Hurricane Ian’s Arrival

After Rosh Hashanah ended, Scheck Hillel confirmed that there would be no classes on Wednesday, September 28 and Thursday, September 29, due to the trajectory of Hurricane Ian. At the beginning of the week, Ian’s path was aiming at South Florida making Miami residents feel alarmed and frightened. However, as Hurricane Ian grew closer, the hurricane started to shift towards the west of Florida on track to hit Fort Myers, Tampa, Naples. 

On September 26th, supermarkets in Tampa were already starting to empty out, as concerned residents stocked up on essentials like wood to protect their windows, canned food and water. The hurricane was projected to hit at a category 4 strength, powered by the gulf waters after passing through Cuba, leaving the whole country without power. Due to these circumstances the Governor of Florida declared a state of emergency for all 67 counties. 

In the past Scheck Hillel has flooded due to storms, forcing the school to renovate floors, resulting in the closing of school for a week. Miami Dade County closed all schools for the two days leading up to the storm. Hillel followed their protocol to ensure everyone’s safety, and was canceled as well. 

 Luckily, the school took precautions as Clara Gontovnick, Associate Director of Operations explained. Prior to the storm the staff stored any potential objects that could be hazardous away in a safe place, she clarified. Mrs. Gontovnick specified that this  included garbage cans, playground toys, traffic cones and anything that would be able to fly away and harm the school facilities. The team put this inside classrooms making sure to  disconnect equipment regarding IT; including TV panels and computers. The staff even went as far as, “Backing up all the IDF (Intermediate Distribution Frames)  data rooms with batteries” Gontovnick assured.

Furthermore, as part of their safety protocol, the janitors placed sandbags in every classroom to prevent water from flooding into the rooms. Two of the facility managers and maintenance stayed overnight on Tuesday through Wednesday verified Associate Director of Operations. Although all of these measures were taken into consideration before the storm occurred, some damages were still made to the school like the JCC gate, and few leaks in the kitchen. 

Fortunately, Scheck Hillel has strong and hardworking staff and administrators who worked tirelessly to ensure that everyone could have a safe return back to campus Friday morning.