All public K-12 schools, state colleges and state universities have been shut down from today through Monday to ensure room for “sheltering and staging” for Hurricane Irma, Gov. Rick Scott‘s office announced Thursday night.
All state offices also are closed today.
In a statement, Scott explained he was ordering “the closure … to ensure we have every space available for sheltering and staging,” he said in a statement.
“Floridians are facing a life-threatening storm in Hurricane Irma,” Scott added. “Our state’s public schools serve a vital role in our communities as shelters for displaced residents and staging areas for hurricane recovery efforts.
“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.”
Many school districts and universities had already voluntarily agreed to close because of the looming arrival of Irma over the weekend. But many school districts and colleges in north central and northwest Florida had remained open.
The storm’s latest track has it likely making landfall in Florida Friday night. From there the storm is likely to make its way up the center of the state. Scott and forecasters have warned residents in all corners of the state that they could be affected.