Polk County public schools will be closed on Thursday, as well as today and Wednesday, the school district announced today. As Hurricane Ian approaches, LkldNow is updating our lists of major closings, shelters and other services related to the storm. Please send updates to newstips@lkldnow.com.


  • Polk County Public Schools are closed Tuesday through Thursday. | More info
  • Polk State College is open Tuesday until noon and the college will be closed Wednesday and Thursday | Check for updates
  • Florida Southern College cancelled all classes this week.
  • Southeastern University classes are cancelled Wednesday through Friday and university offices will be closed at least Wednesday and Thursday | Check for updates
  • Florida Polytechnic University classes are canceled Tuesday through Friday and university offices will be closed Wednesday and Thursday | Check for updates
  • The Schools of McKeel Academy are closed Tuesday and Wednesday | Check for updates
  • Lakeland Christian School is closed Wednesday and Thursday.
  • All-Saints Academy is closed Tuesday and Wednesday | Check for updates
Marisa Clark of Lakeland had help with sandbags Monday at the Mulberry location of Polk County Roads and Drainage division. Clark, who lives off Pipkin Rd., said areas around her residence experienced flooding several weeks ago during heavy rainstorms. | Donna Renfroe | LkldNow


Polk County’s seven sandbag-filling locations close Tuesday at 11:30 in order to transition into post-storm recovery centers. The closest to Lakeland are:

Garbage collection

City of Lakeland garbage and recycling has been suspended because the Polk County Landfill is closed until further notice, city spokesman Kevin Cook said. Residents are urged to secure loose debris and not place yard trash at the curb until after the storm passes | Check for updates

Polk County: For residents of unincorporated Polk, there will be no residential garbage collection by county contractors on Wednesday or Thursday. Those customers will be served one week later. There is no change to Friday’s collection schedule.


Polk County government is opening 13 emergency shelters at public schools — five of them in Lakeland — starting at noon on Tuesday. In addition, separate shelters will open for people with special needs and people with pets.

The five Lakeland locations are:

  • Sleepy Hill Elementary School, 2285 Sleepy Hill Road
  • R. Bruce Wagner Elementary School, 5500 Yates Road
  • George Jenkins High School, 6000 Lakeland Highlands Road
  • Highlands Grove Elementary, 4510 Lakeland Highlands Road
  • Kathleen High School, 1100 Red Devil Way

The other Polk locations are:

  • Horizons Elementary School, 1700 Forest Lake Drive, Davenport
  • Chain Of Lakes Elementary School. 7001 Hwy 653, Winter Haven
  • Mulberry Middle School, 500 SE Martin Luther King Jr Ave., Mulberry
  • Spessard Holland Elementary, 2342 E.F. Griffin Road, Bartow
  • Auburndale High School, 1 Bloodhound Trail, Auburndale
  • Citrus Ridge Academy, 1775 Sand Mine Road, Davenport
  • Lake Marion Creek Middle School, 3055 Lake Marion Creek Drive, Poinciana
  • Winter Haven High School, 600 6th St. SE, Winter Haven

Those coming to shelters are asked to bring a seven-day survival kit since shelters will not have the comforts of home. No alcoholic beverages are allowed. Before going, check shelter policies here.

Special needs shelters are opening at 7 a.m. Tuesday under Polk County Emergency Management’s Special Needs Program, which “is designed to provide shelter and/or transportation for residents with medical or physical conditions and/or dependent on medical electrical equipment who require assistance during an emergency,” county spokeswoman Mianne Nelson said. Locations are:

  • McKeel Academy, 1810 W. Parker St., Lakeland
  • Florida Department of Health Specialty Care Unit, 1255 Brice Blvd., Bartow
  • Ridge Community High School, 500 Orchid Drive, Davenport

Pet-friendly shelters open Tuesday at noon at

  • Tenoroc High School, 4905 Saddle Creek Road, Lakeland
  • Lake Region High School. 1995 Thunder Road, Eagle Lake
  • Haines City High School. 2800 Hornet Drive, Haines City

Pet owners must bring shot records for their pets, an airline-approved carrying case or crate and pet food.

Polk County Emergency Services

A Citizen’s Information Line has been activated by Polk County Emergency Services. It can be reached at (863) 401-2234 (locally) or toll-free 866-661-0228. The line will remain open during business hours throughout the storm.

More information from Polk County Emergency Management can be found on:

Public transportation

Citrus Connection fixed routes end early today so that buses can transport residents from the downtown terminal to public shelters. Check schedules below.


Publix Super Markets will close stores in the path of the storm early and plans to reopen them on Friday. A map on the Publix website gives store-by-store details. Current plans call for Lakeland stores to close Wednesday at 4 p.m. and reopen on Friday at 7 p.m., but that could change.

Health care

  • Lakeland Regional Health is cancelling elective procedures at the medical center, as well as all physician office visits (including Urgent Care) on Wednesday and Thursday. Corporate offices will also be closed Wednesday and Thursday.
  • Watson Clinic offices will be closed Wednesday and Thursday
  • COVID-19 testing at the RP Funding Center will be closed Wednesday and Thursday.

Government offices

City of Lakeland and Polk County government offices and facilities are closed on Wednesday and Thursday. The Lakeland closures include parks, recreation centers and libraries.


  • Amazon has cancelled air cargo flights to and from Lakeland Linder International Airport as of Tuesday.
  • The NOAA Hurricane Hunters are relocating their aircraft from Lakeland Linder to Houston to avoid being grounded by the storm.

Helpful links from LakelandMom.com

Facebook Pages to follow for updates: 

SEND CORRECTIONS, questions, feedback or news tips: newstips@lkldnow.com


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Barry Friedman founded Lkldnow.com in 2015 as the culmination of a career in print and digital journalism. Since 1982, he has used the tools of reporting, editing and content curation to help people in Lakeland understand their community better.

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