Hurricane Latest—CUSSW Community

October 26, 2012 @ 8:42 pm

Hurricane Sandy prepUPDATED — Wednesday, Oct 31, 11:30 a.m.

The School of Social Work is open, but there are class cancellations. Go to updated list of class cancellations — 10/31/2101, 12:30 a.m. (UNI & PW required). Please keep checking this list periodically as it will continue to be updated.

practicum is canceled for the week — and students don't have to make it up.

Rachel Lloyd's talk, scheduled for today at noon, is canceled.

Other event cancellations/postponements include:


  • CUPID Development Dialogue Film Screening — AGE Caucus
  • PROP (Police Reform Organizing Project — Criminal Justice Caucus

These two caucuses plan to reschedule their events. As far as we've heard Transnational Caucus and Black Caucus still hope to meet at lunch time. We are awaiting word from the Social Work Review.


The Columbia Population Research Center (CPRC) and Fragile Families Work Group seminar, scheduled for Thursday, November 1st, has been canceled. Prof. Mincy's presentation "Father-Child Closeness: Explaining the Advantage of Resident Fathers," will be rescheduled for Spring 2013. Additional information will be sent out as soon as a date is confirmed.


Updated — Monday, October 29, 2:00 p.m.

**Message to Social Work School community from Dean Jeanette Takamura**

Dear All,

The most recent advisories are clear about how dangerous and wide Sandy's path is. Mayor Bloomberg has said that the storm is expected to hit NYC full force at about 8:15, "give or take a few hours." President Obama just said that it will take a long time in many communities to clean up after Sandy has moved on. Extrapolating from the information that we are receiving and considering how much surge and damage are anticipated, we are preparing to cancel classes and practicum on Tuesday. We anticipate that electrical power systems willl be compromised in many parts of NY and NJ and that transportation systems will not be up on Tuesday. Again, your safety is our paramount concern.

Dean Yoshioka will be working with faculty on substitutional options for students for various MS classes. Dean Moultrie will be in communication with our practicum agencies to be sure they know the foregoing and to support the safety of their staff. Doctoral students should be in touch with Professor Julien Teitler or Jessica Troiano if there are any questions.

Continue to check this page, and you should also consult for general information. Please note again that we are canceling classes and practicum on Tuesday.

Life happens. One of the profession's strengths is that we handle what comes up masterfully and also have the capacity to appropriately support others in times of distress. While we await Sandy making landfall, we can all complete our essential hurricane preparedness tasks and use the gift of time and safety to catch up on readings and all that we would otherwise need to get done anyway.

Please be safe.


Updated — Sunday, October 28, 2:00 p.m.

**Message to all Social Work School students from Dean Jeanette Takamura**

Columbia University will be closed tomorrow. All classes and events at all campuses have been canceled.

NOTE TO ALL M.S. STUDENTS: We have already alerted your practicum agencies (on Friday) that a Columbia closure would mean that you will not be in practicum when the university is closed. Our primary concern is your safety.

As we hope you already know, the subway system will shut down at 7:00 p.m. tonight. We do not know when it will reopen. If the subways are down on Tuesday as well, we do not expect you to be at your practicum agency and classes will likely be cancelled and rescheduled. PLEASE CHECK THE COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY HOME PAGE AS WELL AS THIS PAGE for the latest advisories. You may also  call 212-854-1754 for updates. As a rule, we will not hold classes or expect you in practicum while transportation systems are not running.

Of course, if electricity is down, our ability to communicate will be dramatically compromised. Bear in mind that this means that card swipes into the building, elevators, phones, ATMs, credit card swipe machines all will not work. If you are stuck in our building elevator, we may not be able to get to you if we cannot get into the building. If you can, get to an ATM to withdraw whatever you will need to make purchases when stores reopen.

Be sure to have flashlights and batteries, canned foods, manual can openers, wipes, essential medications, etc. on hand. Hand crank flashlights can be reliable. Do NOT use candles or burners. Keep windows closed and draw your curtains and shades when the storm starts to minimize the wind and flying objects coming throughout, etc. Stay away from windows. Use the stairs as much as possible. Power up your computers, phones, etc. now. If electricity is not down, it will help to have those powered up now so that there is not a heavier load on the system during the storm. Put whatever you want to keep safe and dry in areas where wind and rain are least likely to reach. Put important documents in plastic baggies. Have at least one other person know where you are/will be during the storm.

We will get thought this well if we take all the necessary precautions.

Keep safe, above all.


Updated — Sunday, October 28, 12:00 p.m.

No role-plays will take place after 2:00 p.m today. Computer lab and Social Work Library will close by 2:30. SUBWAYS WILL SHUT DOWN AT 7:00 P.M. PLEASE GET HOME WELL BEFORE THEN. Continue to check this page and the CU Home Page. We will continue to update this page as the situation evolves.

The School of Social Work is NOT in a designated flood zone/evacuation zone. However, all CUSSW students, faculty and staff should stay tuned to local media to monitor changing conditions, status of NYC public transportation, and any emergency instructions. You can also call 311 for information.

The New York City Office of Emergency Management (OEM)* has issued the following guidelines:

  • All windows should be closed and blinds or shades should be down and in the fully closed position. This includes common kitchens, bathrooms, and hallways.
  • Prepare to be self-sufficient for at least three days without help or emergency services. Prepare a Go Bag and an Emergency Supply Kit. Assume that many of the streets and stores in your neighborhood will be closed. A watch may be followed by disruptions to electricity, gas, water or telephone service.
  • Check on friends, relatives and neighbors, especially those with disabilities or special needs and assist them with their preparation, if possible. Contact family members outside your household to coordinate and inform each other about preparations. Avoid separating your immediate family. Consider developing a disaster plan.
  • If you own a vehicle, fill your gas tank. (OEM recommends public transportation.)
  • Shut windows securely.
  • Place valuables into waterproof containers or plastic bags.
  • Take out extra cash. (OEM recommends small denominations.)
  • If conditions become severe (flying debris due to high winds), residents who live above the 10th floor in New Residence Hall may be directed via intercom to take shelter below the 10th floor.
  • To keep perishable food cold, freeze water in plastic jugs and use in freezer or coolers. Fill up other emergency water containers.
  • Clean jugs, bottles and other containers. Scrub bathtubs thoroughly, sponge and swab with regular, unscented liquid chlorine bleach, then rinse. Let the tub and other containers dry. Fill with water.

*For additional information, please refer to the OEM publication: Ready New York: Hurricanes and New York City (available in 11 languages).


Update — Friday, Oct 27

Hurricane Sandy is projected to make landfall in the Greater New York Area on Monday, October 29. While forecasters do not know what the precise impact of the storm will be on our area, we urge all CUSSW students, faculty and staff to use caution in traveling during this period and follow updates posted here and on the CU Home Page for any effects on the University community. We will continue to update this page as the situation evolves.

NOTE: CUSSW will follow the protocol of the University, which will post University operations information on the CU Home Page. But even if the University remains open, there may still be social work class cancellations or CUSSW-specific storm-related information that is available ONLY ON THIS PAGE.

NOTE TO STUDENTS SCHEDULED FOR SUNDAY ROLE PLAYS: We expect all role plays to be held on schedule. If necessary, give yourself extra time to travel to CUSSW. If weather conditions change, then please check this page and/or call 212-851-2222 to check the School of Social Work's status.[SEE UPDATE ABOVE.]




  • If your instructors decide to cancel class due to the weather, they have been told to contact you directly, and to inform Dean Yoshioka. Be sure to check your e-mail frequently, along with this page.
  • practicum agencies have been informed that you will not show up if Columbia University closes.
  • If you have not already done so, we strongly encourage you to sign up for the University’s Emergency Text Message notification system in order to receive emergency updates on your mobile device. You may enroll online via SSOL.
  • If you decide to travel in storm conditions, do so WITH EXTREME CAUTION.


  • Make sure all windows are closed securely.
  • Turn off computers, lights and other equipment.
  • Move electrical or valuable items off floor and away from windows.
  • Inform your students by e-mail if you decide to cancel classes.
  • Inform Dean Yoshioka if you decide to cancel classes at


  • Inform your student interns if you decide to close your agency.
  • Inform Sheryl Sodohoue of our practicum Department if you decide to close your agency, at
  • Check the Columbia University Home Page—if Columbia closes, students will not report to their practicum sites.


  • Make sure all windows are closed securely.
  • Turn off computers, lights and other equipment.
  • Move electrical or valuable items off floor and away from windows.
  • If the University is open but you feel you cannot travel safely to work, then time away should be charged as a vacation day.
  • Make sure you can contact your staff by phone in case they do not have Internet access.
  • Questions? Contact Human Resources Director Kathryn Lewis at