Hurricane Dorian was the first named storm to impact the state of Florida so far this Hurricane season. While Gainesville and most inland Florida communities were largely spared, our coastline did have some damage and everyone’s school schedule was interrupted. More than that, our entire state was affected by the long and anxious wait (in a declared State of Emergency) for an unpredictable storm over a holiday weekend. “What Labor Day Holiday?” we all asked. As a Florida resident for over 45 years, the strength of Hurricanes today still makes me anxious, worried and concerned, especially when meteorologists adopt words such as catastrophic. You can see it in their facial expressions and hear it in their voices as they give the latest track updates.
I, like every parent, worry about my UF student. Is her apartment safe? Will she be able to handle this with her friends instead of her family? UF does a good job of alerting the students about shelters, what to do, where to go, how to stay safe and so on. And, for the parents, there is the Facebook group for each class year where information is provided, as well as emails and alerts sent out to students and parents who are signed up.
Should a Hurricane impact Gainesville, the UF staff is flexible when it comes to homework, assignments and so forth. They share with all students (and parents signed up to receive this information) places where they can get help if they need it. I am not a psychologist or a specially trained counselor. But I am a mom and I can unequivocally state that my daughters and I have dealt with unexpected traumatic experiences and have found that life does go on. Being able to have normalcy or, for us, the distraction of class, work, extracurricular activities, sports, movies, and anything other than dealing with a difficult time, goes a long way toward healing.
I have no doubt that UF will be there for your students. If your student (or you) are still not being heard, then contact UF. Check out our blog “Where the Wind Blows” for recommendations, important contacts, and items every student should have. Additional information on UF’s storm preparedness can be found below (go ahead and bookmark them in advance)
University of Florida web pages:
UF Emergency Hotline
Follow UF Alert on Twitter
Residence Halls: Tropical Weather and Other Emergency Preparedness
National Weather Service Briefing Updates