UWF Severe Weather Frequently Asked Questions

The University of West Florida is committed to supporting UWF students, faculty and staff before, during and after severe weather. Below is an FAQ page with the most commonly asked storm-related questions by our students, faculty and staff. As you navigate through this webpage, you will find there are several resources to assist you, including information on returning to class and getting back on track academically, shelters and financial aid.


Preparation

Weather Preparedness

When does the University begin monitoring for potential hurricanes that may impact UWF?
UWF constantly monitors tropical system formation in the Atlantic Basin throughout the year and especially during the hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30. As storm systems approach our area, the University community will be notified and kept informed of the progress of such systems.

How does the University decide to close during inclement weather?
UWF constantly monitors information provided by the National Weather Service. Decisions to close are based on input from the NWS and in coordination with the Escambia County and State of Florida Emergency Operations Centers. The information is provided to the University's Emergency Management Team, who make any necessary closure decisions.

How can I stay updated about hurricanes and tropical storms?
In the event of a hurricane or tropical storm approaching Northwest Florida, University officials communicate with students via email, uwf.edu, UWF social media outlets (Facebook and Twitter) and the UWF Mobile Alert text messaging system. Additional communication outlets include desktop/computer notifications and loud speakers/sirens and electronic displays on campus, when necessary. Weather information is available by tuning into WUWF at 88.1FM or online at wuwf.org. Updates from the National Weather Service are available at weather.gov/mob, facebook.com/NWSMobile and twitter.com/nwsmobile

Residential Student "Ride-Out Facility" Information

Which "ride-out" facilities are available for residential students?
When storm/hurricane conditions are expected in the Pensacola area, UWF residential students may be directed to either shelter in place or evacuate to the on-campus ride-out facility. A decision regarding student evacuation to the ride-out facility will be made as the storm progresses and communicated in a timely manner to residential students. 

The official on-campus hurricane ride-out facility for UWF residential students is located in the Hal Marcus College of Science and Engineering, Building 4. If this shelter becomes unavailable, residential students will be moved from Building 4 to the University Commons, Building 22, pending the appropriate clearance of Building 22. 

COVID-19 protocols will be utilized at the residential student ride-out facilities including but not limited to isolation areas, wearing of face coverings and social distancing. Specific action steps related to COVID-19 include the following: 

  • Per CDC guidelines, sheltering in place will be prioritized during the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • Body temperature monitoring and symptom screening will be conducted for all persons entering the shelter and in food distribution areas.
  • UWF will provide separate areas, including restrooms, to isolate residents with symptoms of COVID-19. 
  • UWF will maintain contact with state and local public health agencies and emergency management for updates on local COVID-19 information. 
  • UWF will monitor residents daily for symptoms of COVID-19 and other illnesses and provide a daily status update to the local health department and other relevant agencies. 
  • All shelter residents, even those without symptoms, may have been exposed to COVID-19 and should self quarantine after leaving the shelter in accordance with state and local recommendations. 
Non-Residential Student Information

Which "ride-out" facilities are available for non-residential students, faculty and staff during a natural disaster?
All non-residential students, faculty and staff seeking a ride-out facility should report to one of the designated county shelters: Escambia County, Okaloosa County and Santa Rosa County.

If my family needs to stay in Pensacola are there available spaces on campus?
Families evacuating from affected areas should contact the designated county ride-out facilities: Escambia County, Okaloosa County and Santa Rosa County. These facilities are staffed with emergency volunteers and equipped with food, water and other essentials. Residential students with specific needs may contact UWF Housing for information about limited guest housing by calling 850.474.2463 or emailing housing@uwf.edu. Housing staff will assist on a case-by-case basis to determine the best course of action. The families of University employees who are required to work may also stay on campus during the storm.



Recovery

Enrollment and Classes

I am unable to attend classes. What should I do?
Students who have any issues that prevent them from resuming coursework, such as power outages or network issues, are advised to contact their instructors. We ask instructors to work with you to develop a plan of action to accommodate you and keep you on track. If you need additional support, please contact Case Management Services at casemanagement@uwf.edu or 850.474.2384

If I need to go home to help my family, will I be excused from class?
Please notify your professors and let them know your situation. Also, reach out to your academic advisor and discuss your situation with them. Together, you may develop a plan of action to accommodate your situation and keep you on track academically.

I need to withdraw from the University. Where do I start that process?
Please contact your academic advisor in First Year Advising or your academic college, who can help you find the appropriate resources. If you are unsure about who your academic advisor is, please visit the Academic Advising Directory.  This is also an important step as they will be able to document your withdrawal and help adjust your graduation plans to help keep you on track. To determine which withdrawal option best fits your circumstances, review the withdrawals webpage.

Financial Aid

If I or my parents lost a job due to severe weather, can my financial aid be adjusted?
If you have extenuating circumstances such as loss of employment due to layoff, discharge, retirement or disability, please contact the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships and speak with a financial aid counselor.

What if I lost tax returns and other documents in inclement weather that is needed for financial aid?
Federal tax return transcripts can be obtained from irs.gov. The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships will work with students and parents to waive verification documents lost in inclement weather, as permitted by the U.S. Department of Education.

Will dropping classes affect my financial aid?
Students receiving financial aid who drop or withdraw from courses may be required to repay financial aid. Withdrawing from classes may impact Satisfactory Academic Progress. Students who are considering dropping or withdrawing should first speak with a financial aid counselor.

Will withdrawing from classes as a result of inclement weather affect my academic eligibility for Title IV financial aid?
Students receiving financial aid who drop or withdraw from courses may be required to repay financial aid. Withdrawing from classes may impact Satisfactory Academic Progress. Students who are considering dropping or withdrawing should first speak with a financial aid counselor.

Student Support Services

If I have emergency support needs, whom should I contact?
Students with emergency support needs should contact Case Management Services at casemanagement@uwf.edu or 850.474.2384

I am struggling mentally with the impact of severe weather. Is there someone I can talk to for help?
Counseling and Psychological Services has a counselor on call 24 hours a day to help UWF students in a psychological crisis. No matter how bad your situation is, there is hope and there is help. Do not hesitate to reach out. We are here to help.

I am an Active Duty Member/ Military Veteran looking for additional guidance, what resources do I have available?
The UWF Military & Veterans Resource Center has a variety of services available for military-related students (dependents, retirees, and active duty). The MVRC can provide assistance with coordinating academic advising, tutoring, counseling and disability accommodations among other services, as well as access off-campus resources. Students can contact the MVRC at mvrc@uwf.edu or 850.474.2550.

I have questions about my admissions, financial aid or registrar. Who can I contact?
Argo Central is a one-stop shop for Admissions, Financial Aid, Financial Services and the Registrar's Office and is available to assist you with any questions you may have. Students can contact Argo Central at argocentral@uwf.edu or 850.474.2400.

Employees

I returned to work and found damage (wet carpet, damp walls, etc.) in my office. What should I do?
If you notice any damage in your office or building, especially wetness/moisture, please take photos and contact Facilities at ext. 6000 or submit a work order through my.uwf.edu.

Will the University closure impact my paychecks?
University officials worked to ensure payroll was not disrupted and regularly scheduled payroll occurred. Any changes or updates will be posted online to the UWF Human Resources website and emailed directly to faculty and staff.

How can I find support?
The Aetna Employee Assistance Program is available for all University employees via phone at 800.272.7252 or online at mylifevalues.com (username and password are both UWF in all capital letters). The website features a disaster resources section that includes practical tips as well as resources for coping with a disaster. All services and calls are strictly confidential between the employee and Aetna.

Volunteering and Supporting

How can students volunteer with recovery efforts?
Students interested in volunteering for recovery efforts may fill out the Hurricane and Disaster Response Team form in ArgoPulse.

What can I do to support students that may have been impacted?
We encourage faculty members to work with students who have been directly impacted by inclement weather by assisting them with coursework outside of normal class hours (or through electronic means) until these students have been able to assist their families with the recovery effort. We also encourage faculty to consider excusing absences on a short-term basis for those students who have been directly impacted, when appropriate. 

Resources