Florida Colleges Recover, Change Class Schedules In Wake of Ian

The Category 4 hurricane inflicted damage from Naples on the southwest coast to Daytona Beach on the east coast.
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  • Hurricane Ian recovery is delaying classes another week at multiple colleges in Florida.
  • Impacted schools are developing catch-up schedules to make up for lost instructional time.
  • Florida institutions not impacted by Ian are also helping those that took the brunt of the storm by gathering and delivering supplies.

Florida colleges and universities that were in Hurricane Ian's path last week are still recovering and assessing damage as they try to resume normal academic schedules.

Ian made landfall on Florida's southwest coast last week as a Category 4 hurricane, inflicting damage from Naples on the southwest coast to Daytona Beach on the east coast.

In hard-hit Fort Myers, Florida Gulf Coast University announced it will tentatively return to operations on October 10.

"If you'll excuse the colloquialism, we got hit by a pretty big ass storm," Florida Gulf Coast University President Michael Martin said in a video. "Our first priority will always be attending to the well-being and safety of our students, faculty, staff, and wherever possible, friends."

In an announcement Monday, Martin said FGCU was moving as fast as possible to restart while being sensitive to challenges facing students, faculty, and staff.

He also said that when FGCU restarts on October 10, it will need to institute a "catch-up schedule" that will incorporate Saturdays to make up for at least 10 days of classes.

"We will be offering flexible options, including, but not limited to, Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (pass/fail) and opportunities for remote attendance and instruction," Martin said. "We encourage faculty to be innovative, creative, patient and flexible as we move forward."

With five campuses spread across the southwest coast from Punta Gorda to Naples, Florida SouthWestern State College experienced the full range of Hurricane Ian's impacts. In a Sept. 30 alert, the school said it is monitoring power, water, and sewer conditions on its campuses as well as assessing conditions for students to be able to move back into residence halls.

Fall term classes will be extended through December 10 but will be adjusted as FSW monitors conditions, the school said.

Bethune-Cookman University (BCU), a historically Black college and university (HBCU) in Daytona Beach, is assessing damages to campus areas and buildings and will send updates on Wednesday and Friday, President Lawrence M. Drake II in a press release.

"We are not only sensitive to the implications of keeping the campus closed and its impact on your academic studies and the academic year in general but also realize that events like these are traumatic for all of us," said Drake. "Even though we care a great deal about your academic standing, we care just as much about your well-being."

Other Florida campuses that escaped the worst of Ian's wrath are doing what they can to help their fellow institutions.

Florida Gateway College (FGC) in Lake City has teamed up with Santa Fe College in Gainesville to collect aid for the State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota (SCF). Hygiene and household items will be delivered on October 10 via trucks driven students and instructors in FGC's commercial vehicle driving program.

"We are thankful that FGC and our district received minimal impact from Hurricane Ian, but some at our sister colleges were not as lucky," FGC President Dr. Lawrence Barrett said in a statement. "Together with President Broadie at Santa Fe and his campus, we are committed to doing everything we can to help our fellow Florida College System members."