Official University Updates
**Posted 9/19 at 10:55 AM ET
As we continue to work out the details regarding our intended September start, I wanted to share some good news from Sint Maarten. We have confirmed that all of our Sint Maarten-based colleagues are safe. This is a tremendous relief considering the power of Hurricane Irma and the difficult situation on the island. As they deal with rains and winds from Hurricane Maria, our thoughts and prayers continue to be with our AUC family members.
Many of you have asked how you can contribute to AUC’s relief efforts. A new AUC Assistance Fund (www.aucassistancefund.com) was launched yesterday through our parent company, Adtalem Global Education. This 501(c)(3) foundation is designed to collect financial donations from the many people and organizations who have extended offers to help. In the future, we will be distributing these funds directly to those in our community who were impacted by the storm.
Students, as a reminder, the deadline to contact the University Registrar to declare your intention for the September semester is today at 5pm ET. Thank you to those of you who have already done this. For those students who intend to join AUC in the United Kingdom, we are collecting information to support the visa process. Please access this online form on our website and provide as much information as you can to enable us to assist you.
I will continue to share information with you related to our UK plans as it becomes available.
**Posted 9/18 at 9:35 AM ET
Multiple teams have continued to work to address key matters regarding our planned relocation to the United Kingdom, including regulatory approvals, curriculum, housing, facility and IT needs, student support services, and passport and visa issues. We learn more by the hour but still have many details to work out.
The location we are exploring is in northern England, in an area served by the Manchester Airport.
Regarding passport and visa issues, we are getting closer. I know that understanding visa and travel restrictions for families is very important. We have individuals dedicated to this matter and we are working to address your questions as soon as possible.
Finally, as a reminder, the deadline for notifying AUC of your intention regarding the September semester has been extended to tomorrow, Tuesday, September 19 at 5 PM ET. Please contact Rodney Bowen, University Registrar, at email@example.com to inform us of your plans.
**Posted 9/16 at 8:45 PM ET
We are continuing to work aggressively to get answers to your questions regarding the planned continuation of the September semester in the UK. We still have many details that must be worked out, but our team is working around the clock to resolve issues and questions regarding passports, visas, spouses and families, and pets. We are committed to keeping you fully updated as we work through these details.
As a reminder, our intention is to start the September semester in the UK on September 29. More details on the location will be provided soon.
Students should continue to refer to the FAQ document provided via email for the latest information, including important contact information for issues related to financial aid, travel, luggage identification, and more.
**Posted 9/15 at 7:35 PM ET
Message from the Dean:
Today in Chicago we held a Town Hall meeting to announce our intention to temporarily re-locate AUC to the United Kingdom, with a start date of September 29 for our fall semester. There are some very important details to finalize with agencies in the UK and US regarding this relocation, but I am pleased to report that we have a plan.
As many of you know, hours after our crisis team began the process that resulted in the successful evacuation of over 700 people from our campus in Sint Maarten, another team of experts began to explore how we could continue the medical education program until we could return to country Sint Maarten. As you can imagine, setting up an international medical school with multiple governments, agencies, accreditors, housing and financial aid is a complex process.
After evaluating multiple options, we determined that the UK option was the best option to pursue. We have identified an outstanding institution in the UK that is willing to provide just the space we need, and we have already received approval from some of our regulatory agencies to operate our program in the UK. We will provide more detail on the location shortly.
Although we want each of our students to continue their education with AUC, we realize that because of this extraordinary disruption due to Hurricane Irma, each student will carefully consider how they want to approach the future. In the Town Hall meeting and in a subsequent communication, we have advised them of options, including both continuing with AUC in the September semester, or taking a break to regroup.
We don’t have an exact date when we expect to make a formal announcement with all the details on the temporary relocation to the UK. But we are working around the clock to put those details into place. We will communicate with the AUC community regularly, providing those details as they are settled.
The AUC community has demonstrated tremendous resilience during a very difficult situation. We are confident that the members of the AUC family and AUC itself, will persevere and come through this unexpected challenge stronger than before.
**Posted 9/15 at 10:45 AM ET
Message from the Dean:
Today at 1:00pm CDT, I will be leading a town hall in the Fox River Ballroom to address the continuation of your medical education. Those of you who are not in Chicago can watch a livestream of the meeting on AUC’s Facebook page. We will also send an official announcement recapping discussion points immediately following that meeting.
As we approach the weekend, there are several decisions that students, colleagues, and their families in Chicago need to make. Importantly, by 4:00 pm CDT today, we need to know your plans following this Sunday. Please stop by the information desk to tell us if you are staying at our complementary lodging in Chicago (available through Sunday, September 24) or if you will be traveling home.
As a reminder, we have offered to cover the cost of one-way tickets home from Chicago for students, their spouses, and children under 18. If you decide to travel home, that option is valid through Sunday, September 17. Those needing assistance with booking travel can find a volunteer for help.
I also encourage you to utilize the resources and services available here in Chicago. Onsite mental health support continues to be available from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm in the Q Center (room A97) and at Pheasant Run (Topaz room). We also have financial aid advisors onsite from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm today.
I look forward to addressing you and our AUC community very soon.
**Posted 9/14 at 5:30 PM ET
Message from the Dean:
Since arriving to Chicago last night, I have been overwhelmed by the spirit of our community, the dedication of our volunteers, and the gracious support and donations pouring into our temporary home, the Q Center. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
Hearing your challenges and concerns, AUC has been adapting our plans to address your most pressing needs. As I announced yesterday afternoon, we are extending temporary housing in Chicago through Sunday, September 24 and have committed to covering the cost of students’ one-way ticket home from Chicago. During last night’s town hall meeting, we expanded that offer to include students’ spouses and children under the age of 18. We hope this additional support will help as you begin to move forward.
We also heard that many of you have questions about financial aid. We have mobilized a team of financial aid counselors who are available to meet with you at both the Q Center Welcome Center and the Pheasant Run Welcome Center from 4-8pm CDT today and then again from 9am-1pm CDT tomorrow. Additionally, our financial aid office is available by phone at 732-509-9027.
Finally, I know that many of you are eagerly awaiting an update on the continuation of your medical education. I can assure you that we are vigorously proceeding with the possibility of a September semester and vetting options that meet the complex needs of our international medical school, including federal regulations, accreditation, visas, financial aid, housing, and availability. While we work through these issues, I am also aware that it is difficult to plan your lives—which is why my personal goal is to give you more information tomorrow. That will be announced via email, so please monitor your inbox for an update.
The next AUC Town Hall meeting will be held at 7:30pm CDT tonight in the Fox River Ballroom. I am very much looking forward to seeing you all there.
**Posted 9/13 at 4:00 PM ET
Today we are continuing to work on meeting our top priorities: ensuring the safety and well-being of our people and working on options for the continuation of classes.
Last night our last two charter planes arrived safely in Chicago with students, faculty and pets. At the same time we are actively ensuring the safety of our Sint Maarten colleagues by providing shelter, supplies and security, and making sure that they are cared for.
Although the Sint Maarten evacuation effort is complete, our work on priority one doesn’t end there. We are providing ongoing support to help the members of our community regroup and transition, including immediate and long term counseling services. We have also adjusted our travel and lodging plans to meet the needs of students in Chicago, including extending complementary food and housing through Sunday, September 24. We understand that some in this group would prefer to be with their families at home, so we have decided to cover the cost of students’ one-way airline ticket (or other travel arrangement) from Chicago to their home.
With the support of Adtalem, we are also in the process of mobilizing financial aid experts to Chicago to meet with students and will be setting up a hotline for students and families who are not in Chicago. In addition, AUC leaders continue to hold daily town hall meetings with students in Chicago, and I am holding regular meetings with student government leaders to understand students’ other needs and questions. The next Chicago town hall is scheduled for 7:30pm CDT tonight at the Q Center.
On priority two, an expert team continues to work aggressively to evaluate options with regards to the continuation of the medical education program. Again, details on location and timing have not yet been finalized, but we are working hard on this and expect to have more information by the end of the week. In the meantime, our faculty have loaded course content and curriculum on Blackboard for those who wish to study.
We appreciate everyone’s patience as this important work continues and we perform our due diligence in order to make the best decisions for AUC and our community.
**Posted 9/13 at 2:45 PM ET - Florida Clinical Rotations Update
We have been in touch with clinical sites throughout the state to determine plans to continue your clinical rotations. Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare, Cleveland Clinic of Florida, and the University of Florida at Jacksonville will all be open and operational tomorrow. Students at those sites can begin reporting back as early as tomorrow, pending your ability to do so. The Center for Haitian Studies in Miami, however, will remain closed through this week.
We understand that many of you evacuated the state and are just now making your way back to Florida. AUC has therefore decided that all students must be back at their sites by Monday, September 18.
Dr. Bob Hecht, Associate Clinical Dean for the US, will be working with each clinical site to ensure that students make up the educational content missed due to Hurricane Irma.
Thank you again for your patience over the past week. We are grateful that everyone is safe and look forward to getting back to our regular schedule.
**Posted 9/12 at 7:15 PM ET
Today we continued to make progress on meeting our most pressing priorities for the AUC community.
Our first and ongoing priority is the safety and well-being for all faculty, staff, and students. I am relieved to announce that our last two charter flights—one from St. Kitts and one from Puerto Rico—are due to arrive in Chicago tonight. We are ready to greet those members of our community, situate them in temporary housing, and provide them with the support they need, including counseling.
At the same time, we have been working on options for the continuation of classes. This is a complex challenge and it is in the best interest of our students to do our due diligence on the options under consideration. Location and start date have not yet been finalized, but we expect to have more information to provide later by the end of the week.
Lastly, this evening I had the opportunity to meet by conference call with student government leaders, who raised important questions and issues on behalf of their fellow students. I will be meeting with them frequently to update them on our progress, understand what our students need, and work together to support the AUC community.
**Posted 9/12 at 10:33 AM ET - Florida Clinical Rotations Update
We have been actively assessing the damage to Florida from Hurricane Irma and communicating with clinical sites regarding their status and plans. State officials have reported widespread power outages and downed trees, making transportation in the state difficult. At this time, AUC has decided to continue its suspension of Florida clinical rotations through tomorrow, Wednesday, September 13. Our Coral Gables office will also remain closed tomorrow.
Please continue to monitor your AUC email, phone, and aucmed.edu/weather for updates. Note that these cancellations do not impact clinical rotations outside of Florida. Students are encouraged to use resources like Med-U, Case Files, UpToDate, and the AUC library, as well as the curriculum guidelines from eCollege during this time.
**Posted 9/12 at 10:08 AM ET
We can confirm that all students who traveled from Sint Maarten to St. Kitts by boat arrived safely. This was a difficult journey across rough seas but we are happy to have these students on safe ground. A flight later today will bring them to Chicago. We are sad to report that one pet died at the end of the boat trip.
**Posted 9/11 at 6:05 PM ET
We made progress getting people off the island. This afternoon, our charter flight took off with nearly 100 students and faculty. We were able to use boats and another plane to take others to a safer place, as well. We are still not done, and are working to get the last of our people moved. Initiatives are underway to support island colleagues. Meanwhile, we continue to bring earlier evacuees to the mainland, unite the group and care for them. #AUCstrong
**Posted 9/11 at 5:00 PM ET
Message to students:
As you know, efforts continue to bring all members of the AUC community in Sint Maarten to safety. While this remains our first priority, we also know that many of you are eager to receive information about the continuation of classes. While AUC is actively considering its options in that regard, no details have yet been finalized. And although no date for resuming classes has been determined, we can confirm at this time that it will not occur before September 22nd.
Please continue to monitor your AUC email and the AUC website for more information as it becomes available.
**Posted 9/11 at 1:40 PM ET
We have received reports of variable internet connectivity on our campus in Sint Maarten. We don’t know how reliable internet is and how long it will be available so we encourage you to reach out to your colleagues, peers, and loved ones who are still in Sint Maarten at this time. We hope that you are able to communicate with them directly as we know that many of you have waited several days to do so.
**Posted 9/11 at 9:50 AM ET - Florida Clinical Rotations Update
As Hurricane Irma moves out of South Florida and the state, we are assessing the situation to determine the status of clinical rotations and our Coral Gables office for the remainder of this week. We continue to be closed today and tomorrow, September 11-12.
Please continue to monitor your AUC email and phone for updates. Note that these cancellations do not impact clinical rotations outside of Florida. Students are encouraged to use resources like Med-U, Case Files, UpToDate, and the AUC library, as well as the curriculum guidelines from eCollege during this time.
Our thoughts continue to be with everyone who is enduring this storm.
**Posted 9/11 at 8:20 AM ET
We are working diligently on multiple evacuation options today that include continued US Military, ferry boat, and charter air. Pushing hard on all levels local, national and international to overcome logistical challenges. About 200 remain on island. We are grateful that the first group of evacuees is now safely on the mainland and getting attention. We are fiercely committed to all of those who remain on-island and will provide updates here throughout the day. #AUCstrong
**Posted 9/10 at 9:52 PM ET
It's been a busy day with evacuation efforts continuing on Sint Maarten, with US military moving another group of AUC students and faculty. We have about 300 people still on our campus with food and water. The situation on-island is complex and changing quickly. Our teams on-island and in multiple locations are working actively with local, national and international governments and humanitarian agencies, and appreciate the continued strength and patience of all. #AUCstrong
**Posted 9/10 at 10:41 AM ET
Evacuation efforts continue today and we have 435 students and faculty now safely off the island. The US Military is back on Sint Maarten and we are actively working on other options as well to get all members of our AUC community to safety as quickly as possible. We are taking care of the pets, too. We will provide an update later today with additional details, and thank all those working hard on behalf of AUC to take care of our people. #AUCstrong
**Posted 9/9 at 6:05 PM ET
We are so pleased to report that Hurricane Jose has moved to the east and the U.S. Military has moved to evacuate more people from Sint Maarten! More than 100 students and faculty are already being flown to safety. We don't know how long this military operation will run tonight, but truly appreciate the American soldiers and pilots who are making this happen. We will continue to work around the clock to support our AUC community members on site as well as those who are transitioning after their evacuations. Thank you once again to all of our students and faculty for their reslience and teamwork.
**Posted 9/9 at 12:00 PM ET
The U.S. Military has begun one stage of its mission to assist the U.S. citizens struggling on Sint Maarten after Hurricane Irma. The situation on the AUC campus remains very serious. With the military’s instruction, a group from AUC, including American children, is being evacuated. We are in communication with federal officials about the possibility of another wave of evacuations before Hurricane Jose moves into the region, as are we in ongoing discussion about the possible delivery of additional supplies and security reinforcements. We will update you on the situation as it progresses today, and are grateful to have 50 moving toward greater safety. The situation on island remains very serious and we will not rest until all from our community are safe.
**Posted 9/8 at 8:54 PM ET
We remain in the midst of a serious situation as we deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Irma on our Sint Maarten campus. For each of you on Sint Maarten – I know you may not see this now, but please know – your help, patience, hard work, and resilience is inspirational. We continue to work on evacuation plans, which have been challenging with Hurricane Jose projected to pass 100 miles outside of Sint Maarten. We were able to replenish supplies to the campus today. Our on campus leadership team is meeting regularly with our students to provide them information.
There is obvious and growing concern about the evacuation, and I want to address those concerns. Several options are being actively pursued, and we will move forward with whichever plan falls into place first. They are different options, but each has its own challenges including, as you know, a closed airport, very difficult seas and another approaching hurricane. We are sourcing all of the equipment, resources and immigration planning necessary to move this large group to a location that is safe and secure. We are all eager to make this move, and unfortunately at this moment we do not know the precise time at which that will happen, and we do not know with certainty what the final destination will be. A number of factors will drive that decision. I ask for and thank you for your continued patience as the path forward is clarified.
We will continue to provide information as we have it. Please continue to keep those who are in Sint Maarten in your thoughts and prayers.
**Posted 9/8 at 11:53 AM ET - Florida Clinical Rotations Update
As Hurricane Irma continues on its course towards Florida, a hurricane warning has been issued coast to coast for all areas of the state south of Lake Okeechobee. As a result, all clinical rotations in the state of Florida have been suspended. Students should anticipate cancellations to potentially continue through Tuesday, September 12. Please continue to monitor your AUC email and phone for updates. Below are some resources to help you prepare.
Please note that these cancellations do not impact clinical rotations outside of Florida.
For those of you within the area of where Hurricane Irma is expected to impact, please be safe and make certain you do whatever is necessary to prepare for this storm.
**Posted 9/7 at 9:07 PM ET
Tonight we are finalizing plans to evacuate students, faculty, colleagues, and family members out of Sint Maarten. We will have details to announce very soon on a series of plans, each of which allows for different complicating factors including the closed airport, very choppy seas and the approaching Hurricane Jose. Our goal is to get our community members out of Sint Maarten as soon as it possible. We are preparing our community members to be ready to depart on very short notice.
We are tapping every resource and all manners of assistance, both public and private, to make this evacuation happen. In the meantime, we are working to replenish supplies for our Building 2 shelter, and doing our best to support each other during this crisis. The conditions on campus are not ideal by any means, but our community is demonstrating great resilience and strength through this difficult time.
Communication between the mainland US and the island is still very difficult. Over the last two days we have worked to relay news from campus and update family members on the safety and status of loved ones who are in Sint Maarten. We know some family members have been able to connect via text messages or calls, but service is not reliable. We all hope it improves with each day and that family members are cheered by hearing from those sheltering in Sint Maarten.
As we work to execute the evacuation plan, an academic team at AUC is working in parallel on a plan to continue the medical sciences program in the United States. There are many logistics to work out for this, but we are committed to enduring the current crisis and starting the September 2017 semester. We will share more information on this when it is available.
Thank you all for your prayers and encouragement.
**Posted 9/7 at 1:33 PM ET
We are continuing to communicate with our Sint Maarten campus in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. Limited cell service and no internet have made contact challenging but satellite phones have allowed us lines to communicate, get updates about students and colleagues’ safety, and coordinate relief efforts. We want to thank everyone in Sint Maarten for maintaining a positive environment.
Dozens of students who did not shelter with us on campus have made their way to our recovery headquarters in Building 2, where we are checking them in and providing updates on our efforts to evacuate as soon as possible. We are working to shore up supplies and resources to sustain our campus community.
We are also deploying security teams to surrounding neighborhoods known to house students and colleagues. They will be bringing individuals to Building 2 so we can continue to keep our community close and be able to update them together. This will take some time as the roads are nearly impassable but we hope to confirm those students and colleagues’ safety as soon as possible.
If you have been in touch with a student in Sint Maarten who is NOT on campus, please tell them to make their way there now and to bring their passport, supplies, and other important documents.
Thank you all for your kind wishes, offers to help, prayers, and patience during this situation. We will share more information on this page and via our social media channels. Please reach out to us if you have any needs, concerns or information regarding the situation in Sint Maarten.
**Posted 9/7 at 11:52AM ET
Based on the trajectory of Hurricane Irma, the National Weather Service has issued a Hurricane Warning for portions of South Florida, including Miami. In addition to area clinical rotations being cancelled today and tomorrow, students should anticipate cancellations to continue through Monday and Tuesday, September 11-12. Please plan accordingly and make sure to monitor your AUC email and phone for updates. You should also check in with your individual clinical sites to determine next steps.
Now is the time to complete your emergency plan and be ready for the impending hurricane. Please note Friday will be too late to begin preparations as conditions are expected to deteriorate across South Florida with the most severe weather occurring Saturday evening into Sunday morning. Below are some resources to help you prepare:
South Florida Counties: Hurricane Resources
You may contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call Alex Carrasco, Senior Director of Business Operations, at 786-546-1210 for any urgent issues. This email address will be monitored through the next several days.
Please note that these cancellations do not impact clinical rotations outside of South Florida.
For those of you within the area of where Hurricane Irma is expected to impact, please be safe and make certain you do whatever is necessary to prepare for this storm. Remember, let’s prepare for the worst, and hope for the best.
**Posted 9/6 at 11:30PM ET
We are in the midst of a serious situation as we deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Irma on our Sint Maarten campus. Our team is working hard to address the immediate and longer-term needs of our students, faculty, and colleagues who are in Sint Maarten. Those who sheltered on campus have all reported in safe, but our campus buildings suffered some damage, the island airport is not functional, and the island of Sint Maarten suffered substantial damage. We are able to communicate with our leaders in Sint Maarten via satellite phones and sporadically on cell phones. We are also aware of another developing storm in the Atlantic – Hurricane Jose - and we are monitoring that system closely.
In the immediate future, we are working on two goals: get supplies into Sint Maarten and get our people out of Sint Maarten. We have food and water in our shelter to see us through the next 3 days and are making arrangements for additional resources. Simultaneously, we are working to relocate our students as soon as the weather will allow. Right now, the water conditions are making it difficult for boats to get to the island, but we are securing boat transportation to take our students to St. Kitts as soon as possible, and we are lining up charter planes to fly our group to the mainland U.S., where we will then focus on returning to our academic programming. We will share those details with the AUC community as soon as we can.
Right now, we are keeping students in Building 2 and meeting with them regularly as a group to provide updates. As a reminder, please encourage anyone who sheltered the storm off campus to report in to Building 2.
Thank you all for your kind wishes, offers to help, prayers, and patience during this situation. We will share more information via our social media channels and website periodically. Please reach out to us at email@example.com if you have any needs, concerns or information regarding the situation in Sint Maarten.
**Posted 9/6 at 6:15PM ET
As many of you are aware, Hurricane Irma made landfall in Sint Maarten early this morning. This was a catastrophic weather event that caused significant damage to many communities in Sint Maarten. We are just now beginning to see the extent of Irma’s impact and have a long road ahead to recovery.
First and foremost, we have confirmed that all students who took shelter in Building 2 and on-campus housing are safe and accounted for with no major injuries reported. While areas of AUC’s campus were damaged, these two buildings held up during the storm. We sheltered approximately 500 students, loved ones, colleagues, and island citizens.
We are now deploying security personnel to reach AUC students and colleagues who sheltered off campus. We understand that nearby roads are still impassable and are making every effort to reach individuals quickly and safely. We will continue to provide you with regular updates at aucmed.edu/weather as well as our Facebook, Twitter and crisis hotline (866-372-2282). If you are in contact with a student or colleague from AUC, please tell them to report to Building 2 on campus to confirm their safety. We will be holding a campus briefing at 8:30PM and will have additional updates to share following that meeting.
At the same time, we are monitoring Irma’s track toward the United States and the development of another weather system in the Atlantic, Jose. AUC has canceled all Thursday, September 7th and Friday, September 8th rotations for clinical students in South Florida. And our parent company, Adtalem Global Education, is supporting us in coordinating relief efforts in Sint Maarten. There are resources and personnel committed toward ensuring the future safety of our students. More details surrounding those plans with be forthcoming.
Finally, I want to acknowledge the outpouring of support that this community has received from outside Sint Maarten as well as the tremendous support that our campus community has shown to one another during this difficult time. We know that many of you want to help your peers—the best way to do that now is to check in with someone, offer emotional support, and continue to spread our updates.
Update on AUC Events/Activities:
Medical sciences classes CANCELED until otherwise communicated
White Coat Ceremony and related events POSTPONED
South Florida Clinical rotations CANCELED for Thursday, September 7th and Friday, September 8th
AWOL registration date for Sint Maarten CANCELED; we will provide students with adequate advanced notice as soon as this date has been determined
ACCM site visit to Sint Maarten campus POSTPONED
Campus (Building 2) remains OPEN as a shelter
**Posted 9/6 at 10:35 AM ET
We have made contact with our Sint Maarten campus. All students who sheltered in Building 2 and the on-campus forms have been confirmed safe and accounted for. Inclement weather continues and we will more more information available as soon as possible.
**Posted 9/6 at 10:20 AM ET
The eye of Hurricane Irma passed through Sint Maarten earlier this morning and the island is now experiencing the backend of the storm. We anticipate another 3 to 6 hours of impact before the storm clears.
Our Florida office was in contact with campus until early this morning. Nearly 400 community members are sheltering with us and they were in good spirits as Irma approached. AUC colleagues were checking in with everyone, providing support, and helping our community weather the storm together. Building 2, where we setup shelter, and the on-campus dorms were engineered and outfitted to sustain a category 5 hurricane.
As expected, we lost communication with Building 2 at about 5:45 AM and then from the on-campus dorms at about 7:30 AM. Once the hurricane has passed and skies have cleared, we expect to be able to be in contact with campus via satellite phone and get more information.
Irma is now expected to track towards South Florida and we have made the decision to cancel all scheduled classes, rotations, and university events for Thursday and Friday, September 7-8 for impacted clinical students in that area.
**Posted 9/5 at 7:45 PM ET
Hurricane Irma is tracking to be close to, if not over, Sint Maarten within the next 12 hours. We are preparing for 50-70 mph winds beginning around 11:00 PM tonight and 100-150 mph between 6:00 AM and 12:00 PM tomorrow morning. Wind gusts and rainfall (possibly totaling up to 12 inches) will continue until about 3:00 PM tomorrow afternoon.
Students: By now, you should be place at your shelter. If you are planning to shelter in Building 2 (new building) on campus, do so now. Weather will continue to deteriorate and roads will be impassable very soon. AUC has imposed a campus curfew of 11:00 PM meaning under no circumstances should you be outside of Building 2 or on-campus housing after that time. If weather worsens prior to then, be smart and head inside accordingly.
We have already signed in more than 300 students, colleagues and their loved ones, and we are conducting follow-up check-ins right now. If you have not done so, please take a few moments to alert your families and loved ones that you are safe. We expect that Sint Maarten will lose power as the storm edges closer so letting your families know that you are safe now, before power goes out, will ease their minds. Our colleagues in the US will be monitoring AUC's Facebook and Twitter accounts and responding to inquiries. Inquiries may also be sent via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A campus briefing will be held at 8:30 PM in the Building 2 Auditorium. Everyone in Building 2 should plan to attend. Those in the on-campus dorms will be able to participate via WebEx.
We understand that a storm of this magnitude can feel overwhelming. Please know that Building 2 was engineered to withstand a category 5 hurricane. The windows are outfitted with laminated glass that is designed to withstand direct impacts during severe weather. Similarly, the on campus dorms were constructed with reinforced concrete and designed to withstand hurricane force winds.
Finally, Dr. Shannon Nanna, Assistant Professor of Behavioral Sciences and clinical psychologist, is on campus and available to speak with students needing support. Housing Supervisor Melissa Harrison-Grinuva is in close contact with students who are sheltering there in the dorms.
**Posted 9/5 at 10:00 AM ET
Irma has strengthened to a category 5 hurricane with sustained winds in the 70-80 mph range with maximum wind gusts at 175 mph. The National Hurricane Center predicts the strongest part of the storm will impact Sint Maarten late this evening, between midnight tonight and 8:00 AM tomorrow morning. We could see rainfall in the 8-12 inch range, which will result in flooding and impassable roads.
AUC strongly advises students and their families to make their way to campus for shelter. Building 2 was designed to sustain a category 5 hurricane and is a safe place for you to shelter. We are well-stocked and have supplies in place to ride out the storm. Please do not delay this decision as significant rainfall will deteriorate driving conditions later this afternoon.
If you live in the Beacon Hill area, AUC will begin pick-ups at 10 AM this morning. Call the security shuttle at 721-588-4018 or 721-545-0619 to arrange for transport.
Remember to check our hurricane shelter preparedness list for tips on what to bring.
Finally, please take a few moments to alert your families and loved ones of your plans. Let them know where you will be sheltering and check in with them periodically so they know you are safe. AUC has setup a hurricane hotline at 305-569-8844 where your families can get the latest information about Irma and leave a message. We will also be posting regular updates at www.aucmed.edu/weather and on our Facebook and Twitter pages.
AUC will continue to update you regularly as Hurricane Irma approaches. Stay safe.
**Posted 9/4 at 7:10 PM ET
The National Hurricane Center has upgraded Irma to a Category 4 hurricane. The latest models predict tropical storm like weather beginning Tuesday afternoon with the most severe weather occurring between midnight Tuesday and 8:00 AM Wednesday morning. This will bring the possibility for wind gusts exceeding 100 mph and around 8 inches of rainfall. Irma is a fast moving storm so rainfall is expected to subside by 10:00 or 11:00 AM Wednesday morning.
While classes are canceled, AUC will be OPEN this week and serving as a shelter for all campus community members. We strongly encourage those who are in Sint Maarten to use our facilities during the storm, especially given the increased rainfall estimates.
Students and colleagues can bring labeled supplies to campus tonight until 9:00 PM. Please check-in at the Welcome Center and a security officer will allow you to take your belongings to Building 2. AUC will reopen tomorrow morning at 9:00 AM, at which time community members can proceed to the Building 2 Auditorium. If possible, try to fit your food and supplies into one regular-sized suitcase.
AUC will continue to update you regularly as Hurricane Irma approaches. Please stay safe.
**Posted 9/4/2017 at 12:30 PM ET
An official hurricane warning has been issued for Sint Maarten and portions of the Leeward islands. The National Hurricane Center’s latest predictions place Sint Maarten in Hurricane Irma’s path with weather deteriorating as early as tomorrow morning (Tuesday, September 5). The strongest part of the storm will impact us late Tuesday evening and overnight into Wednesday morning. During this time, there is the potential for 80-100 mph wind gusts and 4 to 8 inches of rainfall.
As anticipated, Irma is developing into a serious weather system and will likely strengthen to a category 4 hurricane by the time it reaches Sint Maarten. We cannot stress enough the importance of taking precautions now to prepare for impact. Should the storm hit Sint Maarten directly, we can expect to see localized flooding and downed trees and power lines that will make it difficult to leave your home for several days.
AUC is encouraging all campus community members to seek shelter on campus, where facilities are prepared and well-stocked with supplies. Plan to arrive by mid-day tomorrow and bring bedding and supplies that can last you up to two days (e.g., toiletries, water, non-perishable food, medications, and important documents). If you plan on sheltering animals on campus, please bring crates. AUC has arranged for shuttles to take campus members to Cost U Less and Le Grand Marche Bush Road today from 2-5pm. Meet in the Rotunda at 1:50pm if you plan to join.
If you are staying in Sint Maarten and live in the following areas, we strongly advise sheltering on campus. Low-lying coastal neighborhoods like these are vulnerable and known to flood: Beacon Hill, Simpson Bay, Pelican, Philipsburg (along the boardwalk) and Nettle Bay.
If you are not sheltering on campus, please check-in on campus as soon as possible once the storm is over and it is safe to navigate around the island. Importantly, DO NOT go near the water as Hurricane Irma approaches. Storm surges and strong rip currents make these areas extremely dangerous. Do not put your safety at risk.
**Posted 9/3/2017 at 4:10 PM ET
We have been closely monitoring Hurricane Irma and its potential impact over the next several days. As of 3pm ET today, Irma is tracking closer to Sint Maarten with the potential for significant rainfall and wind gusts from Tuesday evening (3AM) into Wednesday afternoon (3PM). While many variables could change Irma’s path, AUC is taking these predictions very seriously, especially knowing that many students will be traveling back to Sint Maarten this week. The university has therefore decided to cancel all classes and mandatory lectures between Tuesday, September 5 and Friday, September 8. Classes and campus operations will resume on Monday, September 11 unless otherwise communicated.
9/3: Hurricane preparedness presentation (5pm in the auditorium): ON
9/4: Registration and orientation: ON for students who decide to remain on the island
9/5 - 9/8: classes and mandatory lectures: CANCELED; lectures and class materials will be posted on Echo 360
9/6: Welcome mixer: CANCELED
9/8: Tastes and Impressions pre-White Coat event for 1st semesters: Tentatively ON
9/9: White Coat Ceremony and Reception: Tentatively ON
9/11: Deadline for AWOL registration (4pm): ON; all late registration fees will be waived
What to do if you are currently in Sint Maarten:
AUC’s campus will remain open this week and accessible to all campus community members. In the event of severe weather, AUC will serve as a shelter for the community.
Keep in mind that AUC is designed to handle significant weather related events, including heavy rainfall and category 4 and 5 hurricane force winds.
Begin preparing yourself and your home for adverse weather now. Check our list of appropriate emergency items.
If you have not done so already, remember to update your emergency contact information to receive all future SIREN alerts.
What to do if you are traveling back to Sint Maarten:
Students and faculty who are returning to Sint Maarten this week are advised to adjust their flight plans to avoid travel during Hurricane Irma. Classes will resume on Monday, September 11, 2017 unless otherwise communicated. Airlines generally waive change fees in the event of a pending hurricane. Be sure to speak with an airline representative to avoid extra charges.
If you have not done so already, please update your flight information (flight number and arrival date and time) in our emergency contact information form. This will help us to keep track of all students over the next week.
Please notify Dr. Kimberly Kirkland, Associate Dean of Student Affairs, at email@example.com of a late registration. The deadline for AWOL registration is Monday, September 11th by 4pm. As noted above, all late fees will be waived.
**Posted 9/3/2017 at 11:20 AM ET
Hurricane Irma has strengthened overnight and is tracking further southwest with the potential to come closer to the Lesser Antilles and Sint Maarten. The administration is meeting this morning and will be releasing a definitive decision about this week’s campus operations later today. Please monitor your email for an official announcement.
We are encouraging all campus members who are currently in Sint Maarten to attend the Office of Safety and Security’s hurricane preparedness presentation today at 5pm in the Auditorium.
**Posted 9/2/2017 at 6:00 PM ET
Following this morning’s advisory, there have been no major changes regarding Hurricane Irma’s path. This system remains a small but powerful storm with the potential to bring severe wind and rainfall beginning Tuesday evening and into Wednesday. If Irma continues on its projected path, the core will stay just north of Sint Maarten. We will continue to monitor Irma’s development and will provide another update tomorrow morning.
AUC’s Office of Safety and Security will host a hurricane preparedness presentation tomorrow, Sunday, September 3 at 5pm in the Main Auditorium. This presentation is open to the entire campus community and will provide hurricane preparedness tips as well as AUC’s emergency operations plan. We encourage all available campus members to attend.
**Posted 9/2/2017 at 11:20 AM ET
The latest projections from the National Hurricane Center have Irma, a category 3 hurricane, trending northeast of Sint Maarten with sustained winds of 110 mph. If Irma follows this path, it will not pose a direct threat to AUC and Sint Maarten. However, this is a major weather system and we are preparing for all possibilities. Irma will likely result in heavy rains and winds by the middle of next week. AUC will continue to monitor the hurricane’s progress and provide daily updates to the campus community regarding any changes to Irma’s path and campus operations.
**Posted 9/1/2017 at 6:40 PM ET
With the upcoming semester about to start, we understand that there are returning students planning to fly into Sint Maarten over the next few days. For those who have chosen to delay or reschedule their flights, please read the following:
Returning students must register before the AWOL deadline of Monday, September 11 by 4pm. AUC will consider late registrations on a case-by-case basis; however, students must provide notice prior to the AWOL deadline to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Late registration fees will be waived pending the student has followed the above protocol.
Should classes or mandatory sessions be cancelled, AUC will upload Echo 360 lectures and provide make-up lectures.
As a reminder, AUC plans to remain open next week. We will be in frequent communication as we learn more about Hurricane Irma’s path and possible weather impact. Please check your email throughout the weekend for updates.
**Posted 9/1/2017 at 1:19 PM ET
AUC has been closely monitoring Irma, a category 3 hurricane that has been intensifying over the eastern Atlantic Ocean. The National Hurricane Center has projected several possible paths that the storm can take next week and we are carefully watching for any indication that it will head towards Sint Maarten. At this point, it is still too early to determine where it will go.
As of now, AUC plans to remain open and campus operations are scheduled to go on as usual. We will continue to watch this system closely and keep you informed of any changes regarding Irma’s path. Students can expect to receive updates throughout the weekend. We also encourage students to plan ahead and read the National Hurricane Center’s preparedness tips at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/.
**Posted: 8/31/2017 at 12:53 PM ET
We are closely monitoring Irma, a category 2 hurricane that has been strengthening over the eastern Atlantic Ocean. Irma’s path is still highly unpredictable but the National Hurricane Center cautions a possible track towards Sint Maarten and the Windward islands with the potential for landfall on Wednesday (9/6) or Thursday (9/7) of next week.
AUC will be watching the hurricane’s development and providing information as we know more. We are taking precautionary steps now to ensure the campus is prepared for any adverse weather.
Class and Clinical Rotations Status
Medical sciences classes have been canceled until further notice. Florida clinical rotations have been suspended through Wednesday, September 13.
With students arriving to Sint Maarten for the start of the September 2017 semester, AUC requests that all students update their emergency contact information. This will ensure that we can reach you with time-sensitive alerts and advisories and monitor where students are during any inclement weather.
Hurricane Preparedness and Monitoring Resources: