Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Puerto Rico universities suspend operations due to Tropical Storm Dorian

By on August 27, 2019

The Puerto Rico Capitol in San Juan (CB photo)

Island Senate recesses, judicial branch suspends work, banks close

SAN JUAN — Several academic institutions have announced closures ahead of Dorian’s passage near Puerto Rico.

The University of Puerto Rico, Medical Sciences Campus, announced that due to the passage of the storm through the southwest of the island, services at the following clinics are canceled for Wednesday: Clinic of the School of Medicine, School of Medicine Imaging Center and “Adult Psychiatry and Child Psychiatry.”

“We urge citizens to remain attentive to the [university’s] social networks, where information on the resumption of services will be updated,” the institution said.

According to the academic and administrative recess decreed starting at noon Tuesday by UPR President Jorge Haddock, administrative “personnel were asked to take the necessary measures to secure their respective work areas. They were also required to review their contingency plans and keep inventories of their areas up-to-date, be they offices, laboratories or clinical areas, among others,” wrote Dr. Segundo Rodríguez Quilichini, chancellor of the Medical Sciences Campus.

Maintenance employees, including electric power, conservation, plumbing, refrigeration and janitorial units, as well as employees in charge of animal care have been working to implement emergency plans.

“These employees will work until the necessary tasks are completed. We appreciate the collaboration of all to face this situation successfully and without risks,” the chancellor said, adding, any news about this emergency will be duly communicated through the social media accounts on Twitter: @rcmupr and Facebook: @uprrcm.

Taking into account the most recent storm trajectory reports, Universidad Ana G. Méndez (UAGM) said all classes and administrative duties are canceled for Wednesday, except for its “Online campus,” where although administrative work will be suspended, “classes will continue as usual, understanding that service interruptions could be experienced.”

Classes and operations will resume regularly Thursday, the school said, adding that if a specific situation merits changes, it will be notified via the main means of communication, website and social networks.

Universidad Interamericana said it will cease work at 3 p.m. Tuesday, with classes resuming Thursday, “unless otherwise indicated.”

Universidad Politécnica of Puerto Rico announced it canceled Wednesday classes, “both daytime and nighttime—as well as administrative work,” adding these classes will be replaced Sept. 13.

“At the moment, on Thursday, August 29, the University will operate on its regular schedule. Employees who perform essential tasks in the Department of General Services (physical plant) and Security must remain in continuous communication with their supervisor and report to their duties tomorrow [Wednesday],” the school said.

“We urge the community to take proper precautions in the amid the passage of Tropical Storm Dorian,” it added.

Universidad Central de Bayamón also suspended classes and administrative work. Its interim president, Ángel Valentín Román, announced that classes and administrative tasks would be suspended at 5 p.m. and resume Thursday.

The university asked warned people who live in areas prone to flooding or landslides that they should be aware of the risks if they leave their homes, and asked that “they exercise discretion. If change arises, we encourage you to keep an eye on our social networks Facebook and Twitter, institutional email and radio stations.

The Pontificia Universidad Católica de Puerto Rico (PUCPR) announced its own academic and administrative recess for the Ponce, Mayagüez and Arecibo campuses starting Tuesday at 4 p.m.

“Our message at this moment is to remain calm and prepare. The Pontificia Universidad Católica de Puerto Rico remains vigilant to the trajectory of this system. For us, it is a priority that our university community is safe from any eventuality. The Institutional Emergency Committee continues to work in our three campuses,” PUCPR President Jorge Iván Vélez Arocho said.

He added that it will inform of any changes on its website, www.pucpr.edu, as well as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat in PUCPR1, Católica Radio, on 88.9 FM and 89.1 FM in the western region and via Católica Televisión, and channel 114 on Liberty Puerto Rico.

Universidad Albizu also informed that all academic activity at its San Juan Campus and Mayagüez University Center scheduled for Tuesday, will be carried remotely starting at 3 p.m.

In addition, all academic, administrative and clinical activities are suspended for Wednesday and resume Thursday, weather permitting.

The university community was asked to remain attentive to the institution’s official communication channels for updates on operations. The school’s leadership urged all citizens “to remain calm and take the necessary preparation measures to face” the weather event.

Ponce Health Sciences University (PHSU) announced that, due to the hurricane watch, classes and administrative duties will be suspended for Wednesday and will resume as soon as weather conditions allow.

“The entire university community must remain attentive to the media to find out about changes in the resumption of classes and work. You are urged to take the necessary measures to stay safe and to be attentive to PHSU’s social networks for updated information,” the institution said.

Universidad Central del Caribe decreed an academic break for Wednesday “as a precaution and protection measure for the entire university community,” it said. Classes, rotations and clinical services and administrative work of the UCC will resume Thursday regularly.

“If during the break, an extraordinary situation occurs with any student, the UCC administration will be available to attend it. If additional information needs to be provided, internal communications channels and social networks will be used to maintain contact with the university community,” the school added.

Online banking available

Meanwhile, Oriental Bank said its branches, service centers and headquarters will not open Wednesday. For Thursday’s hours or if there is any change, the bank said it would notify customers on its pages on Facebook (@OrientalBank), Twitter (@ORIENTAL_BANK), Instagram (@oriental_bank) and in the media.

Customers can access their balances, make payments, transfers between accounts and verify their transactions and paid checks, among other services by accessing Online Banking through www.orientalbank.com and Mobile Banking through the Oriental app. Both services will continue 24 hours a day, as will the automatic voice system (787.622.6800).

For its part, Santander informed that the bank’s branches, subsidiaries and headquarters would remain closed Wednesday. The telephone banking service, Banco en Casa, will operate 24/7. Operations will resume Thursday, depending on the weather. Bank customers can make transactions through the ‘Santander PR’ app, visiting www.santander.pr and calling 787-281-2000 or 1-800-726-8263.

For updates on operating hours, visit Facebook.com/santanderpr or Twitter.com/santanderpr.

FirstBank branches, FirstMortgage mortgage centers and FirstBank Insurance offices will be closed Wednesday as well.The Customer Service Center will be operating until noon, however.

FirstBank customers will have ATMs, Tu Banca Digital and Tu Banca Digital Móvil available or can visit www.1firstbank.com.

Senate recesses work

Meanwhile, the president of the Senate, Thomas Rivera Schatz, announced Tuesday that the upper chamber was recessing at noon until weather conditions permit resuming work.

“At this moment, the most important thing is adequate preparation before storm Dorian passes the Island. The government has activated the emergency plan, but our citizenry also has to [prepare]. For that reason, our employees are authorized to leave at 12:00 noon to complete their family preparations and execute their respective action plans,” Rivera Schatz said in a statement.

On Monday, the Fifth Congress of Municipal Legislators, to be held Thursday at the Roberto Clemente Coliseum in San Juan, was postponed until further notice.

If there are changes in The Senate said any changes to its work agenda will be notified to the media and on its official social media pages, www.facebook.com/senadodepuertorico and www.twitter.com/senadopr

Judicial branch case

In addition, the judicial branch will suspend its operations Wednesday, Court Administrator Sigfrido Steidel Figueroa said.

“The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Maite Oronoz Rodríguez, suspended operations tomorrow to guarantee the safety of our officials and citizens with issues pending in the courts,” Steidel explained in a statement.

Reportedly, the Investigative Chamber of the Judicial Center of San Juan, as well as the Specialized Chamber of Domestic Violence Cases, will operate Wednesday as long as weather conditions allow. In the other judicial regions, the system of judges will be activated to deal with emergency situations. It is anticipated that regular operations will resume their regular schedule Thursday, provided that the weather conditions are favorable and do not pose a risk.

The Supreme Court will address the matter via resolution. Cases and issues on the calendar that are suspended will be re-indicated and the new dates will be notified to the parties.

Staff and citizens are urged to keep an eye on the updated information on the operations of the judicial branch on Facebook as “Rama Judicial de Puerto Rico,” and Twitter and Instagram @ramajudicialpr and online at www.ramajudicial.pr.

Hiatus at Culture

To ensure the safety of visitors and employees during the storm, the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture (ICP) announced that its facilities, museums and parks will be closed Wednesday.

If weather conditions permit, operations will resume Thursday at regular times. Agency personnel prepared all the facilities to protect the structures, collections and historical property, the institute said.

“As part of the strategic plan, electronic systems, office equipment, roofs, drains and all areas vulnerable to flooding have been checked. In addition, all material and equipment that can be dragged or obstruct the free passage of water currents that may arise from the coming atmospheric system were protected and relocated,” it said, adding that, for updated information, “citizens are urged to keep an eye on the news and social networks of the ICP.”

—This report was compiled from CyberNews information.

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