On Wednesday, October 5, the University of Central Florida announced the cancellation of classes beginning at 3 p.m. and the closing of all campus operations at 5 p.m.

Mandatory evacuations for certain UCF housing communities (ex: those with outdoor hallways) were announced and will be enforced beginning at 7 p.m. on Thursday. Storm ride-out locations on campus have been assigned for these students.

Along with storm procedural announcements, UCF stated that online deadlines for university courses will not be enforced in their storm readiness plan for students and parents while the university is closed, reiterated on mediums of communication.

“Deadlines for online assignments will not be enforced during the university’s closure for Hurricane Matthew. This includes any online coursework or other assignments due from 3 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 5 until the university reopens”

As a rebuttal, a few instructors have notified students on dismissing UCF’s statement, holding assigned or kept quizzes and homework deadlines while the university is closed.

With that in mind, mandatory evacuations were announced for Brevard County, among others, for all residents ahead of the Category 4 hurricane’s expected landfall near Cape Canaveral.

National Hurricane Center – Category 4 hurricane:

Catastrophic damage will occur: Well-built framed homes can sustain severe damage with loss of most of the roof structure and/or some exterior walls. Most trees will be snapped or uprooted and power poles downed. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months

Your options:

If you are a student who commutes from Brevard County, for example, and fall under mandatory evacuations from your home or apartment complex, utilize the John C. Hitt Library as a resource because a computer cannot be afforded, lose power because the destruction of the storm affected your community, or are a homeless UCF student (or know students and can communicate to them in one way or another) you have options.

If you, as a student, have already spoken to your instructor on accommodations for meeting these deadlines and the instructor was unwilling, or unresponsive, you may follow these instructions:

  • Communicate with the instructor again, notifying them first of UCF’s administrative decision to not enforce deadlines for online classes and second of your extenuating or stressful circumstance
  • Document the instructor’s response if apathy is given, and the deadlines remain, and go to the department that the instructor falls under to seek assistance. If this resolves the situation, go no further.
  • Go to the specific, major-related UCF college that the department falls under and seek assistance there. You may also request to speak to the associate dean on resolving the situation while keeping your situation private, once the university reopens.
  • You may go to the dean of the college in the respected office they work through and reference the university-wide statement that took place during the week of Hurricane Matthew and closing of the university, and request an extension on the homework, quiz, test, or otherwise, that was assigned while the hurricane made landfall or encroached on Orlando from the coast.
  • Seek help from an administrator at UCF outside of the college. You will not need to reach this point.

All of these can be done in complete privacy.

Although the assignment is dated on an instructor-made syllabus to be due on the days UCF abruptly announced it would be closed entirely, in response to Hurricane Matthew, a syllabus will not override the university’s administrative decision.

In the same way an instructor cannot announce to students class on game day will still be held, when the UCF president announces afternoon classes will be closed, an instructor cannot announce online assignments will still be due when university administrators, executives, and UCF safety officials deem conditions to be unsafe, and shelter be sought. The announcement that online class deadlines will not be enforced has been enumerated in UCF’s storm-readiness plan for students; a syllabus, et al. does not change this.

This decision had in mind student safety, student access to resources, student evacuations, and more. Per UCF, the deadlines of your online assignments will not be enforced while the university is closed (Wednesday through Saturday, for now). Stay safe, students!