Post-Irma Update #5: A great day of real progress

Hurricane Irma 2017

Dear FIU family,

Today has crystallized the complexity of recovery for our FIU and the community. We have had a great day of real progress thanks to many selfless people who are working long hours in order to help others and get FIU operating normally.

Recovery and cleanup work is going well, and we expect to resume regular operations on Monday, September 18. Please stay alert for a definitive announcement on when classes will begin.

Most FIU facilities are accessible and have power. Faculty and staff are able to report to work beginning at noon on Thursday to ensure that their specific areas are ready so that the university is fully operational on Monday. Some areas need to be fully staffed Thursday afternoon and Friday, while others may not need to bring in all employees.

Please contact your supervisor to discuss the needs of your individual department and your particular circumstances. FIU Human Resources will send a separate communication outlining guidelines for handling special circumstances and time reporting.

Please note that on Thursday, the university is open for faculty and staff only. Classes are still canceled until further notice.

Once you arrive on campus, please report any storm damage, including water intrusion, to FIU Facilities Management right away at 305-348-4600.

The IT help desk will be available to assist with computer issues. Please call 305-348-2284.

Green Library is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. through the weekend. The library has limited services but electricity, Wi-Fi and some computers are available.

The Student Health Center, the on-campus pharmacy and Miami Children’s Hospital Ambulatory Care Center located at MMC will open on Friday at 9 a.m.

Please use extreme caution when driving to campus as there still is debris on the roads and many traffic lights are not yet working.

Bayview is not yet able to receive residents. Please look for an announcement on this soon. While BBC is open to faculty and staff, please be mindful that there is a boil water advisory for the area.

Call center

A call center is now operational from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. to answer questions related to hurricane recovery and campus operations.

The call center number is 305-348-HELP (4357). You can also call this number outside of the call center hours for recorded updates regarding university operations.

Places to eat

Some of the food vendors on campus are open during limited hours. For information on what is open, please consult https://shop.fiu.edu/.

Academic calendar

The disruption caused by Hurricane Irma resulted in more than a week of class cancellations. In collaboration with the Faculty Senate, United Faculty of Florida and the Student Government Association, we have added a week to the end of the semester to help make up for lost classroom time. We recommend that faculty members update their syllabus so that this coming week is a makeup week. New official academic calendars will be published next week.

Finals week will be Dec. 11 to 16. Commencement ceremonies will now take place starting on Sunday, Dec. 17, through Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2017. We apologize for any inconveniences this schedule change may cause some families.

Evacuees

Monroe County special needs evacuees are being housed in PG6. General population evacuees have been relocated to the Red Cross shelter at Tamiami Park’s Fuchs Pavilion.

First responders

The FIU Ocean Bank Convocation Center is housing approximately 75 public health and nursing personnel who are here to support the special needs evacuees.

A helping hand

As we work to get the university up and running again, FIU has become a hub of relief planning activity. In the last two days, we have hosted several elected officials including Congressman Carlos Curbelo, Florida Senator and minority leader Oscar Braynon II, Florida House of Representatives Speaker Pro Tempore Jeanette Nuñez and State Representative Jose Felix Diaz.

Today U.S. Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta visited with the special needs Monroe County evacuees who are being sheltered in PG6.

We appreciate that each of them has taken an interest in what we are doing at FIU for the community and vowed to help find the resources our community needs to get back on its feet. They also had opportunities to meet some of the selfless people who have stepped forward to take responsibility for making things better for others.

There are many unsung heroes in our FIU family as well. Assistant Vice President for Parking and Transportation Thomas Hartley is one of them. Yesterday he stepped forward to coordinate an effort to give Monroe County evacuees an opportunity to take showers at FIU’s Riccardo Silva Stadium locker rooms. For people who have been displaced and in many cases do not know if they have a home to return to, being able to take a shower for the first time in five days was a small but important morale booster.

Others have worked behind the scenes to feed the evacuees and volunteers, maintain clean and sanitary spaces and get our facilities ready for next week.

FIU-FAST

We are pleased to report that the FIU-FAST team continues to make a life-saving difference in our own community. The team of doctors, nurses and other medical personnel deployed to augment the capabilities of West Kendall Baptist Hospital and Jackson South.

Music

Our music students continue to come together to lift the spirits of Monroe County evacuees. Today the Amernet String Quartet performed for special needs evacuees. On Thursday, a group is scheduled to perform children’s songs at the general population shelter, which moved to Tamiami Park, adjacent to MMC.

Aramark

Our food vendor Aramark donated 1,000 pounds of fruit and 1,500 bottles of juice to the Monroe County evacuees.

Donations

We know many of you are eager to donate and volunteer your time to help our neighbors who have been severely impacted by the hurricane. Please note that FIU is not a drop-off site for donations. Here are some ways you can help:

Time

The American Red Cross is looking for help. There is a particular need for bilingual (Spanish/English or Creole/English) volunteers in the Greater Miami/Keys area, LaBelle-Clewiston, as well as in and around Naples and Fort Myers. There is some need, as well, in Tampa/ St. Pete and Jacksonville.

There are two steps to join as a volunteer:

First, you will need to sign up officially as a Red Cross volunteer. You can do this online at this link: http://www.redcross.org/hurricane-irma-volunteer-application. You will be asked to fill out contact information and a couple of release forms—including one for a criminal background check.

Second, we invite you to click on this link http://bit.ly/2xipr8d and provide information about your preferred part of Florida to volunteer, and the type of work you would like to support. There is a variety of opportunities to choose from, including in shelters, distributing goods and food, and enrolling affected persons in financial assistance.

Money

Please remember that cash donations are always best. Financial help is critically needed and provides assistance to the most people in the fastest and most efficient manner. The Florida Disaster Fund has been activated and is approved by the State of Florida. It is administered by the Volunteer Florida Foundation.

The American Red Cross and Salvation Army are both widely recognizable relief organizations and welcome support. Contributions can be made specifically for Hurricane Irma relief through each organization’s website:

Red Cross Hurricane Irma Donations

Salvation Army Hurricane Irma Donation

Supplies

Goodwill Industries is partnering with the Red Cross to accept, manage, sort and make goods available where needed. In addition to being a processing center, Goodwill Industries has also developed its own program focused on people who lost possessions due to storm damage or flooding, or who remain without power and need dry clothing to wear as well as housewares.

While Goodwill Industries can accept almost anything, the current focus is on clothing, shoes, towels, linens and household goods. No perishable food, please. Goodwill Industries prefers, where possible, that all packaging be shrink-wrapped and palletized.

Official communication

Please remember that official information about FIU is being communicated through email, FIU’s official social media accounts (Facebook and Twitter), on the university’s news site and through local media. You may also call 305-348-HELP (4357) for updates.

Please continue to pay attention to these updates. Stay safe.

Sincerely,

Mark B. Rosenberg

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