School and Business Closures Due to Wildfires

School and Business Closures Due to Wildfires

Devastation, tragedy and uncertainty is what has consumed these past two weeks. Multiple fires have caused schools and businesses to close. On the night of Sunday October 8th these wildfires started and therefore all the Napa schools closed starting Monday the 9th. As for the businesses it varied, some stayed open while others closed. Hotels near the fire were evacuated and no one went to school until further notice.

Once the air quality started to reach toxic levels, the Napa Valley Unified School District along with a few others decided to close the Monday after the fires had started. As air quality continued to worsen school closures remained in effect. Closures accumulated to two weeks total.  

The school officials decided to close down the sites because during the beginning of the fires the air quality was at the toxic levels, and people were advised to stay in their homes and if they needed to go outside to wear a smoke protective mask. Therefore, they would not let all students and employees go back to school until the air quality was in at least the orange category (Harmful for some groups).

Across California there were a total of 8 active wildfires that are not yet fully contained though we are making progress. Seven burned in northern California, while one more was wiping out a small part of southern California. As a total they were 201,552 acres and on average are 89.125% contained. All schools in Solano County, Sonoma County, Napa County, Yuba County, Mendocino County, and Butte County were closed and had different reopening dates depending on their location and distance from the fire.

Though this situation was and still is really terrifying and sad, could there be any advantage to being out of school for two weeks? And if there were what would they be? What were the disadvantages too? Well, Connor Ross an eighth grade student at Harvest Middle School said, “ A disadvantage for not being at school was losing practice for subjects.” He also said, “An advantage of not being at school was not having to deal with homework.”

Jacob Warren, who is also an eighth grade student at Harvest Middle School said, “An advantage of not being at school for two weeks was getting to refresh my brain and rest.” He then said, “A disadvantage was no one got to learn and now they have to catch up and cram for all these summatives.”

Even though many businesses and schools were affected by the air quality, being out of school for two weeks, and the communities being damaged by these fires they are still there and are working to put back together their community piece by piece until they are whole again.