Regular operations will resume at the College on Monday, October 10.
On October 6-7, the Bush Science Center served as a shelter for members of the Rollins College campus community during Hurricane Matthew. (Photo by Scott Cook)
Even before Orange County, Florida, was placed under a hurricane warning on Wednesday morning, Rollins College officials and the emergency management team were monitoring and preparing.
As early as Tuesday afternoon, Rollins College President Grant Cornwell announced that the College would be closed on Thursday and Friday, giving students and employees time to make travel arrangements if they planned to leave the area. The facilities crew began trimming trees and securing the campus for high winds and rain. Campus Safety and other College officials began asking members of the campus community to report where they planned to take shelter during the storm using a secure online check-in system.
Rollins also announced that the Bush Science Center, which has a backup power system, would serve as a shelter for students and members of the campus community who decided to remain on campus during the storm.
Staff members checked in 187 people at Bush Science Center starting on Thursday at 5 p.m. and the shelter remained open with electricity and meals until the conditions on campus were safe by early Friday evening. The shelter was staffed around the clock with members of Campus Safety and the Rollins Residential Life teams. The College’s emergency management communications team remained on location and in close touch with city officials so that they could answer questions and provide updates to the campus community and families.
President Grant Cornwell checks in with students at the Bush Science Center shelter during Hurricane Matthew on Friday. During the storm, President Cornwell visited the shelter twice. “I’m so proud of how our campus community came together during Hurricane Matthew,” Cornwell said. “The levels of leadership, preparation, and execution were impressive and inspiring, and we are so grateful that our students and community members are safe and that our campus escaped without any serious damage.”
By Friday afternoon at 5 p.m., the College’s emergency response announced that it was standing down. Residence halls were checked by staff to ensure safety, and students returned to their rooms after dinner was served.
Campus activities will remain canceled through the weekend, and regular operations will resume at Rollins on Monday, October 10. Because of Fall Break, classes will resume on Wednesday, October 12.