William & Mary orders students to evacuate ahead of Florence’s arrival

Students are required to leave campus by 5 p.m. Wednesday

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William & Mary students walk in the rain during a tropic cyclone in August 2017. (WYDaily/File photo)
William & Mary students walk in the rain during a tropic cyclone in August 2017. (WYDaily/File photo)

William & Mary students are being ordered to evacuate the college campus as Hurricane Florence makes its way toward the East Coast as a Category 4 hurricane.

William & Mary President Katherine Rowe has canceled all college classes starting at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, said Sam Jones, chair of the William & Mary Emergency Management Team, in a campus-wide message.

Campus will be closed through “at least” Sunday, Jones said.

Residence halls will be closed starting at 5 p.m. Wednesday ahead of Florence, meaning students will need to be completely off campus at that time. ID access to residence halls will be deactivated during the storm, said Erin Zagurski, assistant director of University News.

Students should implement their personal evacuation plan, which should be on file in students’ Banner personal service accounts. Students in need of assistance should contact their RA or other Residence Life staff.

The college requires students to develop two emergency evacuation plans with different destinations. One location must be within driving distance of Williamsburg, and students must explain how they will reach each address.

Students are reminded to contact their family and tell them when they’re leaving campus and where they’ll be staying during the storm.

The Reves Room of the Reves Center will be open between 2 and 5 p.m. Tuesday and 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Wednesday for international students who need assistance.

The administration will provide additional information about planning resources, transportation information and campus dining schedules Tuesday afternoon.

This is the first time campus has been evacuated since Hurricane Irene in 2011.

Students must also prepare their dormitory rooms before leaving. Electronics and other important items should be removed from the floor of basement or top-floor rooms in case of leaks or flooding. Students should also remove items from their windowsills, turn their refrigerators to the coldest setting and remove perishables from the room.

Any loose objects outside should be reported to university staff or put in secure places.

All athletic events after Tuesday’s men’s soccer game will be canceled through the weekend. The weekend’s home football game against Elon University will be postponed.

Only essential university personnel should report to work after 5 p.m. Wednesday, Jones said.

Supervisors should work with employees to grant liberal leave as necessary based on personal circumstances,” Jones said.

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