Hurricane Update as of 1 pm 9/11

We have been moving at the speed of light on campus to make sure things are in place regarding Hurricane Florence. Want to give you an update on what we are doing and how you can stay informed.

On the main Parents and Families page (https://parents.wfu.edu/), I have put a Hurricane Update box with red text at the top of the page. As we email parents and families with updates, I am putting them there so you can access them easily.

We sent out a message today around noon to students, and then a message to parents and families. I appreciate your patience with us as we have tried to be very comprehensive in those communications – and some of that takes time for us to gather.

I’m an anxious mom myself, and one of the things that helps with anxiety is knowing what to expect, so we have said we are going to try and give our parents and families regular updates. We expect one to go out in the 9 pm Eastern timeframe tonight, so keep your eye out on your email (and if for some reason your internet service provider thinks we are spam, check your junk mail folder or spam – and as a last resort I will post it on the main Parents and Families page). In my communications, I will try to remember to tell you when to expect the next update.

To help you know a bit about our process of managing situations like a hurricane, we have a very, very good Crisis Management Team on campus. We drill regularly. We work well together as a team. We trust each other and our colleagues because they have expertise in their areas. And we have been meeting regularly since the forecast first showed a NC impact.

As a parent myself, I want to assure you that I have complete faith in my colleagues on the team. They have many, many years of experience at Wake (and other schools) and are very detailed. They have been looking at everything from needs for refrigeration for food (and how to keep students fed), to water supply, to cleaning gutters so water drains properly, to how to get students to local stores if they need any supplies (or to fill prescriptions, etc.), to what happens if the power goes out and the residence hall card locks don’t work. I promise you, we are on this from all angles.

I also want to assure you that so many of us (on the Crisis Management Team and the administration in general) are parents too. We get it. We think about our own kids and have them in mind as we determine our students’ needs. We act as we hope others would act for our own kids. And there is no such thing as title or privilege when it comes to doing what needs to be done – I have seen some very senior level people working alongside very junior staff in these moments. We all pitch in to make things happen. Students come first.

So while there is no magic wand that will take away your worry, I can tell you that I would feel safe if my Class of ’27 was on campus, knowing what I know. I am frankly more worried that my own house will lose power – most of the time my friends who live on Faculty Drive on campus fare better than my neighborhood does in power outages.

So what is next? I will be with Crisis Management from 3-5 pm today for another meeting. I would hope that we will have a clearer picture of what Florence looks like for campus. I promise to communicate to you as fully and promptly as I can.

Will also ask your patience on individual questions. We are trying to gather those and factor them in to future communications whenever possible because it is tough to keep up with individual responses. Right now a lot of us are wearing many hats and that’s been most efficient. Thank you for understanding that.

More as I have it.

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