The Latest: Tears, hugs, anxiety at school after deadly fire
PARADISE, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on children returning to school after a deadly Northern California wildfire (all times local):
Children have returned to school across a Northern California county devastated by wildfire three weeks ago.
Butte County Office of Education Superintendent Tim Taylor says there were tears, hugs and anxiety as 31,000 children returned to school on Monday.
The county canceled all classes following the Nov. 8 wildfire that devastated some communities, inundated others with smoke and killed 88 people.
Nearly 5,000 public school students are going to classes in other buildings because their own schools were damaged or destroyed or are inside areas that are still evacuated.
Michelle John, who is superintendent of Paradise Unified School District, says counselors are in nearly every classroom to help children who were traumatized by their escape through a burning town and the loss of their homes.
She says counselors were brought in from around the country to work with teachers, many of whom lost their own homes, and prepare them to support the students.
Monday marks a return to school and some semblance of routine for thousands of children who lost their homes to a deadly wildfire in Northern California.
Schools in Butte County have been closed since Nov. 8, when the fire ignited and quickly swept through the towns of Paradise, Concow and Magalia in what would become the nation’s deadliest wildfire in a century.
Officials at the Paradise Unified School District aren’t sure how many of their students will show up at makeshift schools that will temporarily replace the eight sites lost to the flames.
But nearly all the teachers are returning to provide a familiar and comfortable face to the children who are able to make it to class.