PLANADA, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – According to school officials, 90% of Planada Elementary School is unusable. The nine atmospheric rivers the state endured caused major damage to the classrooms, making some of them uninhabitable.
Cesar E. Chavez Middle School in Planada is being used to house six different grades.
3rd through 5th graders from Planada Elementary School, and their regularly scheduled 6th through 8th graders.
“Only our kindergarten classrooms survived. We lost that chunk of our campus. My office and all of us have moved into the staff lounge,” said Principal Erica Villalobos.
Villalobos is the Principal of Planada Elementary School, a less than five-minute drive from Cesar E Chavez Middle School.
“The impact has been felt by the fact that our school has been split in half, and here they let us borrow one side of the campus,” she said.
For at least the next four to eight weeks, you can find two Principals on the middle school grounds.
“Using every nook and cranny that we have here in terms of our library space,” said Principal Ildefonso Nava.
Nava and his staff have opened their doors to Principal Villalobos and half of her students after the extensive storm damage only left one surviving wing of the school.
“Normally we have about 280 students here, we brought over around 300 elementary school students, so we pretty much doubled our population here,” said Principal Nava.
But it doesn’t seem like students are affected by it.
“They’re very resilient and super happy to be here. They’re so happy to be here, they give you that hug in the morning,” said Villalobos.
Teachers and staff are trying to make this adaption as smooth as possible, for as long as necessary.
“Our timeline is at least a year before our school will be able to get into,” she said.
According to school officials, there could be a temporary school that will be ready to take on students before a permanent solution can be found.