Schools close for second day

GLENDALE — School districts in Glendale and La Cañada will cancel classes for a second consecutive day as campuses across the valley cope with smoky conditions and poor air quality from the Station fire.

District officials said school campuses were not in danger of catching fire, and that plans for starting the school year Wednesday would assessed throughout the day.

“We want it to be safe for everyone,” said Elana Heimerl, a spokeswoman for Glendale Unified School District. “We want everyone to have the best chance at beginning the school year they can.”

Many Glendale teachers live in the district and a handful had to evacuate their homes, Heimerl said.

Officials are urging parents and teachers to call specific campuses with any questions, but are updating www.gusd.net and www.lcusd.net every few hours with additional information.

Schools ordinarily lose funding when classes get canceled unless local officials can provide Sacramento a clear and compelling reason for closure, officials said. “That’s why we were very deliberate with this and unable to make a decision to say, ‘We would be closed for two days,’” said Joel Peterson, president of La Cañada Unified School District Board of Education.

When school eventually begins district officials said they may limit outdoor activity in response to substandard air quality. Los Angeles County public health officials have extended air quality warnings through this weekend. They also advised all individuals to be cautious and to avoid unnecessary outdoor activities where smoke can be seen or smelled.

Burbank Unified School District switched to a “rainy day” schedule to minimize students’ outdoor exposure, spokeswoman DeDe Ching said.

Hazy and smoky conditions linger over some campuses, but air conditioning units are filtering particles or debris, she added. Officials expect some parents will keep students home if they have sensitive repertory systems, but facility managers said the air conditioning units were working well.

Glendale Community College started classes Monday, and sports teams were restricted to either indoor and air conditioned practices, or light workouts in the afternoon.

“We’re very mindful of air quality, so were trying to take it easy,” athletic department spokesman Alex Leon said.

Students and faculty members were free to leave campus without penalty if air conditions became problematic, spokeswoman Wendy Grove said.


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