Message from Superintendent Stone

Post date: Sep 18, 2015 5:11:30 PM

Dear Middletown USD families,

Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you as we begin, as a community, to recover from this terrible event. I want you to know that we are working very hard to have the schools ready as soon as possible so that we are ready for your children whenever we are allowed to return home. We think we may be able to open at the end of next week, or on Monday of the following week.

There is a lot of smoke, ash, and soot in some of our campuses, and this needs to be cleaned out (by wiping everything in the rooms and HEPA vacuuming) and then the air purified. All of the food in our refrigerators and freezers has spoiled and needs to be removed and replaced. This work begins with a large team from ATI coming in on Saturday. They are hoping to be done by Wednesday, but it depends on what they run into. I walked all the campuses with them on Tuesday, and we did a very thorough assessment, but it is always possible we missed something.

The Minnie Cannon, Coyote Valley, and Middle School campuses came through the fires without much smoke impact. The high school/ag program was impacted more, and Cobb School the most. The large rooms seemed to fare the worst and will need extensive cleaning: HS and MS gym, Coyote Valley and Cobb multipurpose rooms.

The Loconoma classroom and our maintenance facility burned. We will be replacing both and plan to move the Loconoma program over to another classroom until their building is replaced.

As you can guess, Cobb School has a huge amount of smoke, soot, and ash infiltration. This leaves the air unhealthy to breathe in the schoolrooms. Because of the way the school was built with those lovely peaked roofs, the smoke and soot are very concentrated in the attics. The team is going to need to access these areas to get it all cleaned out. They’re also going to need to replace a lot of ceiling tiles, clean all carpets, wipe down every single thing in every single room, and then run air purifiers for some days. It may take two months to get that campus ready for the staff and kids again. We are developing plans to bring the Cobb kids and their teachers into town until Cobb reopens. Our goal is to keep everyone together.

We are also working on getting our sewers and wells back online district wide. Our school buses seem to be fine. They get checked out today. ATT has placed an emergency communication satellite and generator on the Cobb field. This will be there until the ATT lines are repaired so that the community has 911 access.

A number of our teachers, staff members, and principals have lost their homes, as have so many of our families. We know that some families will need to stay elsewhere for awhile. Anyone in that situation has the right to enroll their student(s) in the local schools until they can return. We are also trying to figure out a way to provide bus service into the district for those of you who are staying in Clearlake and Kelseyville and areas nearby and want your children to continue to attend our schools.

Middletown USD families, we are here to teach and support your children in every way we can. We are very anxious to get things back to normal for all of our students and know that you, our community, feels the same way. We will have teams of counselors and mental health professionals on campuses to help us transition the children back into school and deal with the trauma of the Valley Fire. There are going to be some bumps in the road, and we hope you’ll be patient with us as we deal with them.

If you have any further questions or concerns, please feel free to e-mail me. As long as I can keep my devices charged up, I will respond.

Love to you all,

Catherine Stone

Superintendent, Middletown Schools