On Sunday, September 10, 2017, one of the biggest hurricanes in history slammed into the Florida Keys. Hurricane Irma’s projected path and strength prompted the largest evacuation of Florida in history. Irma first came on my radar (pun intended) the weekend before it hit. If there is a positive side to hurricanes, it is the amount of time we have to prepare for their arrival. Meteorologists began taking notice of her around the first of the month. By Monday, six days before landfall, we knew Irma was one we would need to take seriously. Homes and businesses would need to be shuttered, schools closed, and grocery and hardware stores stripped of inventory.
I serve as the athletic director and a member of the school leadership team at Calvary Christian Academy (CCA) in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. (CCA serves the families of over 1,800 children from infancy through high school.) The forecasts over the weekend prompted a leadership team meeting on Monday afternoon, the week before Irma hit. Early on, Hurricane Irma was projected to scrape the east coast and make a direct hit on our community.
The decision as to when to cancel school in the face of such an event can be complicated. As an institution that serves students, faculty, and staff, we desire to provide childcare for families as they prepare their homes and businesses while also providing enough time for employees to protect their property. With conditions expected to deteriorate mid-day on the following Saturday, CCA elected to close on Thursday and Friday.
With school cancellations announced, the academic rigor tends to trail off in light of the potentially life-changing event on the horizon. Though academics are winding down, school closings send an athletic department into a whirlwind of activity. Calvary Christian ended up canceling seven days of school.
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