have somewhere to go, the email said the university would help organize buses to take students to a local shelter.

Local shelters include Greco Middle School on E. Fowler Avenue, Forest Hills Elementary off of Florida Avenue and the USF Sun Dome.

“The USF Sun Dome is designated for use as a special needs shelter in Hillsborough County, if it’s needed,” university spokesman Adam Freeman said.