11 am Hurricane Update (9/12)

Parents and families – while our scheduled communication was for 1 pm today, we wanted to add a morning communication based on new information that has come out of the morning briefing.

As you may have seen on the news, Hurricane Florence appears to be taking a turn left. This would obviously be very good news for the campus. However, we still have a very active crisis management team working on the hurricane and are staying vigilant.

In terms of some of the questions we have heard from families, we want to address those here:

Dining: there are plans to ensure dining services are available to students (both primary plans and contingency plans on how to get food to residence halls if needed). While dining options will be available, we know some students might prefer to have food in their residence hall if they do not want to go outdoors, which is why we offered shuttle service to grocery stores yesterday (with more planned today). As you might expect, some of the basic staples sold quickly, as locals (like myself) tried to stock up. If your student had any issues with getting needed supplies, they can check the POD food venues on campus, which sell grab and go grocery supplies (and are fully stocked and anticipating another delivery, as of 9:45 am). Any students who live off campus can purchase meals on campus if they wish to.

Flooding: our campus is fortunate in that it is not in a flood plain and flooding is historically very rare. In the event that there were any issues in or around campus buildings, Residence Life and Housing and Facilities staff have plans to address those. Facilities staff have been clearing drains and gutters to ensure efficient water removal.

Students who live off campus: Residence Life and Housing has plans to send information to off-campus students today regarding how we can best support them if they have issues related to the hurricane.

Suggestions for students: one reminder you might want to share with your students is that they should keep their cell phone charged in the event there is a power outage.

A number of parents and families have expressed concern with our decision last night not to cancel classes for Thursday and Friday. Watching the news coverage of the hurricane, that concern is understandable. But we want to shed some light on how that decision got made.

Our senior crisis management team has been working with FEMA and Emergency Operations teams from the state, county, and city. All decisions were made in consultation with them and the National Weather Service Hurricane tracking team, who had sent their experts to Raleigh. We were tapped in to the best information available from hurricane experts, who suggested that the likely time of impact to campus would not be on Thursday or Friday, but the weekend, so it did not look like it would affect class. The other critical piece of information was that the expert modeling suggested that the hurricane would turn away from us. Finally, the fact that FEMA is using Winston-Salem as an evacuation center for displaced coastal residents shows that the experts think this is a safe place to be.

We continue to believe that students will be safer on campus than to risk traveling during the storm. I can tell you anecdotally that I was a student during Hurricane Hugo in the fall of ‘89 and felt safe ensconced in my residence hall.

Our next scheduled update will take place around 1 p.m. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we work to do our best to prepare for Florence.

Betsy Chapman (‘92, MA ‘94)

Executive Director of Family Communications and Volunteer Management


To contact the Office of Family Engagement, please visit our contact page.

If Your Student Has a Problem

One of the best ways parents/families can help their students is to let them solve their own problems. Use the Stop, Drop, and Roll method when your student contacts you with a problem.  The flyer also lists contact information for serious concerns where family intervention might be appropriate.

Orientation 2018 slide shows

Select slide shows and handouts from Orientation sessions are available online.