- All of Florida’s public higher education colleges and universities have reopened following the landfall of Hurricane Ian
- Most schools were forced to close in preparation of damages to campus facilities
- While most were able to hold classes again in the week after the storm’s arrival, some, like Florida Gulf Coast University, remained closed through Oct. 9th
Following the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, all of Florida’s public higher education institutions have resumed classes and campuses remain operational.
Most of Florida’s 40 public state colleges and universities shuttered in preparation for the incoming storm. While many were lucky to get by unscathed, some campuses sustained damage, leading to class postponements through last week.
Efforts to reopen education institutions included Florida Education Commissioner Manny Diaz, Jr. organizing Florida College System presidents into a hurricane response strike group to facilitate quick responses to emergency needs, and dozens of university and college students volunteering to help reopen their schools.
“Florida state colleges have stepped up to help their students, communities, and neighboring institutions as our state recovers from Hurricane Ian,” said Commissioner of Education Manny Diaz, Jr. “I am pleased to see all 40 state colleges and universities in Florida’s top-ranked higher education system now resume classes for all students and faculty.”
The quick response to emergency needs in the immediate aftermath of the storm allowed for a faster turnaround time for schools than they experienced during Hurricane Irma’s landfall in 2017. The presidents plan to continue assisting with long-term needs aimed at restoring higher education institutions to their full operating ability.
Florida Gulf Coast University, one of the schools hit hardest by the class cancellations missed ten instructional days as damage relief efforts surrounded the area.
In order to make up the days, university leaders are planning to hold weekend classes to avoid extending the semester.
An alternative recuperation proposal levied by President Mike Martin is to complete the end of the fall 2022 academic semester, which would presumably include final exams, in January 2023.
Martin continued by stating that the plan involving weekend classes would compound any scheduling issues and could allow for the semester to be completed with no impact on graduation dates or end-of-semester breaks.
“To say we have been through a historic natural disaster may be an understatement. Everyone in Southwest Florida, indeed most of Florida, have felt significant effects. And these effects will be felt for a long time,” said university President Mike Martin. “In important ways, we continue to educate economic and community leaders. and so, FGCU is moving as fast as possible to restart while being sensitive to the unique challenges facing our students, faculty, and staff.”