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Henri (Tropical Storm or Hurricane) Update

DEPARTMENT(S): 
August 20, 2021

TLDR

  • Tropical Storm (and possibly Category 1 Hurricane) Henri is expected to impact the region Saturday evening through Monday (August 21-23) with the potential for heavy rain, dangerous winds, and flooding.
  • Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has asked everyone to stay off the roads during the storm.
  • Sunday’s move-in and onboarding will be postponed to Monday and Tuesday instead.
  • Some of WPI’s New Student Orientation (NSO) programs will be moved to indoor locations
  • SophEx programming have been rescheduled.

The National Weather Service has issued a Tropical Storm (and possible Category 1 Hurricane) Warning for southern New England, including Worcester, possibly beginning on the evening of Saturday, August 21 and lasting into Monday, August 23, 2021. The greatest impacts of Tropical Storm (or Hurricane) Henri are anticipated on Sunday, August 22, with potential for heavy rain, dangerous winds, and localized flooding. Governor Baker has asked for people to stay off Massachusetts roads during the storm.

Community health and safety is WPI’s top priority, and the university is fully prepared for this oncoming storm. WPI’s Emergency Response Team will continue to monitor this storm through its duration, and stands ready to implement our emergency response plan as needed. Barring any major shift in weather forecasts, all campus buildings will remain open during this storm. Campus facilities will be secured for safety, and students will continue to have access to their residence halls and dining facilities. Because this weekend marks the arrival of new students and returning students, as well as onboarding testing, we will be making some adjustments to the schedules for these activities.

Information Regarding Onboarding, Move-In, New Student Orientation, and SophEx

  • We will welcome residential students from the Class of 2025 on Saturday; all Sunday NSO programs will be moved indoors.  Check the NSO website, Canvas site, and the WPI Mobile App for details.
  • Sunday move-in and onboard testing has been postponed and moved to either Monday or Tuesday.
  • Anyone scheduled to arrive on Sunday is welcome to arrive on Monday or Tuesday anytime between 8:00 am - 11:00 am and 1:00 pm - 4:30 pm and follow the normal onboarding procedures. Simply decide on an arrival time on your own; you do not need to let us know your decision or go online to reschedule your testing time.  The Public Health Team, Residential Services staff, and move-in volunteers will be here to greet you during those times.
  • Anyone with concerns about moving in on Monday or Tuesday instead of Sunday should contact Residential Services res-services@wpi.edu; they will do everything possible to respond to you on Saturday. Please know that this will be a busy time for the team, and there may be some delay.
  • We remain ready to welcome students slated to move-in on Monday and Tuesday:
     
  • Note: In the event of high winds and rain on Monday and/or Tuesday, we may not have red bins available. Please plan accordingly and bring an extra helper if you’d like. Remember, everyone must wear a face cover.
  • All SophEx activities will be postponed; those registered should look for email updates and watch the WPI App.

 

INFORMATION FOR EMPLOYEES

On Saturday, August 21, employees who are scheduled to work/volunteer to assist with New Student Orientation or help students move into residence halls working should still plan on coming to campus to welcome and support students and families.

On Sunday, August 22, all non-essential personnel and/or anyone not assisting with New Student Orientation activities, programs, or providing services to students currently living on campus are encouraged to stay off the roads and remain home. Please speak with your supervisor if you are unsure of your status.

Community members who live off campus but need access to WPI's open facilities due to an emergency on Sunday should contact WPI Police at 508-831-5433 before coming to campus. These individuals will be directed to park in the Park Ave. garage.

INFORMATION FOR ALL COMMUNITY MEMBERS

Prior to the Storm, ALL WPI community members who reside on or near campus should:

  • Plan to stay in your home/residence and off the roads throughout the storm.
  • Charge your cell phone and use only for emergencies to conserve your battery.
  • Make sure you have an adequate quantity of prescriptions and medical supplies.
  • Stock up on non-perishable food items.
  • Stock up on bottled water.
  • Make sure you have a working flashlight and spare batteries
  • Secure any items located outside of your house, i.e. bicycles, grills, lawn furniture, in an interior location, as these could become dangerous projectiles.
  • Students should contact their families and indicate where they will be staying during the storm.

Should dangerous winds become imminent:

  • Remain indoors and keep away from windows and glass doors.
  • Lie on the floor under a table or another sturdy object.
  • Find shelter on the lowest level in a hallway, interior room, or closet.
  • Close all interior doors; secure and brace all external doors.
  • Keep all curtains and blinds closed
  • Don’t be fooled if things quiet down, there could be a short lull in the storm.
  • Continue monitoring local news, email, and/or Twitter for further information

During the storm, residential students should:

  • Limit your travel between buildings and remain in your residence hall as much as possible.
  • If you leave your residence hall, carry your campus ID and inform your RA of your destination.
  • Remember: no candles are permitted in the residential areas; use flashlights only.
  • If you have an emergency, contact WPI Police at x5555.
  • Dining – Regular service hours will continue throughout the storm.

We will continue to monitor this storm and update the community as needed.  Thank you for your continued cooperation, and please keep yourself safe during this storm.

Sincerely,

The WPI Emergency Response Team