Paradise Loses 8 of 9 Schools to Camp Fire; Oroville District, Teacher Group Step Up to Help

Paradise Unified School District in California lost 8 of its 9 schools to the worst California wildfire in history – and at least one neighboring district has intervened to help students displaced by the tragedy return to school.

The Chico-Enterprise Record reported the Oroville City Elementary School District (OCESD) plans to reassign some of its own students within its own district in order to make room for some of the Paradise students.

Paradise Unified Superintendent Michelle John confirmed to the Enterprise-Record that the fast-moving Camp Fire burned eight schools. By all indications, she and the Teachers Association of Paradise (TAP) appear resourceful in the wake of such destruction.

John seeks more buildings to serve as temporary classrooms. She and OCESD Superintendent Spence Holtom announced school will resume on Dec. 3 and that announcements of temporary locations are forthcoming.

Among TAP proposals for getting students back on the learning track are offering online classes and placing at least two teachers in each temporary brick-and-mortar classroom to better guide students suffering from post-fire trauma.

Rachel Kagan, TAP vice president, said in a press release that some families enrolled temporarily in other school districts, but the association aims to reunite all Paradise students with their classmates and teachers.

Oroville may shuffle its students to available space among its schools to make room for Paradise students.

It's vital that Butte County districts collaborate in supporting the Paradise school district, said Holtom.

"The Oroville City Elementary School District will continue to support our Paradise friends and family who have lost so much," said Holtom.

At least 3,800 of more than 4,200 Paradise Unified students lost their homes in the Camp Fire, reported The Sacramento Bee. Untold numbers of teachers and school board members reportedly lost their homes, too,

Both the Butte County Office of Education and the Paradise Unified websites list thorough resources for displaced students, parents, families and Camp Fire victims as they cope with so much loss. See www.bcoe.org and www.pusdk12.org/.

The Camp Fire death toll has reached 83 and the number of missing persons has declined to 563 – a drop of 307 with a day, reported The Sacramento Bee. Two more people were located Wednesday, said Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea.

"I'm encouraged by the fact that we're continuing to account for and locate people," the sheriff told the newspaper.

Rain has helped clear the smoke-filled air in some areas, but now officials are concerned about potential flooding and post-fire debris flows in the burn areas, according to the newspaper.

Paradise Loses 8 of 9 Schools to Camp Fire; Oroville District, Teacher Group Step Up to Help | U.S.