MALIBU (CBSLA) – More than a week after the Woolsey Fire erupted in the Southland, destroying hundreds of homes and damaging structures, officials said public schools in Malibu would remain closed through at least Thanksgiving.
In a statement released Friday, the Malibu School District said all four of the schools would be closed through the week of Thanksgiving, if not longer.
“It has been a very difficult week for many of our families and staff members impacted by the Woolsey fire, with parts of Malibu still under evacuation orders. We are hopeful that no additional damage will result and that fire crews will continue making progress toward full containment. Three of our four Malibu schools are in areas still under evacuation orders,” according to the statement.
The school district conducted two inspections this week, and air quality testing will be conducted before schools reopen.
“We are thankful that all four schools appear to be in good condition, with no damage to buildings. The fire department did an incredible job protecting our schools,” officials said.
The district’s three elementary schools are in “good condition”, with some landscaping damage to Malibu High School.
“This is a time-consuming process requiring extensive work to our schools inside and out. We will work as quickly as we can while maintaining best practices with your health and well-being in mind,” the district said.
Webster Elementary School, according to school officials, appears to be the least impacted and is expected to reopen on Nov. 27th pending additional review next week. The other three Malibu schools are without power.
Point Dume Marine Science Elementary School, Juan Cabrillo Elementary School and Malibu High School are expected to open on Dec. 3rd.
A supervision program has been set up at Olympic High School for any displaced Malibu student. Preschool to 12th grade students can attend from 8:30 to 3 p.m. on Nov. 19 and 20, and from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Nov. 21, which is a minimum day. Lunch will be provided to students who are checked in by 9:30 am on Nov. 19 and 20. Those who are interested must submit this form.
Information on resources, including shelter, transportation and mental health services, can be found here. Emotional support will be available for students in need at school sites when schools reopen, as well as at Boys and Girls Club locations in Malibu when they reopen.
A Thanksgiving event will be held on Nov. 20 from 4 to 7 p.m. at Santa Monica High School, coordinated by several Malibu teachers.
“We are glad we are able to help with providing the facility and other aspects of the event for our families and staff. This free event is open to all families and staff at our Malibu schools. More
details are HERE and the RSVP to determine the approximate number of people coming. We are thankful to these teachers for orchestrating this big gathering in a few short days,” the school district said in its written statement.
The 98,362-acre Woolsey Fire was 82 percent contained as Saturday morning, with full containment expected by Monday. The blaze has destroyed a staggering 616 structures and damaged another 183. Three people have died in the fires and another at least three firefighters injured. About 57,000 structures remain threatened. The cause remains under investigation.