The start of the school year comes with its own set of challenges. For one, going to school in New Orleans means preparing for Hurricane season and the challenges that come with it. Hurricane season is a part of campus culture, it’s something students new and old learn to face together. It is important to be aware not only how one can best prepare, but to know what precautions the city and school are taking.
Amy Boyle, director of Residential Life, provides insight into how Loyola prepares for Hurricane season.
For the upcoming season, Boyle assured that “The Emergency Management Team meets regularly to review protocols and practices.”
“Specifically, in Residential Life, we update our tropical weather procedures annually to ensure it is updated,” said Boyle, “this includes reviewing agreements with campus partners, including our emergency evacuation site, Belhaven University.”
Boyle also said that Residential Life reminds students that they are required to have an Evacuation Plan prepared before moving into the residence halls.
“That plan can change, but they must have a plan before receiving their keys and checking into the halls,” said Boyle.
She also noted that the school has updated some procedures and there will be changes this coming fall.
“We approach every season with care and diligence,” said Boyle, “the university now will evacuate campus at a Category 2 or higher.”
There will be even more changes that returning students should pay attention to.
In the past, students could ride out a tropical storm and Category 1 hurricanes in the residence halls. But now, Boyle said students will have to relocate to Monroe Hall due to the building having a higher wind rating than the residence halls.
“Several hours before the predicted onset of the storm, students will be relocated to Monroe Hall to ride out the storm,” said Boyle.
According to Boyle, food provisions will be available and students will be permitted to return to the residence halls once winds are at a safe level to commute back across campus.
“Our priority is safety over comfort in a high wind event,” said Boyle, “In the past, it has been challenging to have students decentralized in residence halls from both a safety and comfort perspective.”
Certainly a change for returning students, but a reassurance that student safety comes first to the University.
On a broader scale, the city of New Orleans has their own storm preparation campaign aimed at providing citizens with planning tips for emergencies called NOLA Ready.
For sheltering in place, NOLA Ready recommends that one has a stock of essentials: Non-perishable food for three days, gallons of water per person, manual can opener, flashlight & extra batteries, matches or lighter, first-aid kit, a week’s supply of prescription medications, radio (battery operated or hand crank) as well as books and games.
Furthermore, they advise residents prepare for power outages and do their best to stay informed as to what’s going on.