With Hurricane Irma looming on the horizon, Miami-Dade and Broward counties have announced that they will close public schools on Thursday and Friday.
Florida Governor Rick Scott announced Thursday evening that all schools, state colleges and state universities would be closed through Monday.
“This is a storm that cannot and should not be ignored,” Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said at a press briefing. “We have decided to err on the side of caution.”
Tropical storms are expected to hit the Miami area as early as Friday. Carvalho said after-school activities and adult education classes after 4:05 p.m. are canceled for Wednesday but that parents should pick up their children at the normal times for after-school care programs. Only essential school district personnel will be asked to work on Thursday and Friday.
Broward schools canceled after school activities, events and classes on Wednesday, but closed fully starting Thursday morning, the district said in a statement.
Catholic schools in South Florida will also close ahead of the hurricane. The Archdiocese of Miami announced Tuesday that its schools in Miami-Dade and Broward will be closed on Thursday and Friday. The Basilica School of St. Mary Star of the Sea in Key West will be closed Wednesday through the following Monday, Sept. 11.
Miami Country Day School will be closed from Wednesday through the end of the week. Gulliver Schools, Ransom Everglades, Pine Crest Preparatory and Palmer Trinity School will be closed Thursday and Friday. All after-school activities at Gulliver are canceled for Wednesday. Ransom Everglades has canceled all school activities from Thursday through the weekend. Scheck Hillel community school canceled Wednesday afternoon activities and closed the school Thursday and Friday.
Universities have begun to cancel classes as well. The University of Miami and Florida International University canceled classes for the rest of the week starting Wednesday. Saint Thomas University canceled classes Thursday through the weekend. UM also told its students to evacuate South Florida if possible.
Miami Dade College canceled classes and special events starting Wednesday at 4 p.m and will remain closed “until further notice.” Barry University is closed on all campuses throughout the state and Caribbean starting Wednesday at 4 p.m. Broward College is closed Thursday through the weekend.
Earlier, Monroe County — which covers the Florida Keys — announced that its schools will close Wednesday and remain closed until further notice.
Monroe County Schools Superintendent Mark Porter encouraged residents to put an emergency plan in place and follow warnings and advisories from the Monroe County Emergency Management. The district also postponed its Sept. 7 school board meeting and all other scheduled meetings until further notice.
Collier County announced late Tuesday afternoon that its schools will be closed Thursday and Friday.
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