Hurricane Matthew will affect our campus over the next few days. For some of our students and their families, a hurricane may be a new experience, so here are a few frequently asked questions.
- Are my classes cancelled?
All classes, activities, and events from 3:00 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, including Homecoming & Family Weekend, have been cancelled.
- What about Homecoming & Family Weekend?
Homecoming & Family Weekend has been cancelled. We do not yet have clear plans to reschedule the events associated with HCFW, but, when we have that information, we will let the JU community know.
- What weather patterns can I expect?
Over the next few days, we can expect heavy rains, high winds, and dangerous tides across northeast Florida. There is a possibility of sustained tropical storm force winds and a slight possibility of hurricane force winds. Localized flooding due to heavy rain is very possible, particularly in low-lying areas. With any tropical system, there is a risk of F1 and F2 tornadoes. These are tall but confined, fast-moving funnels easily hidden in heavy rain. It is not unusual for intermittent periods of sunshine to occur, especially in the earliest and latest stages of the storm, but this is no indication that the danger of a tornado threat has passed.
- Can I go outside?
Bands of severe weather, wind gusts, and the potential for tornadoes can pose great risks very quickly. For this reason, stay indoors as much as possible. Arborists and maintenance staff have been working diligently all summer to make our campus ‘hurricane ready.’ Due to the hilly landscape of our campus, when we are preparing for a storm, you may see sandbags placed in key places around campus to control rainwater in lower-lying areas.
- How do I know if a tornado threat is imminent?
Any tropical cyclone does carry with it a risk of tornadoes. Alert notifications will be sent immediately via text and email. Students are encouraged to turn the volume up on their cell phones and turn off any ‘Do Not Disturb’ features they may have in place.
- After the storm passes, can I go to the beach?
As the storm moves through our area, varying weather patterns may not necessarily be an indication that all danger has passed. Should conditions improve and beaches re-open, students are strongly discouraged from getting in the water. Despite the presence or non-presence of lifeguards at area beaches, the danger of rip currents will make swimming a great risk even for experienced swimmers. Currently, the beaches have been closed by the City of Jacksonville.
Staying On Campus & Evacuations
- Should I prepare for evacuation?
Students living in Jacksonville Beach have been ordered to evacuate, and evacuations have been recommended for residents of zones A and B of the city of Jacksonville. We have been in communication with those students to help them make arrangements.
Students living on campus at Jacksonville University are encouraged to stay on campus. JU is equipped with back-up generators, additional water supply, and stores of food to ensure the continuation of normal residence hall and dining activity. The University is not in an evacuation zone.
That said, students may choose to leave. If they choose to leave campus, they do need to follow check-out procedures at their respective residence halls so that we have current contact information.
- Am I stuck in my residence hall, or can I drive home for the weekend?
The safest place for students is inside any of our residence halls. Driving conditions will be dangerous as intermittent rains and high winds pass through this area, and students living on campus are encouraged to stay put. RAs are available to answer any questions and deal with any specific needs students may have through the weekend, including first aid and meals in the residence halls.
What about power outages?
JU is equipped with back-up generators, additional water supply, and stores of food to ensure the continuation of normal residence hall and dining activity. All meals will be served out of Oak and Botts Hall to consolidate food service and to eliminate the need for students to move about campus during the storm. Even after the all-clear has been given, students moving through campus are encouraged to exercise great caution, avoid standing water, and carrying a flashlight after dark. RAs will be on hand to assist with any specific needs.
- What about my car or bike?
You may store your bike in your room, but you may not store them in the hallways.
If you're staying on campus, please move your car to the Oak Hall parking garage (Lot K), the high ground of River Road (near Oak and Botts), or, if necessary, the Gooding parking lot.
- Do I need to inform anyone if I have decided to leave campus?
It is very important that students stay in touch with their families and JU residential life staff. Before leaving a residence hall for the weekend, check out of your residence hall at the front desk or in the main office. Also, be sure to provide emergency contact information and details about your whereabouts to your RA. While you are away, JU can respond to inquiries from parents and faculty who may be trying to reach their students.
- I can’t get a hold of my student. How can I reach them?
Please contact Campus Security at (904) 256-7585, who will work with our residential staff to get a message to your student.
- I want my student to leave. Can they evacuate to another location?
Students are permitted to voluntarily evacuate campus. Please note that the campus facilities are extremely safe and have food as well as backup power and water. If your student is leaving campus, they must check out at the Oak Hall front desk, or if they have already left, have them contact their RA to let them know. Remember - your student should have a clear destination in mind as road conditions could be more hazardous than those presented by staying put.
If you haven't reviewed the Information for Students on our Emergency Management page, please take some time to do that today.
For additional logistics about relocations happening on campus, refer to these documents, which were emailed to residents of the affected residence halls:
Remember to fully charge your cell phone now in case of a power outage, and turn up the volume so you hear any important alerts.
Stay safe, Dolphins, and keep checking your email, text messages, social media, and the www.ju.edu/weather website for updates.