Hurricane Irene

Update on Sunday, August 28:

Head of School Bob Hill has the following update from the Williston Northampton campus:

To the Williston Northampton Community:

As the Pioneer Valley continues to deal with the rain, winds, and flooding brought by Hurricane Irene, I wanted you to have a quick update on storm conditions on campus.

I am relieved to report that other than branches being strewn about, we seem to be weathering Irene in good shape. While still warns of strong wind gusts throughout the afternoon and into the evening, we have so far been free of power outages, as well as any major flooding issues. We continue to be mindful of this extreme weather, however, and I encourage you to remain vigilant as Irene passes through the state.

An administrative team will reconvene this evening for another check-in. Until then, please stay safe and heed the warnings associated with such an enormous weather system.

Friday, August 26:

The Williston Northampton School is closely monitoring Hurricane Irene to secure the campus and to protect the safety of its community.  For more information, please check the Web site, as well as the school’s Facebook page and Twitter feed.

Chief Financial Officer Chuck McCullagh wrote the following to the Williston Northampton community:

To the Williston Northampton Community:

I am sure everyone is aware of Hurricane Irene which is tracking towards New England. In response, everyone on campus should be prepared for the three likely outcomes of this storm:

·          Excessive wind

·          Excessive water

·          Likely power outages

Here are the steps the school is taking:

·         The automated text message/voicemail system is being prepared if it is needed to convey messages to all employees.

·         It is suggested that all office that are on ground floor or have items stored in basements to get all those materials up off the floor. This would include the Reed Center, the Homestead, the Athletic Center, the Middle School, the Schoolhouse, Ford Hall (including the Children’s Center) and a number of dormitories.

·         All school student transportation vehicles will be parked in the parking lot next to the Athletic Center.

·         We ask all offices to check to make sure all copiers, printers and other computer equipment are shut off. Particularly, if academic department members can check their offices to make sure the copiers and other equipment are turned off, it would be appreciated.

·         Any school equipment typically stored outside will be brought inside (equipment around physical plant, Adirondack chairs, etc.)

·         Flags will be taken down.

·         All windows and doors in dormitories and other buildings should be securely closed. Housekeeping will be asked to check dorms and other buildings, but it would be very helpful if all members of the community check windows and doors to make sure everything is closed before leaving at the end of the day Friday.

Campus residents are asked to do the following:

·         Gather any personal items (tables , umbrellas, chairs, children’s toys, etc.) that might be stored outside and please bring them indoors, (except gas grill with propane tanks). Please try to find a secure place for gas grills but do not bring them inside.

·        If you are aware one of your campus neighbors is away and may not have received this message, please try to go to their home and bring inside any personal items that could be carried away by wind.


·         If there are any questions over the weekend, please call security, which will be on duty (527-0730). Please note that it is a single line, so if it is busy, security is addressing another phone call.

·         As the storm evolves, we will communicate with employees in the following fashion (in level of priority, noting that if power goes out, some of the other methods further down on the list will likely still work):

o   School email system

o   School voicemail system

o   All employee texting/voicemail emergency messaging system

o   The school’s website

·         Bob Hill , Chuck McCullagh and Jeff Tannatt are here all weekend, so if there are any major issues, decisions will be made quickly.

Monday after the storm:

We anticipate that everything will be operational on campus Monday morning. However, if there are complications that will make it difficult for the entire school staff to work on campus that day, a voicemail message will be left at the number 413-529-3261 at 5:30 a.m. (or if power is still out, an emergency text/voicemail message will be sent) to inform employees whether or not they should come to work. Certain managers ask certain personnel to come to work to address specific activities, but that will be handled at the department level. Particularly, if there is a state of emergency in your community that will prevent you from coming to work, please follow the directives of your local authorities.

We are asking everyone who can help with the above steps to protect his or her personal effects as well as the school’s items from wind, water and power outages.

Thank you in advance for what I am sure will be an organized and efficient community effort. I hope you and your family stay safe this weekend, and I’m grateful for your help in keeping the campus secure, as well.