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Shelters opening in Lee, Manatee, Highlands counties; Lee, other counties close schools Thursday

Braun, Michael

Shelters opened today in Lee, Manatee and Highlands counties and multiple counties cancelled school Thursday in advance of Tropical Storm Nicole’s landfall later this week.

While no evacuation orders are in place for Tropical Storm Nicole for Lee County, there have been two general population shelters opened: North Fort Myers Rec Center and Estero Rec Center.

Water and MRE's will be provided and those wishing to come are urged to bring sheltering items with you. Free transit on LeeTran is available to shelters.

Lee County also warned residents to not place additional Hurricane Ian debris on the curb.

Due to expected high winds and current conditions as a result of Hurricane Ian, all after Lee County school activities have been canceled Wednesday, with the exception of high school activities/athletics and after-care as described below.

High School after school activities/athletics will be allowed to continue today through 3:30 p.m. with the campus being cleared by 4 p.m. Please note that after-school activity bus transportation will not be provided and students should take the regular bus home. All after-school care for today will continue as normal although families are encouraged to pick up their child early if possible.

In addition, the District has made the decision to close all schools and District offices on Thursday. This includes all school activities, athletics, and programs.

A decision about school and district operations for Friday, November 11, will be made by Thursday afternoon.

The District will continue to provide daily updates to staff and families with the latest information. Please be sure you are subscribed to School Messenger, the District’s Social Media channels, and visit our website to stay up-to-date on possible changes to our school operations.

Also closing schools Thursday will be Collier, DeSoto, Manatee and Charlottecounties. Glades, Hendry and Highlands county schools closed Wednesday and will remain closed Thursday.

FGCU on Wednesday afternoon announced a decision to modify campus operations Thursday, shifting classes to remote learning.

Employees were told they would work on a remote basis similar to how work was managed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Administrative offices will be available via a remote environment, and campus will remain open for activated essential personnel.

All services meant to sustain students living on campus will operate Thursday. There is no evacuation of residential students, and housing offices will remain open. All meetings and events are encouraged to meet remotely Thursday.

In Charlotte County, all offices and facilities will be closed Thursday,

In Highlands County the general population shelter will open at 4 p.m. Wednesday at Fred Wild Elementary School, 3550 Youth Care Lane in Sebring.

A special needs shelter will open at noon Wednesday at the health department, 7205 S. George Blvd., in Sebring. Registration for this shelter will be open until 11 a.m. Wednesday. REGISTRATION FOR THE SPECIAL NEEDS SHELTER WILL BE OPEN UNTIL 11 A.M. TODAY.

Online registration can be made at https://snr.flhealthresponse.com/

Highlands County offices will be closed Thursday, in anticipation of Nicole, as well as on Friday, in observance of the Veterans Day holiday.

Other offices that will be closed Thursday, are the Property Appraiser, Tax Collector (all three offices) and City of Sebring office.

Manatee County opened a “Safe Haven” shelter at Freedom Elementary, 9515 FL-64, Bradenton, 34212 Wednesday.

The pet-friendly shelter is for residents evacuating their homes voluntarily should they feel their homes could be compromised due to damage from Hurricane Ian and for residents of mobile or manufactured homes.

Manatee County Emergency Management is monitoring Nicole and is working with the School District of Manatee County to determine school closures for Thursday. A decision about whether to close will come later Wednesday.

What to bring to a shelter:

In addition to emergency supplies (e.g. food, water, medicine, flashlights, batteries, first aid kit), the following are recommended items to bring with you if you must evacuate to a shelter:

  • Pillows, blankets, sleeping bags or air mattresses
  • Extra clothing, shoes, eyeglasses, hearing aids (and batteries), etc.
  • Personal toiletries/towels
  • Medications
  • Baby items, diapers, formula and comfort items
  • Folding chairs, lawn chairs or cots Personal hygiene items (e.g. toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant)
  • Quiet games, books, playing cards and favorite toys for children
  • Important papers and irreplaceable keepsakes (e.g. Driver’s License, special medical information, insurance policies and property inventories, photographs)

Pet Shelter Requirements Pet sheltering requirements and rules are important during disaster situations. Your cooperation in making a pet-friendly shelter environment enjoyable is appreciated by following these requirements:

  • Pet(s) must arrive with a carrier or cage. Cages will not be available on site.
  • Pet(s) must remain in carrier (except at scheduled exercise times).
  • Owners must provide pet food and other pet supplies, as needed.
  • Owners must provide certification that pet(s) are current with rabies vaccination.
  • Owners will not permit other shelter occupants to handle or approach pet(s).
  • Owners are responsible for the care, feeding and handling of their own pet(s).

Pet Survival Kit for Pet-Friendly Shelters

  • Proper ID collar and rabies license tag
  • Carrier or cage
  • Water and food bowls
  • Medications
  • Food supply to last about three days
  • Special care instructions
  • Newspapers/plastic bags for waste disposal
  • Toys and comfort items
  • Muzzles, if necessary
  • First aid supplies
  • Manual can opener
  • Proper ID on all belongings

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