Fall 2021 Hurricane Management Update


9 August 2021

Dear AMU Community,

The University has been evaluating and refining its hurricane management.  While the AMU campus is hardened to the extent that structural damage to the buildings themselves is not a concern, a critical issue is loss of electrical power for a considerable length of time. AMU has some electric power generation capability but not enough to keep the campus running normally, in particular the HVAC system. Even a 12-24 hour loss of electrical power to the AMU campus could become a major challenge for maintaining comfortable living conditions in most of the buildings.  

Therefore, we have determined to move away from describing ourselves as a “shelter in place” facility for the purposes of significant hurricane storms. The AMU protocol for approaching storms, when they appear to reach a level of strength at which a power outage is likely, is to wait, watch, and then–no less than 72 hours before the expected arrival of a storm–declare whether there will be an evacuation declaration. In the case of an evacuation, everyone who can leave campus and seek shelter, MUST. Anyone who simply has no place to go (such as international students) can apply for permission to remain on-campus through the storm. The purpose of the 72-hour notification is to allow for an informed judgment to be made about the likely path of the storm without waiting so long that evacuation becomes impossible. 

In choosing to remain on campus during an evacuation order, those given permission should understand:

1) While their physical safety may not be at huge risk, their comfort is not certain.

2) They will not be allowed to continue residing in their dorm rooms but will be moved to a central location.

3) By remaining on campus, they agree to volunteer their labor as part of the work teams preparing for and cleaning up after any storm occurrence.

Of course, there is the real possibility that an evacuation declaration will be issued and then the storm change direction or diminish in size and strength. The University recognizes this possibility—in fact, has experienced it in the past—but nonetheless will always choose “the safe path” when it comes to making these decisions.  

In the event inclement weather poses a real or potential safety threat to the University community, class instruction will be moved to the online modality and continued without interruption. The annual academic calendar will continue to be followed and no instructional time will be lost. Students and faculty will use the Canvas platform, MS Teams, and other online learning resources. If a power outage is anticipated, faculty should distribute instructions, assignments, and projects, so that students can continue to follow the syllabus during the interruption. 

Most AMU campus buildings will be closed and locked in the event of an evacuation declaration.  

At the point of “campus lockdown,” faculty and staff are not allowed to “weather the storm” in their offices or come and go from campus buildings. Students are not allowed to remain in their dormitory rooms and staff housed on campus will also not be allowed to remain in their rooms. Anyone remaining on campus will be moved to a central location and locked out of their dorms or offices.  Undergraduate students will not be allowed to remain in Middlebrooke and must evacuate.  

Staff and graduate students at Middlebrooke are encouraged to evacuate, but if they choose to remain, should understand they do so at their own risk.    

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we navigate these potential storm occurrences. 

The Emergency Management Team 

Fall 2021 COVID-19 Update


5 August 2021

On June 16, 2021, Ave Maria University announced the following COVID-19 protocols for returning to campus for the fall semester.

  • Students will NOT be required to have a test or vaccination for COVID-19 in order to attend AMU in the fall.
  • This also extends to our faculty and staff. We are not requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for anyone to work at AMU. In fact, Florida Governor Ron Desantis signed an Executive Order in April (2021) prohibiting businesses from requiring such passports.
  • Unlike last year, there will be no testing protocols before students enter the dorms. Athletes are scheduled to arrive on August 7, new students on August 19, and returning students on August 21.
  • If a student has a vulnerable health condition and a mask is necessary, they are certainly welcome to wear one, but masks will not be required in any of our classrooms or social settings.
  • All classroom settings will return to their original locations. If you recall, in a conscious effort to help thwart the potential spread of COVID-19, we moved some classes to larger, or even outdoor settings.
  • Hand sanitizing stations will remain simply to help minimize the risk of a future outbreak of COVID-19 or Influenza. It’s also good hygiene. 
  • And finally, AMU reserves the right to return to the previous Health Safety Plan should an outbreak occur. 

Since that communication, the number of cases in the state of Florida and the United States as a whole has taken a significant uptick. As we continue to monitor the situation, the following measures have been adopted to ensure the safety of the entire AMU community. Cooperation with these measures is greatly encouraged and appreciated.

Pre-Arrival

  • If a student is sick, displays symptoms of COVID-19, or has tested positive prior to arriving on campus, please stay home until
    • at least 10 days since symptoms first appeared
    • at least 24 hours with no fever without fever-reducing medication 
  • Students arriving late due to illness should contact the Office of Residence Life at covid.management@avemaria.edu

On Campus

  • Students in need of a health evaluation can seek medical advice from any local doctor’s office or clinic. Currently, Lee County is offering FREE 24-hour telehealth.

Students can do pre-COVID-19 screening through this service to determine if testing or other care is needed.

  • Students, faculty, or staff displaying symptoms of COVID-19 can get a rapid Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test at the Braden Clinic, located at 5068 Annunciation Circle (Suite 111) in Ave Maria www.bradenclinic.com  Due to a partnership between AMU and the Braden Clinic, these tests will be offered for FREE! A valid University ID card will be required.
  • Students who are symptomatic should contact a medical professional, refrain from attending class or work, and self-isolate in their room
  • If a student tests positive for COVID-19, they are expected to follow CDC guidelines for isolating in their residence until:
    • at least 10 days since symptoms first appeared
    • at least 24 hours with no fever without fever-reducing medication 
  • Students rooming with a person who tests positive for COVID-19 may be able to move to a room in Xavier Hall during the isolation period if a room is available. Space is limited. 

Please pray an Ave Maria (Hail Mary) for the health of our students, faculty, staff, and the entire AMU community.