September 27, 2021

Hurricane-ravaged Caribbean medical school relocates to cruise ship

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By Nereida Moreno From Chicago Tribune

In the wake of Hurricane Maria, Adtalem Global Education has turned to an unconventional facility to house its storm-ravaged Caribbean medical school campus: a cruise ship.

Classes will resume Monday on a “uniquely fitted cruise liner” docked off the coast of St. Kitts, where about 1,050 students from the Dominican-based Ross University School of Medicine will temporarily live and take classes, Downers Grove-based Adtalem said.

The majority of faculty and staff will still reside in land-based housing on St. Kitts, an island country in the West Indies, said Adtalem spokesman Ernest Gibble.

Adtalem Global Education, formerly known as the DeVry Education Group, operates several for-profit higher education institutions, including Carrington College and DeVry University.

More than 1,300 people were evacuated from Ross University School of Medicine after Hurricane Maria hit Dominica on Sept. 18 as a Category 5 storm. At least 27 people died after Maria devastated the island nation before continuing on to hit Puerto Rico.

Officials notified students of the cruise ship arrangement Friday and submitted a disclosure form with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that same day.

Adtalem and Ross University officials still are working to finalize the plan and obtain required regulatory approvals, according to the SEC document.

The university will draw on “instructional, professional and recreational resources” available at its sister school, Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine,”according to the SEC document.

Students will live and study on the cruise ship through December.

“We are exploring our location options for continued studies beyond that,” said Ross University Dean and Chancellor William F. Owen, Jr. in a statement. “The next locale is still being determined, but we can assure you that we are working diligently on a number of promising opportunities.”

University officials have not returned to the Dominica campus since they evacuated the island. It remains unclear when the campus will re-open.

IMAGE: An excavator scoops up piles of debris from the streets of Roseau, Dominica, as clean up and rebuilding efforts from the destruction caused by Hurricane Maria continues. Adtalem Global Education has relocated its storm-ravaged medical school on Dominica to a cruise ship. (AP)

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