Updated at 4:05 p.m. on Oct. 11
All Orange County schools to open Thursday
Orange Unified has announced it will reopen the six schools that had been closed since Tuesday.
“With all Orange Unified School District campuses set to reopen Thursday, our Maintenance and Operations crews are working diligently to inspect every site that was closed as a result of the Canyon Fire 2, ensuring a safe return for both students and staff,” interim OUSD Superintendent Gunn Marie Hansen said in a letter to parents.
Fire crews had managed to contain at least 45 percent of the Canyon Fire 2 by early Wednesday afternoon, with more evacuation orders being lifted across the region, according to the Orange County Register. The fire has burned about 8,000 acres.
Orange Unified initially closed nine schools on Tuesday but reopened three of them on Wednesday. Tustin Unified similarly canceled classes and other school-related activities on Tuesday. But all schools throughout northern and eastern Orange County were expected to be open Thursday.
“Today, our thoughts and prayers are with all of those whose lives have been impacted by devastating fires,” Hansen said. “While we hope we never have to face these kinds of tragedies, it is important that we routinely prepare for them, ensuring a response that is well-rehearsed, collaborative and based on proven strategies and best practices.”
Hansen added that athletic events and physical education classes in Orange would resume based on advisories from the South Coast Air Quality Management District. Other districts across the region planned to monitor air quality reports to determine whether to limit P.E., sports and other outdoor activities.
On a related note, State Superintendent Tom Torlakson has announced that schools affected by wildfires won’t lose state funding because they closed, or because students stayed home.
Updated at 8:05 p.m. on Oct. 10
Some schools will reopen Wednesday, others to remain closed
The Canyon Fire 2 was 40 percent contained as of Tuesday evening, according to the Orange County Register, which was also reporting that most evacuations had been lifted.
Meanwhile, here’s the latest on school closures:
- The Orange Unified School District said it will reopen El Modena High School, Santiago Charter Middle School and El Rancho Charter Middle School on Wednesday.
- As a precaution, Orange Unified will keep the following campuses closed Wednesday: Anaheim Hills Elementary, Running Springs Elementary, Canyon Rim Elementary, Chapman Hills Elementary, Linda Vista Elementary and Panorama Elementary.
- The Tustin Unified School District announced that all of its campuses will reopen Wednesday, resuming their regular schedules. The district said it will follow recommended guidelines for outdoor activities based on local air quality reports.
Once again, the South Coast Air Quality Management District has issued an air quality advisory warning residents to avoid vigorous activities in areas impacted by smoke. Here are some additional tips:
- Keep your windows and doors closed or seek an alternate shelter.
- Run your air conditioner if you have one. Keep the fresh air intake closed and the filter clean to prevent bringing additional smoke inside.
- Avoid using a swamp cooler or whole-house fan to prevent bringing additional smoke inside.
- Avoid worsening the health effects of smoke, don’t use indoor or outdoor wood-burning appliances, including fireplaces.
Published at 7:45 a.m. on Oct. 10
Tustin Unified closes all campuses, Orange Unified closes 9
The brush fire that has consumed more than 7,500 acres forced the closure Tuesday of dozens of schools across northern and eastern Orange County.
Officials in Tustin Unified School District have canceled classes and all other school-related activities at all campuses. Meanwhile, Orange Unified School District officials have closed nine schools. They are:
- Anaheim Hills Elementary
- Running Springs Elementary
- Canyon Rim Elementary
- Chapman Hills Elementary
- Linda Vista Elementary
- Panorama Elementary
- Santiago Charter School
- El Rancho Charter School
- El Modena High School (closed to students and staff to serve as an evacuation center)
“The Orange USD family is heartbroken by the extensive impact the Canyon Fire 2 has had on our students in Orange and Anaheim Hills,” Orange Superintendent Gunn Marie Hansen said in a statement. “We are eagerly awaiting news regarding the evacuation orders so families can return to their homes.”
Hansen said that students who attend schools that remain open, but live in areas affected by evacuations or other fire-related issues, are also excused from classes. Their grades or attendance won’t be adversely impacted, she said.
Officials in both districts have said it’s still unclear when classes will resume.
In Anaheim Union High School District, Katella High School has been opened up as a shelter. Santiago Canyon College has also closed for the day.
Across the rest of Orange County, other districts will limit outdoor activities due to the smoke following a warning from the Air Quality Management District.
The Orange County Register is reporting that the Canyon Fire 2 was 5 percent contained as of Tuesday morning, with winds dying down a bit and the humidity increasing overnight. Still, winds are expected to kick up again throughout the day, making it tougher to battle the flames. The fire has destroyed at least 24 homes.