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School closures: Tampa Bay area school districts prepare for Hurricane Ian

Plus the latest on Florida colleges and universities.
The Pinellas County school district will close some schools early Monday as it prepares for an expected hurricane.
The Pinellas County school district will close some schools early Monday as it prepares for an expected hurricane. [ JEFFREY S. SOLOCHEK | Times ]
Published Sep. 25|Updated Sep. 28

School districts and colleges across the Tampa Bay area and Florida are taking precautionary steps as Hurricane Ian threatens to impact the region in the coming days. The information below is being continually updated as schools amend their plans.

Pinellas County

All Pinellas schools will be closed Tuesday through Friday, with all meetings and extracurricular activities also canceled.

The Pinellas district will provide updated information about its storm plans through several outlets, including local media and social media sites. It also will put the latest details on its website, pcsb.org/weather, and will have a recorded emergency phone line at (727) 588-6424.

Hillsborough County

The Hillsborough County district announced Monday that 49 of its sites had been called into service as shelters for the storm. As a result, it canceled all classes through Thursday.

Related: Tampa opens 16 ‘out of school camp’ sites for kids after Hurricane Ian closes schools

Officials explained on Facebook that, even if the storm causes minimal disruption, the schools play a critical role in emergency planning and it takes time to have the shelters ready for evacuees.

“There may be a need to make up missed instructional hours in order to meet minimum state requirements, but we will work with the Florida Department of Education to determine how many hours might be necessary,” the district reminded parents and students.

The district planned to continue providing updates through several outlets, including social media and its website, hillsboroughschools.org.

Pasco County

Pasco County closed on Tuesday to begin readying shelters, and will remain shut through Friday.

All before- and after-school events, including the PLACE child care program, will also close those days.

In a memo to staff, the district reminded employees who are part of its comprehensive emergency plan that they may be called upon to work throughout the storm.

The district planned to update families and employees through phone calls, social media and its website, pasco.k12.fl.us.

Local colleges and universities

University of South Florida

Classes are canceled through Friday, resuming on Monday, Oct. 3. Campuses and university operations will start to close Tuesday and will remain closed through Thursday.

USF Health clinical facilities were expected to stay open until Wednesday.

University of Tampa

The school is closed all week, with plans to resume full campus operations on Monday, Oct. 3.

Eckerd College

The school is closed through Wednesday and won’t reopen “until the College can assess any damage and provide a timeline for safe return,” according to it’s website.

Saint Leo University

Classes are moved online all week for all locations, with the exception of the Corpus Christi Education Center in Texas.

Hillsborough Community College

Has canceled all classes and will close operations Tuesday through Friday. The school is scheduled to reopen Monday, Oct. 3.

St. Petersburg College

Will be closed Tuesday through Friday.

Stetson University College of Law

The Gulfport and Tampa Law Center campuses will be closed Tuesday through Thursday. There will be no classes Tuesday and Wednesday, and there will be no in-person classes held on Thursday or Friday.

Keiser University

Campuses in Sarasota, Tampa, Clearwater, New Port Richey and Lakeland are closed through Thursday.

Other Florida universities

Florida A&M University

Classes have been canceled at the Tallahassee and Crestview campuses from Tuesday through Friday. Campuses are expected remain open until Thursday. The Quincy facility and the Viticulture Center will follow the same schedule. The College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences’ Tampa/Orlando site will also be closed Tuesday through Friday and students will be excused from rotation. Classes will be canceled from Wednesday through Friday at the College of Law in Orlando. Plans for the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences’ Jacksonville campus will be announced later. The university’s Parent and Family Weekend has been rescheduled to November 4-6.

Florida Gulf Coast University

Classes will be canceled and the university will be closed Tuesday and Wednesday. Residential students who remain on campus Tuesday and Wednesday will be relocated to a university-designated shelter.

Florida International University

Campuses will close starting at 5 p.m. Tuesday and will be closed Wednesday. All classes are canceled, including online classes.

Florida Polytechnic University

Classes are canceled Tuesday through Friday. The university will be closed Wednesday and Thursday.

Florida State University

Classes are canceled Tuesday through Friday at the Tallahassee and Panama City campuses. Campuses are expected to remain open until Thursday.

New College

Classes have been canceled until Friday. Residence halls will close by 8 a.m. Tuesday and students who need shelter will be relocated to Booker High School.

University of Central Florida

Classes have been canceled from Wednesday through Friday. The campus will close Wednesday and Thursday.

University of Florida

Classes are cancelled Wednesday through Friday, as are all campus operations. The Florida Gators’ football game against Eastern Washington, originally scheduled for Saturday evening, has been rescheduled for noon Sunday.

The Southwest Recreation Center at 3150 Hull Road in Gainesville will open as a shelter at 6 p.m. Wednesday for UF students, faculty and staff and their families. UF affiliates must bring their Gator 1 card for identification.

University of North Florida

All classes, including those online, are canceled from Wednesday through Saturday, as are university offices. Activities and events scheduled on campus are also canceled. The university plans to resume normal operations by Sunday.

As of mid-day Tuesday, Florida Atlantic University and the University of West Florida remained open with no announced plans for cancelations.

Times staff writer Zachary T. Sampson contributed to this report.

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