Hundreds of schools and more than a dozen school districts close amid several wildfires that choked the Los Angeles area.
Over 50 Los Angeles Unified and over 30 charter schools were closed Wednesday, and the district announced later that evening that those schools and 200 others would remain closed for the rest of the week. Dozens of other school districts including those in Santa Monica, Malibu, Ventura and Oxnard also kept students and staff home due to multiple fires sparked by Santa Ana winds.
One of those fires began near the Getty Center museum in Bel-Air, which burned several homes and closed the 405 freeway in both directions. Los Angeles Unified advised all students and staff residing within the affected area to remain home.
Meanwhile, the Rye Fire that started north of Los Angeles San Fernando Valley closed all Simi Valley Unified School District campuses due to poor air quality and even canceled a middle school winter concert
District spokeswoman Jake Finch said Simi Valley’s fleet of special education school buses were on alert for any evacuations or other assistance local authorities needed. She added that school was scheduled to resume Thursday but that the situation remained “fluid.”
“The winds are supposed to come back and with a vengeance later,” Finch said Wednesday morning. “If we have any new fires, that could obviously change things.”
Los Angeles Unified also issued an advisory for campuses impacted by smoke and ash. For schools still in session, LAUSD is directing students and staff to “shelter-in-place” and cease all outdoor activities. Outside access should only be granted on a limited basis, such as to access restrooms or other facilities.
It also advised to only use air conditioning or heaters if air intakes are closed and for accumulation of ash to be cleaned up regularly.