AUBERRY, California (KGPE) – School reopening is difficult for students as school district leaders across the state, but one school in the Creek Fire burn area has found it even more challenging.
Pine Ridge Elementary in Auberry started school today after being closed due to COVID-19, the Creek Fire, and power outages.
“We were chomping at the bit to get back started, but the part that I feel the worst about is the yo-yo with students,” said Steve Rosa, the Superintendent Principal of Pine Ridge Elementary School. “Alright we’re going to be able to – we can’t – we’re going to be able to – we can’t. So to finally have everything cooperate and be able to welcome kids: it’s great.”
106 students attended Pine Ridge before the pandemic and 84 returned on Thursday.
“Unfortunately, we’ve lost a few families that have relocated due to the Creek Fire. Also, we’ve had a number of families that have chosen to homeschool their children or enroll in different schools just because they were open already.”
Nonetheless, the superintendent says they are just happy to still be around and be back in session.
“We were very fortunate that our school was not burned down. I mean, you probably look around and can see some of the landscape here. It’s been devastated.”
The elementary school only lost part of a playground in the Creek Fire, as well as some vehicles off the main campus.
“To welcome folks back, all they needed was what’s in that building, that’s all they needed and they were super happy. This community here, when you want to test resilience, we’re second to none.”
Pine Ridge Elementary is now in school full-time and fully in-person, with COVID-19 regulations in place.