TAMPA — Public schools in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco and Hernando counties will be closed today because of Isaac's threat.
Some universities and colleges say they plan to still be open — including the University of Tampa, Hillsborough Community College and St. Petersburg College — though not the University of South Florida or Stetson University College of Law.
In Hillsborough, the closing of the public schools comes at a time that is already hectic for the district, which had closed its downtown Tampa headquarters for the week because of activity surrounding the Republican National Convention.
"I'm not really excited about it," said Lauren Oneal, a Carrollwood mother of four children, three of them school-age. "I'm glad they are taking precautions. But we were enjoying the down time of having them back in school after a long summer."
To the south of the bay area, Manatee and Sarasota county schools also will be closed.
Pinellas schools spokeswoman Melanie Marquez said the district's decision to close the schools was based on several risk factors associated with the storm. School buses can't be on the roads in winds above 35 mph, she said. Additionally, the county frequently uses public schools as shelters.
"It was decided it would be best to err on the side of caution," Marquez said.
The University of South Florida said it will close all its campuses.
Those include USF Tampa, USF Sarasota-Manatee, USF St. Petersburg, the USF College of Marine Science, the Florida Institute of Oceanography in St. Petersburg and USF Lakeland. Both the Stetson law campus in Gulfport and the Tampa Law Center will be closed.
In St. Petersburg, the Eckerd College administration building will be closed today, the college announced. But students can continue to receive instructions online from professors.
The Pasco-Hernando Community College will also be closed.
Other schools that announced they will be closed today include: Sunstate Academy in Clearwater; Shorecrest Preparatory School of St. Petersburg; Esther's School in Pinellas and Pasco counties; Northside Christian School and preschool; Anona Child Development Center in Largo; Land of Learning Academy in Tampa; Berkeley Preparatory School; St. Petersburg Catholic High School; and the Academy of the Holy Names in Tampa. Athletic officials from Jesuit, Carrollwood Day, Seffner Christian School said those schools are also closed.