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Schools Offer Services to Stranded Students

The Federal Aviation Administration grounded commercial flights after hijacked airplanes crashed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania on Tuesday morning.

But the FAA began to allow limited air travel Wednesday for flights forced to land prematurely Tuesday morning.

According to CNN, senior FAA officials say the flight restrictions will start to be lifted sometime today.

Greyhound buses and Amtrak trains have suspended service to Washington, D.C., and New York until further notice.

Sue Kitchen, vice chancellor for student affairs at UNC, said that because students facing family emergencies are unable to travel, the most important thing for them to do right now is seek counseling. "If a student is anxious or has a family member who has been killed, and they want to get home or need counseling, they should either go to counseling services, the Office of the Dean of Students or my office," she said.

Kitchen said the volatile nature of the situation makes it hard for school officials to take concrete measures to assist students in traveling home. "The reason why we can't stock something together is because the situation is always changing."

Officials announced Tuesday that Student Health Service's Counseling and Psychological Service is offering walk-in assistance for students who need immediate guidance. CAPS also is sending counselors throughout campus to talk to students identified as needing assistance.

Keith Lawrence, assistant director for the Duke News Service, said Duke students also are being offered assistance in coping with the shock of Tuesday's attack. "Counseling and psychological services have been offered, as well as telephones to those students trying to call in the more stricken areas of New York and D.C.," Lawrence said.

Lawrence said he sympathized with affected students but cited governmental requests to limit travel as obstacles to students getting home. "Government officials are strongly discouraging anyone to travel to New York or D.C. at this time," he said. "They're not looking for people to add to traffic congestion."

Thomas Stafford, vice chancellor for student affairs at N.C. State University, said that although travel currently is difficult, he does not know of any student who is attempting to get home. "Travel is not real easy right now, especially in those areas," he said. "(But) I am not aware of any problems students are having right now in getting home."

R.C. Shackleford, Raleigh-Durham International Airport deputy director, said in a press release that the airport will open under permission of the FAA, after implementing additional security measures. He also asked that people not call the airport.

But the airport will be changed in other ways. Midway Airlines, based at RDU, announced Wednesday that it was suspending all future operations and laying off 1,700 Triangle workers. The company, which declared bankruptcy Aug. 13, said the decision was based on an estimated decline in passengers.

Lee Salter, director of counseling at N.C. State, said officials can't stop students from traveling home -- only give them advice. "Some students are wanting to go home, and what a student does is an individual decision," he said.

Salter said the most important thing for everyone right now is to talk things through. "Other students have been impacted as well as those directly affected," he said. "All will need some support."

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