RANCHO SANTA FE — The RSF School District reopened their doors on May 19, welcoming students back to campus. A combination of the Bernardo Fire and Poinsettia Fire were the deciding factors to halt school sessions late last week.
While crews battled the blaze of the Bernardo Fire on May 14, families had orders to evacuate along the southeastern quadrant of Rancho Santa Fe. Many were able to return home that evening, and school remained opened on Wednesday.
Things, however, changed when the fire erupted in Carlsbad on May 15.
“When the fires broke out in Carlsbad on Wednesday, we had several parents panic and we actually had approximately 12 staff members needing to leave because they lived in Carlsbad,” Superintendent Lindy Delaney said. “After this, I was on a conference call with the other superintendents in the county and listening to what everyone was doing; and, we decided it was in the best interest in the families that we not hold school on Thursday and Friday for a variety of reasons.”
These decisions were made day-by-day.
Looking back to last week, Delaney said the school has spent a great deal of time practicing for earthquake and fire drills and those efforts showed last week.
There are a total of 705 students in the RSF School District.
“I was very proud of our staff and students who handled things quietly, calmly and professionally — it was the way I would have hoped and expected them to,” she said.
While Delaney is thankful to their first responders, Fire Chief Tony Michel was of enormous help. Both had texted frequently so Delaney could be posted on the fire updates.
“Having access to him personally really helped the District because he was able to let me know exactly where the fire was, which areas our families were being affected, and who was being evacuated,” she said.
Delaney wants people to know that another significant help were the phone conferences the County Superintendent Randy Ward championed. It enabled Delaney to garner a better understanding on what their neighboring districts were doing.
Some Ranch residents were not able to return home until last Saturday. Delaney pointed out that she and the District realize how an evacuation takes an emotional toll on both the parents and children.
For the children, they have had a slow transition back into school.
Additionally, Delaney is aware that some students may have higher sensitivity regarding the Bernardo Fire particularly if they were more directly affected by it than others.
“If there is anything we need to do to help support any of the children emotionally, we do want parents to let us know,” Delaney said.