I am always impressed with the gracious patience, desire to help, and steadfast support of the SFA community in difficult situations. Today was an excellent example of that "Spirit of St. Francis." Thank you for your calm response to many unexpected requests for immediate action and cooperation. We had a variety of challenges related to the high winds beginning early this morning. Below is a timeline of events. I am proud of our SFA team and the quick and effective manner in which each hurdle was addressed together.
7:30 am - Parents of Green Cohort students who learn in our outdoor classrooms were notified that they would not be able to come to campus due to high winds.
11:00 am - Winds continued to increase and indoor lunch and recess was declared.
11:15 am - Our tents began to give way to the winds and the staff parking lot was cleared.
12:06 pm - A text went out to parents regarding indoor lunch and our monitoring of the fires that began in our area.
12:20 pm - A tree fell on the roof behind our Sixth Grade classrooms. We moved all Sixth grade students to alternate learning spaces.
12:30 pm - Our tent company arrived and began dismantling our outdoor classrooms.
12:50 pm - We became aware of a fire in the hills located behind St. Francis and contacted OC Sheriffs and OC Fire Authority to determine if evacuation was necessary. They notified us that we were not in any danger at that time.
1:11 pm - Smoke began increasing and air quality rapidly diminished quickly. Administration decided to close the school out of an abundance of caution. A Parent Alert text was sent out indicating that we were closing the school and students needed to be picked up immediately.
2:05 pm - All students were out of classrooms and pick up was complete.
4:42 pm - Received notice for mandatory evacuation of our area. Sheriffs were located at the bottom of Eastside Circle.
Special thanks to our staff for their calm and collaborative efforts to keep students safe and happy while also efficiently carrying out their duties in a very challenging situation. We also had several parents show up to help wherever they were needed, including several parents in law enforcement who assisted with traffic control and evacuation. We are grateful for their expertise and timing as God definitely knew what we needed today.
The plan for tomorrow is to keep all students at home learning independently. Teachers will post a Zoom time to "check-in" with students to make sure they are doing well. They will post work for the day and students can work at their own pace. Should there be any questions on the work, please email your teachers for assistance and allow time for their response. Some of our faculty may have been affected by evacuations and reception could be challenging. We will reevaluate the situation throughout the day tomorrow and communicate our plan for the rest of the week once we have a better understanding of air quality and safe campus learning spaces.
Let us continue to pray for our school families affected by these fires and for our beloved campus, that St. Francis will continue to watch over and protect us all!
Be safe and be hopeful,