By Hannah Bolandian ’19

Graphic Credit: Ben Roland ’19

Starting on Tuesday Sep. 5, Staples alumni’ attending southern colleges received a flood of emails flooded notifying them that classes had been canceled until further notice. The predicted damage from hurricane Irma, then labeled as a category 5, caused a number of schools in the south to send their students home and evacuate.

According to the article “The Latest: 5.6 million told to evacuate Florida due to Irma from The Washington Post, in Florida alone, “5.6 million people [had been asked] to evacuate ahead of time [before the hurricane hit].”

University of Miami, one of the biggest target spots for Irma, cancelled class for over a week. “An evacuation was definitely necessary. all over campus there are trees down and lots of damage. Plus almost all of Miami doesn’t have power,” Gabe Leitner ’17, University of Miami ’21, said.

The damage done in Miami was exactly what was predicted. According to the article “Hurricane Irma: University of Miami unsure of sports, students return; Toledo kick time set” from the Palm Beach Post, “The storm reportedly left 3.6 million homes and businesses on Florida Power & Light’s grid without electricity” (Porter). Miami students had classes canceled on Wednesday, Sep. 6 indefinitely. As of now the students are supposed to return to school on Sep. 24, but the date is continually being pushed back.

Miami was under lots of surveillance and kept a close watch on the storm in order to plan accordingly with classes. “Irma was supposed to hit really bad where I go to school. Originally UMiami was supposed to be in the center of it all but then Irma moved a little west thankfully,” Lilly Howes ’17, University of Miami ’21, said.

Slightly further north, other states, such as Georgia and the Carolinas, were also on watch for possible damage done by Irma. Although the cancellation of classes were not as extreme, students from schools  were also sent home on a short recess due to weather.

“Due to Savannah being so close to the water, a week-long evacuation was definitely the right call. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be able to leave our dorms while trees falling and flooding would happen all around us., Kassidy Greer ’16, Savannah College of Art and Design ’20, said.

While students have just become getting acclimated to the new school year, many were excited to have the chance to return home. “It was an exciting surprise to be able to come home just to be able to see family and friends that are still in Westport, and to visit people that go to school near home,” Phoebe Mendelson ’17, College of Charleston ’21, said.

In contrast, others can’t wait to return to the next four years of their lives, “I feel really bored, none of my friends are home so I’m kinda just sitting around doing nothing. I’m excited to be able to go back to school,” Leitner said.

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