Hurricane Irma Affecting Education

Missed School Due to Florida Hurricane Could Damage College Academics

Hurricane season is typically no joke in Florida, and while most people who live there are used to the intense storms, students from other states who attend Florida universities can be found out of their comfort zone.

Nick McIntyre is currently in his first year at University of Florida in Gainesville, but is from Fairfax Station, Virginia.

“At first, I was like ‘oh it’s just a hurricane, it won’t be too bad,’ but then it was supposed to directly hit Gainesville,” said McIntyre.

Hurricane Irma. Photo Courtesy of The Weather Channel.

In the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season (starting April 19), there have been six major hurricanes classifying as category three or higher, and a total of 10 hurricanes. Hurricane Irma was the first category five hurricane of the season, and was also the most intense hurricane from the Atlantic Ocean to hit the United States since Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005.

McIntyre planned on staying at school during the hurricane, but once Irma’s path became more clear, he evacuated from the area and went to stay at his roommate’s home in Destin, Florida.

In situations like these, safety is the first concern, but students were worried about their academics once they returned to school.

“The school did a good job with clean up and making sure that everyone was safe, but classes were pushed back,” said McIntyre. “This really hurt my education because professors were turning one lecture into two, and there was a point where I had a test in every class three days in a row and then midterms.”

Situations in which evacuation is recommended can become stressful for students who are not from the area, such as David Keller, who is currently in his second year at University of Florida, but is originally from Burke, Virginia.

“When it became a real threat, I started to worry what I was going to do to prepare for the storm since I’m not from Florida and cannot simply go home to my family,” said Keller.

Keller ended up evacuating from Gainesville, Florida to his roommate’s family’s house in Orlando Florida.

“The eventual path of the hurricane hit Orlando and Gainesville with the same force, but I felt more comfortable being in a home rather than an apartment and with a family that had been through this before,” said Keller.

While McIntyre struggled with his studies after returning to school, Keller did not find that missing classes had affected him greatly.

“My education was surprisingly not impacted because of when my tests are scheduled for this semester,” said Keller. “My classes moved all of my work back a week so I did not have a heavy work load during the storm. The biggest impact was two weeks later I had two tests and my classes had to go over and complete more work than planned originally, but it was all manageable.

While many students are from other states, Michael Hanusiak studies at University of Central Florida (UCF), but is also from Orlando, Florida.

“I was slightly nervous about the magnitude of the hurricane, but I have experienced hurricanes before so I felt a little more secure,” said Hanusiak.

Hanusiak explained that he did not feel the need to evacuate before this hurricane hit.

“Before I moved into the apartment complex, I checked the building code to make sure it was built to withstand hurricane weather (which it was),” said Hanusiak. “Since Central Florida doesn’t get as affected by the storm weather as the coast, I did not feel the need to evacuate.”

Hanusiak felt that his school’s administration handled the situation very well in order to not affect his education in a negative way.

“UCF used their main campus to help with hurricane relief, and when a few professors tried to force students to turn in assignments while school was out, UCF put out an announcement stating that no professor could make assignments due while school was off,” said Hanusiak.