How is Westmont?
Westmont is fine. The rain has ended this week and we are expecting beautiful weather through next week. We sustained practically no damage from the rain with no flooding or mudslides on campus. But we have no water, which affects food preparation and sanitation, so we have canceled classes through Friday and evacuated students. Staff members are working on campus thanks to some portable restrooms and bottled water. We voluntarily evacuated students upon learning of water restrictions that would affect food preparation and sanitation, and now look forward to welcoming them back when classes resume soon.
How is Montecito?
Montecito has suffered devastating impacts, including the loss of life and many homes from the flooding and mudslides. Much of the community lacks water, power and natural gas, and roads are impassable. Please pray for the people of Montecito as they recover from this disaster.
Where are your students?
Our students all left campus safely and found places to stay with family or friends. Keeping our students safe continues to be our top priority. Scores of faculty, staff, alumni and local church members offered to house students who needed a place to stay. We’re so grateful for this response.
What are students doing this week as classes are canceled?
Our amazing faculty are once again adjusting to a disruption in classes, and they are connecting with students this week about courses. We appreciate their adaptability and positive attitude so much. We encourage students, especially graduating seniors, to use this time productively, such as working on their resumes. Our Career Development and Calling office would love to assist them when students return next week.
How will you make up the missed classes?
The Provost’s Office has sent a message to students explaining how we will make up the missed classes for the spring semester. The college does not plan to extend the spring semester, alter holidays or spring break, or change the date of Commencement, which remains May 5.
What if a student needs something left behind on campus?
Students may use the On-Call RD system and call 805-565-OCRD (6273) if they need to get something in their room.
When will water be restored to campus?
We will post updates on the website with information we receive from the Montecito Water District. We will also work to provide the facilities and resources (such as portable showers and restrooms) we need on campus for our students, faculty and staff.
How will Westmont support students when they return to campus?
Check the Westmont website daily for the updates we post several times a day. You can also follow us on Facebook (Westmont College) and Twitter (@westmontnews). The switchboard is open every day through Friday, so you may call with questions. You may also email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Was Westmont ever under a voluntary evacuation order? Why weren’t the students evacuated before the storm?
Westmont was never under any evacuation order, voluntary or otherwise. We did not evacuate because we didn’t face a significant threat given our topography and the limited burning above campus. We sustained no damage to campus from floods or mudslides during the rain; the only impacts were several brief power outages. We voluntarily evacuated students when we learned that water service campus would be interrupted, severely affecting food preparation and sanitation.
We are a bit concerned at the volume and level of emergency situations our student has experienced. Is this volume of emergency situations the exception or the norm?
It’s an exception. Westmont has faced only a handful of such situations in its 80-year history.
Will Westmont reevaluate its response to natural disasters, considering what happened to the students with both the fires and the rainstorm?
While we believe our plans worked remarkably well for our students, faculty and staff we will, as always, perform a careful After Action Review and look for ways to enhance our plans.
Will the roads to Montecito be accessible in time for class to resume again next Tuesday?
Roads to Westmont from the west are accessible now, and we expect some roads to the east and south to open by Monday. We will post directions about getting to campus on our website before students return. Two companies, Island Packers and the Condor Express, offer daily shuttles between the Ventura Harbor and the Santa Barbara Harbor during the Highway 101 closure.
My student drank some water on campus yesterday before the boil-water message. Was the water considered safe for consumption?
A Montecito Water District representative said there was no reason to think it was unsafe. The boil-water order is precautionary, and they have no evidence there are actually harmful organisms or materials in the water. They suggest monitoring your digestive health for a day or two. If no symptoms appear, there is no reason to fear latent harm or seek medical attention.
We will have another phone call forum on Sunday at 3 p.m. so please go to Westmont’s website for details. Email your questions to email@example.com