As Hurricane Florence approaches, Duke's dining staff will serve students as usual. 

Duke cancelled classes after 5 p.m. Wednesday and activated the severe weather policy noon Thursday, after which most offices closed. But some staff members—such as the dining staff—will still be working during the storm. 

Despite the forecast, several dining staff members said that they have no issues with working through the hurricane.

“I feel great about working during the hurricane,” said Joseph McDowell, a chef at Il Forno. “I have to feed Duke students. They gotta eat.”

McDowell added that he was not worried about the wind and the rain, and that he would be “right here” at Il Forno.

Devon Furgeson, an employee of Sprout, also said that he was not too worried about the weather. He explained that he has been keeping up with the forecast, and the weather here does not look severe.

“No one told me that I had to work. I told them if it was crazy, I wouldn’t come in, but if it was fine, I’d most definitely come in,” he said.

Furgeson added he has been in the same position before. When the severe weather policy was activated for snow earlier this year, he could not come into work because his car was snowed in. 

However, it seems that many workers will not have to drive to work during the hurricane. According to McDowell, Duke has arranged housing for some workers.

“They also put us in hotels so we could be available for you all,” he said, although he noted that he is staying at his own home.

Saladelia, a restaurant service which owns several dining locations on campus, is also taking appropriate measures for its workers.

Tyler Whitten, a worker at the Saladelia-owned dining location Cafe, said Saladelia has shut down most of locations in preparation for the storm, although he and his colleagues continue to work on campus. 

“It’s not bad,” he said. “They’re cutting our hours appropriately, and they’re not making anyone work that doesn’t feel safe or can’t come in.”

Whitten added that Saladelia has made sure that staff have reliable transportation, and that they will be able to get in and out of work safely.

Antwan Lofton, assistant vice president of human resources, wrote in an email that in severe weather, positions such as police officers, bus drivers, housekeepers and food workers are considered essential employees.

"Unlike many other employers, Duke never closes during times of severe weather or emergency conditions," Lofton wrote in an email. "We are a residential campus for thousands of students, we provide critical care for patients in our hospitals and we support a complex research environment 365 days a year."

Duke provides support, such as transportation, housing and meals, for the employees.

"During such extraordinary times, we consistently see our essential service staff members come together to provide exceptional service to ensure we maintain critical operations and support for those entrusted to our care," he wrote.

Bre Bradham contributed reporting.