Medical Students Race to Get Back to Antigua

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A number of third year and fourth year medical students from the American University of Antigua (AUA) College of Medicine are scrambling to get back to Antigua, after leaving the island in expectation of Hurricane Irma.
The Category 5 hurricane had frightened many students into leaving for safer countries, especially when the unprecedented storm was forecast to hit Antigua by September 5, 2017.
But now that the storm threat is over and the semester has begun, several students are having difficulty booking flights back into the island, in time for the new academic session.
On Thursday, Robert Mallin, the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Executive Dean at the Antigua Campus, wrote to students to inform them of the option of taking “Extended Leave of Absence” and returning next semester.
In the correspondence, Mallin said he had been receiving emails that suggest that some of the students may not make it back until late next week.  
“Since we had to begin classes as soon as possible after the storm, we began classes on Tuesday of this week. This means that those of you who do not get back to campus until late next week will miss close to two weeks of classes,” the statement read.
He told students that while the school is prepared to assist them to the best of its ability, having experienced such situations “students who miss more than one week of classes frequently are unable to rally quickly enough to successfully complete the semester.”
The school’s Vice President added that students ran the danger of being put in “academic difficulty” and their decision to skip this semester, would ensure that their academic record would not be compromised by the unforeseen weather conditions and allow them “a fresh start next semester.”
He acknowledged that such a decision might have financial or loan implications, and he encouraged those students pondering such a plan of action to liaise with the financial aid office at their New York location.
Mallin also asked students who would not be able to arrive on Antigua on time, to email their academic advisor before making a decision.
Regional Airline LIAT had warned of this dilemma last week, after explaining Hurricane Irma and Jose had caused major disruption to its airline schedules.
LIAT’s Corporate Communications Manager, Shavar Maloney, had asked travellers who did not yet have flights through the airline, not to make any bookings if unable to get a straight flight to their destination.

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