Sonoma Valley school employees are hard at work this week preparing most district campuses to reopen on Monday, Oct. 23 – with the lone exception being Dunbary Elementary School, which plans to open a day later on Oct. 24. The Kenwood School will open on Friday, Oct. 27.
In an Oct. 18 letter to school families, Charles Young, superintendent of the Sonoma Valley Unified School District, said that safety is the highest priority as SVUSD staff prepares for the return of students.
Electrical power, internet connections, and phone service have been restored at all campuses and the district office.
To ensure air quality within classrooms, office spaces, libraries, and all other buildings, all HVAC filters are now being replaced. Young anticipates this will be completed before staff returns on Thursday.
All walkways are being power washed and each classroom, work, and eating area is having surface areas cleaned of any dust or ash that resulted from the fire.
At Dunbar, the one site that sustained fire-related damage, the kindergarten playground equipment will be removed and plans put in place to replace it. The play yard will be cleaned as well. While some paint did peel off a wall, there was no structural damage and cleaning and repainting will resolve that issue.
Staff members are currently taking detailed surveys of all campuses and worksites to determine what additional steps need to be taken regarding air quality.
There is now a link available to staff and parents on the district webpage (sonomaschools.org) to a website that advises you on the current air quality conditions. District personnel and school administrators will use this information and EPA guidelines to determine the daily outdoor level of activity for students and staff.
In addition to preparing the buildings and facilities, teachers and staff are meeting Thursday and Friday to prepare to receive students.
Counselors and other school site personnel attended training sessions through the Sonoma County Office of Education this week. On Thursday, they trained all staff on addressing the social-emotional needs of students and families as well as helping students acknowledge and deal with trauma.
On Thursday and Friday, teachers had time to review and revise instructional plans to address the loss of 10 instructional days.
The non-student day on Oct. 30 will now be a regular school day for all students and staff.
He praised the school site staff for their “extraordinary effort and excellence” they showed in taking care of the many evacuees who used Sonoma Valley school campuses.
“We know that this is a difficult time for many in our Valley, and we remain committed to providing safe, warm, dry places where students can heal and learn together,” said Young.
Presentation School and St. Francis School will both reopen on Monday, Sonoma Academy and Justin-Siena students returned to school last Wednesday, Oct. 18. The Kenwood School has tentative plans to reopen on Oct. 24.