Santa Rosa City Schools begins reopening schools


Classes will resume at 13 Santa Rosa school campuses today, Santa Rosa school district officials announced at a meeting held Wednesday at Piner High School.

The remaining 11 of the district’s 24 closed campuses will reopen Monday.

The meeting was part of the Santa Rosa City School District’s efforts to get school life up and running almost three weeks after the Santa Rosa firestorm shuttered those two dozen sites and its district office. The reopening follows a massive cleanup effort that involved more than 200 workers scouring 2 million square feet of wall, floor and air space.

Cleaning crews have worked around the clock to prepare the campuses for students, Diann Kitamura, Santa Rosa City Schools superintendent, said during the meeting Wednesday. Kitamura said all the campuses were in some way impacted by the fire and had to be professionally cleaned. Some 3,000 HVAC air filters were replaced, four high school turf fields were remediated and assessments were conducted by professional air and water hygienists.

Elementary schools scheduled to reopen Friday include: Biella, Brook Hill, Burbank, Hidden Valley, Lehman, Lincoln, Monroe, Proctor Terrace, Steele Lane. Rincon Valley Middle School, Santa Rosa Accelerated Charter, Piner High and Maria Carrillo High.

Schools to be opened on Monday include: Comstock Middle, Cook Middle, Slater Middle, Santa Rosa Middle, Elsie Allen High, Montgomery High, Ridgway High, Santa Rosa High, Santa Rosa Charter School for the Arts, Santa Rosa French American Charter, Cesar Chavez Language Academy and Lewis Preschool.

Beyond the rolling evacuations that affected tens of thousands of local residents, officials said the fires destroyed the homes of almost 80 district teachers and staff and more than 900 students have homes that are in fire zones.

“Our children, our staff have faced a tragic event and now our goal is to help all of our children and staff return to stability and familiarity,” Kitamura said. “At this time we don’t even know exactly what’s going to be the impact until they get back to school.”

Teachers and staff were asked to return to schools two days before the scheduled reopening dates to meet with each other and counselors who have been brought in to all the school sites. The teachers are in the process of adjusting lessons and prepare their classrooms.

Jenni Klose, president of the Santa Rosa City School Board, called the reopening of schools an important step in a long process of healing.

“It’s really the beginning, and it’s not going to be easy and fast,” she said.

You can reach Staff Writer Martin Espinoza at 707-521-5213 or On Twitter @renofish.