Megastorm prompts belated campus closure

Jarrett Rodriguez, Managing Editor

Santa Rosa Junior College will close at noon today due to severe weather warnings from local and national officials. The National Weather Service announcements warn people to stay off the roads until the flash flood warning has passed.

Every school in Sonoma and Marin counties shut down today due to flooding on highways and in streets, as well as strong winds expected to get up to 70 mph. SRJC is currently the only the school open in the Northern Bay Area.

Earlier this morning, SRJC announced on its Facebook and Twitter pages that the school would remain open and that classes would continue as usual. This led many students and parents to bombard the Facebook post with comments about putting students and faculty lives at risk by staying open.

“I hope SRJC is willing to pay for any and all damages to myself and vehicle up to and including my funeral costs as I attempt to go to class today,” wrote student Alaina Chenette-Barton on the Facebook page.

Even parents left comments on the page. “You’ve got to be kidding me?” wrote Julia Lavaroni, who posted many comments on the Facebook page. “Sorry SRJC administrators, but I am advising my son NOT to get into a car and drive north today.”

Silver explained that the SRJC administration met at 6 a.m. to decide whether the school would remain open and elected to close the campus at noon.

“If you’re on campus, you can go, if not on, don’t come,” said Ellen Maremont Silver, SRJC public relations director.

The sixth emergency alert of the morning warned people to avoid flood areas. The Public Safety Training Center in Windsor remains open, though northbound Hwy 101 at Arata Lane is closed due to flooding.

The 10:46 a.m. Nixle report said today will be an excused absence and encouraged students to submit their assignments by email. Employee time also will not be docked due to the closure.

“Information will be forthcoming later this afternoon regarding any potential closure on Friday. If you do not have electricity, you can call 527-4011 for a message about any potential closure,” the report read.

The Oak Leaf will continue to update this story as more information comes.