Dear Families,

Please see the below information from Hillsborough County Schools. HTLS will follow the decision of HCPS and close Thursday & Friday, September 7th-8th. Stay safe and we will keep you updated with any additional information.

All of Florida is facing a threat more serious than at any time in recent memory. Our school buildings and our 25,000 employees need time to prepare their facilities and families for the possibly devastating effects of Hurricane Irma.

Because of this, Hillsborough County Public Schools will close both Thursday and Friday, September 7th and 8th. In addition, all after-school activities will be cancelled for Thursday and Friday.

The timing of these closures is supported by Hillsborough County’s Director of Emergency Management.

Our area may not feel the effects of the storm until Saturday or Sunday, and the weather still may be normal in our area on Thursday or Friday, but there are several reasons for the decision to close schools:

- Our principals and staff need time to prepare their buildings for possible flooding and intense wind damage. Houston schools took major damage and lost incredible amounts of educational materials and technology in Hurricane Harvey; we want to work to prevent as much damage as possible here.

- As the largest employer in Hillsborough County, our 25,000 employees need time to prepare their families for this major emergency.

- Many schools may be opened as shelters by county emergency managers. Our staff and security teams need time to prepare those buildings to host evacuees from our area and across Florida.

Our schools serve as shelters for people who need our help, and we need to be ready to help them, just as they would help us in an emergency. We appreciate your understanding as we prepare to support our neighbors who need shelter.

We encourage our families to take Thursday and Friday to take necessary precautions and plan for Irma. Do not wait until the last minute. For more information on how to prepare, and on shelter locations -- including special needs and pet-friendly shelters – visit Hillsborough County’s emergency website: http://hillsboroughcounty.org/…/public…/emergency-management