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Schools offer respite to evacuees as Hurricane Ian approaches

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state
From left to right: Workers D Bowls and John Nelson unload a pallet of bottled water as Magdalia Nieves, 44 and John Dejesus, 15, bring their belongings inside one of Hillsborough County’s pet-friendly shelters in preparation for Hurricane Ian at Durant High in Plant City on Tuesday, September 27, 2022.
From left to right: Workers D Bowls and John Nelson unload a pallet of bottled water as Magdalia Nieves, 44 and John Dejesus, 15, bring their belongings inside one of Hillsborough County’s pet-friendly shelters in preparation for Hurricane Ian at Durant High in Plant City on Tuesday, September 27, 2022. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]
Published Sep. 28

The big story: It’s still Hurricane Ian.

The storm took a turn on Tuesday as it came closer to Florida, putting the coast between Sarasota and Fort Myers in the eye’s crosshairs. Tampa Bay area school officials remained wary nonetheless, getting ready for a possible influx to the shelters, and also for possible flooding and wind damage that could affect schools even without a direct hit.

Hurricane Ian is forecasted to make landfall below the Tampa Bay, likely in the Sarasota and Fort Myers areas, as a Category 4 storm, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Hurricane Ian is forecasted to make landfall below the Tampa Bay, likely in the Sarasota and Fort Myers areas, as a Category 4 storm, according to the National Hurricane Center. [ The National Hurricane Center ]

Some of the early evacuees said they came to the schools out of an abundance of caution.

Other counties meanwhile picked up the pace of their preparations. The majority ended the day with plans to close on Wednesday, perhaps longer.

Among them, schools in south Florida that had not been considered in the path said they will close, WPLG reports. • Flagler County announced the opening of school-based special needs shelters, Flagler Live reports. • Alachua County canceled all classes through Friday, as did the University of Florida, the Gainesville Sun reports. • Volusia County also canceled classes, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports. • Leon County decided not to open shelters as the storm shifted, allowing classes to continue, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.

Keep tabs on the latest Hurricane Ian news at tampabay.com/hurricane. The coverage is available to all readers for free. Stay safe.

Other school news

Book challenges: The Escambia County School Board chairperson asked for the removal of more than 100 library book titles so they can be reviewed against state requirements, NorthEscambia.com reports.

College contracts: Gov. Ron DeSantis said he wants to cut off Florida college and university contracts with seven “countries of concern” such as China, Higher Education Dive reports.

Conflict of interest: Some Broward County School Board members are under investigation amid allegations of improper ties to a former employee who now works for a major district vendor, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

Leadership: The Escambia County School Board decided not to discuss firing superintendent Tim Smith after a dustup with parents concerned about the content of a quiz about the student code of conduct. But the issue might not be fully resolved, the Pensacola News-Journal reports.

Student discipline: An increase in fights has prompted the Alachua County school district to look into revamping its discipline rules, the Gainesville Sun reports.

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Before you go ... With all the attention being paid to Hurricane Ian, perhaps you missed NASA’s latest attempt at planetary defense with the DART making impact with asteroid Dimorphos. So here’s some video.

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