Florida Gov. Rick Scott has ordered
all public K-12 schools, colleges, universities and state offices to close Friday through Monday in anticipation of Hurricane Irma.
"Today, I am directing the closure of all public schools, state colleges, state universities and state offices for their normal activities effective Friday through Monday, to ensure we have every space available for sheltering and staging," Scott said in a statement Thursday night.
Central Florida public schools in Osceola County, Volusia County and Polk County had already announced they would close Friday, Sept. 8 and Monday, Sept. 11 before the governor's order. But public school officials in Orange County and Seminole County had planned to remain open on Friday but close on Monday, which prompted angry responses from parents and faculty online. Close to 9:40 p.m., Orange County officials finally confirmed schools would be closed tomorrow by order of the governor.
The governor says Floridians are facing a life-threatening Category 5 hurricane, which means all families must be prepare to evacuate when the order is given.
"Our state’s public schools serve a vital role in our communities as shelters for displaced residents and staging areas for hurricane recovery efforts," Scott says in a statement. "Closing public schools, state colleges, state universities and state offices will provide local and state emergency officials the flexibility necessary to support shelter and emergency response efforts."