Colleges in Florida are canceling classes and other events in preparation for the arrival of Tropical Storm Idalia, which is forecast to become a major Category 3 hurricane by the time it makes landfall on the state’s Gulf Coast Wednesday.
Florida State College at Jacksonville will cancel all classes and campus activities, including online classes, today and Wednesday, with tentative plans to reopen Thursday based on weather conditions. Other colleges that have announced plans to close on Tuesday and Wednesday include College of Central Florida, Eckerd College, Florida Gateway College, Hillsborough Community College, Nova Southeastern University, New College of Florida, Pasco-Hernando State College, Ringling College of Art and Design, Saint Leo University, Stetson University, St. Petersburg College, University of North Florida, University of South Florida, and University of Tampa.
Most colleges that have closed due to the storm have also evacuated their dorms, with the New York Times reporting that over 20 counties having issued mandatory or voluntary evacuation notices. The University of South Florida closed the residence halls at its St. Petersburg campus, but those at the Tampa campus remained open as of Tuesday morning. The University of North Florida's dorms remain open, but the institution is encouraging students who are able to stay elsewhere to do so. New College also said it will keep its dorms open in the absence of an evacuation order.
Florida A&M University and Florida State University, which previously said they would close their Tallahassee main campuses on Wednesday, both moved up their closures to midday on Tuesday, with FAMU planning to remain closed until after Labor Day.
So far, the storm has not disrupted the football season; currently, FSU’s opening game against Louisiana State University is scheduled to move forward as planned in Orlando Sunday, The Tallahassee Democrat reported. A Thursday night showdown between the University of Central Florida and Kent State University will also proceed as planned, assuming the Kent State team can fly to Florida on Wednesday.
(This article was updated on Tuesday, Aug. 29 at 11:42 a.m. to reflect new information on residence hall and campus closures.)