This week’s wildfires in Northern California and Southern California have left school districts and students in a state of emergency.
These devastating fires have destroyed neighborhoods, forced many schools to remain closed, displaced families and students and are an ongoing concern. In response, state and local authorities are working to provide relief and public safety.
At the state level, the California Department of Education has said it will help schools and districts recoup Average Daily Attendance funds. The CDE also said its Nutrition Services Division has sent two truckloads of frozen food and dry goods to the Redwood Empire Food Bank in Santa Rosa to assist fire victims.
“Schools should not suffer financially or in any other way for putting safety first in any kind of emergency,” State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said.
Schools surrounding disaster areas have provided critical shelter for evacuees from impacted communities. Many schools have also cancelled or limited sports and outdoor activities due to health hazards from smoke. For individuals who want to provide assistance, a number of organizations are seeking donations of both supplies and critical personnel. A partial list of these groups can be found here.
For school leaders concerned about wildfires and other emergencies in their own communities, there are several recommend steps to help prepare. Among them:
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