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At least 90 students at San Lorenzo Valley School District lost homes in CZU August Lightning Complex

Crews clean-up inside the San Lorenzo Valley School Library

FELTON, Calif. (KION) The destruction from the CZU August Lightning Complex fires is taking a toll on education in the San Lorenzo Valley. After only three days of distance learning, the school district had to cancel classes due to the wildfires in August.

“It's going to take some time to heal, but at least the schools are in tact,” SLVUSD Deputy Superintendent Chris Schiermeyer said.

The school district tells KION they plan on resuming online learning on Sept. 14, and next week will begin passing out necessary materials for students in need.

“Whether they lost everything and they need a full replacement, or just weren’t able to grab the things when they left and they need those materials until they have access to their homes,” Schiermeyer said.

At San Lorenzo Valley High School, middle school and elementary clean-up crews are sweeping up ash outside and cleaning the inside of buildings that could have been affected by smoke or ash.

More than 90 students and six faculty members in the district lost their homes in the fires. Hundreds of families are also still evacuated, like Adrienne McConnell’s family in Bonny Doon.

“I think we’re at 17 days [evacuated]. "Our area is one of those that has been so impacted as far as the power grid and water,” parent and SLVUSD employee Adrienne McConnell said.

McConnell's daughter is a sixth grader and will likely resume distance learning while they're evacuated in Humboldt County.

“We are looking forward to being back home so on a day-to-day situation not quite sure where we’re going to be. For the school day it's important that children are in one particularly stable environment,” McConnell said.

Insurance is helping with clean-up costs for the district and one-time state funding will be used for any lost supplies students will need.

The district is offering mental health counseling for students and faculty.

“Our community is so strong as we’ve seen, and the school is really the center piece of that community,” McConnell said.

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Drew Andre

Drew Andre is a multi-media journalist at KION News Channel 5/46.


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