UNC Wilmington students' lives uprooted three years in a row

Josh Chapin Image
Friday, May 1, 2020
UNC Wilmington students' lives uprooted three years in a row
For the past two years, the two UNC Wilmington students have had to deal with both Hurricanes Florence and Dorian, this year, the coronavirus pandemic.

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- For the third year in a row, a Wake County dad has to deal with the lives of his daughters being uprooted.

Jon Olson's twin girls, Hanna and Camille, are both juniors at UNC Wilmington and they were sent home because of Hurricanes Florence and Dorian.

"You get acclimated when your kids go away to college and then you sort of feel for them because there's that social experience being out on your own, building your own life," said Jon Olson who's also the deputy director of operations for Wake County EMS.

Olson was supposed to have been in Wilmington this past weekend for his daughters' dance recitals. Instead, they're at home with him and are hopeful campuses will be open for the fall semester.

Florence sent them home for six weeks, Dorian a week.

"It was crazy," Hanna said. "I never thought it was going to end. It feels like that now too."

The interim president of the UNC System said this week he's hopeful to have students back on campuses around the state by the fall in some form.

RELATED: UNC System interim president says he plans to reopen campuses for 2020 fall semester but with changes

Camille and Hanna want to be back to start their senior year.

"Safety is definitely the number one priority," Camille said. "Of course we want to go back but even if we go back wearing face masks, that's completely fine with us."

Olson feels UNC-W was uniquely prepared to deal with the pandemic given what they went through with Florence.

"I think there will be some changes but again human culture is very resilient," he said. "Folks talk about this new normal. I don't think it will be a new normal may be a better normal."

He said Wake County EMS and everyone is dealing with an event that doesn't have a playbook. He said SARS and MERS gave them a taste but this is different.