SSUSD Press Release July 7, 2019

SSUSD Press Release - July 7, 2019
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Sierra Sands Unified School District Recovers from Recent Earthquakes

and Resumes Certain Programs and Activities

Ridgecrest, CA – As we enter the recovery phase, we are thankful to learn that all of our families and students are safe, especially given the magnitude of the July 4 and 5, 2019 earthquakes.  However, we are deeply saddened to hear of the extensive property damage sustained by some families and community members and, especially, for the emotional impact this may have on our children.  The past few days, we have become aware of countless instances of neighbors and first responders helping neighbors and others to safety during the earthquakes and aftershocks and have been reminded of the perseverance and unwavering spirit of the entire Indian Wells Valley community.  Those qualities and many others will undoubtedly see us through this trying time.

Like many of those in our community who have suffered property damage, the District’s facilities have been affected by the earthquakes.  We have conducted a preliminary assessment of the District’s facilities and determined that many are intact and capable of providing safe learning and working environments for our students and staff.  However, our initial assessment has revealed that other District facilities will require repair and/or assessment by structural engineers and others with specialized qualifications before we conduct programs in them.

Of course, providing a safe learning environment for all of our students remains the District’s highest priority.  Through the past several days, we have been working very closely and on a continual basis with many agencies and groups to ensure that our facilities are safe.  These agencies and groups include, but not limited to:

California Department of Education
California Division of the State Architect
Kern County Superintendent of Schools Office of Education
Kern County Office of Emergency Services
The City of Ridgecrest
Ridgecrest Police Department
China Lake Police Department
Sierra Sands Unified School District staff, including Maintenance and Operations Staff
Self-Insured Schools of California
And many of our other community partners

Although most of our programs and activities have recessed for summer break, the District continues to offer three programs that have been affected, to a certain extent, by the recent earthquakes.  First, the District operates its Extended School Year Program (“ESY”) for some of its special education students.  Currently, that program operates at Burroughs High School and in the Richmond Elementary School Annex.

Unfortunately, due to damage sustained at Richmond and disruptions caused by the earthquakes that have affected student transportation to and from the ESY program at Richmond, the ESY program will not resume for the remainder of the 2019 ESY session.  We regret the necessity of canceling the remainder of the ESY program at Richmond and will work closely with those students and families affected by this cancellation.

Second, the District operates a secondary credit recovery and ESY program at Burroughs during the summer months.  We have conducted a preliminary assessment, but we continue to carefully assess the facilities utilized by the credit recovery and ESY programs.  Out of an abundance of caution, the District is closing the programs until the inspection team can officially clear the campus.  We hope to re-open Burroughs summer programs this week, and appropriate follow up information will be sent to affected staff and students.

Third, the District Summer Meals (“Program”) provides vital meal services to students Monday-Thursday in summer months at Monroe Middle School, Tuesday-Friday at the Ridgecrest Branch of Kern County Library, and on Wednesday only at Inyokern Elementary School (library).  We have carefully surveyed all facilities utilized by the Program and determined that it may resume services in a manner that is safe to all staff and community members only at the Ridgecrest Branch of Kern County Library and Inyokern Elementary School locations.  We have closed Program services at Monroe due to required cleanup.

We understand the importance of resuming all District programs in a manner that is safe to all students, staff, and the community as soon as possible and keeping our community partners fully informed at all times.  We are committed to doing so and will continue to regularly update all parents through ParentSquare and provide information to the community through our various communicate mechanisms.  Of course, any questions, concerns, or requests for information may be directed to the contact noted above.  Thank you for your assistance, patience, and understanding as we work to ensure the safety of all District facilities and resume all District programs and activities.

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For More Information, Contact:

Dave Ostash, Ed.D., Superintendent

Sierra Sands Unified School District

113 Felspar Avenue

Ridgecrest, CA 93555

Phone: (760) 499-1600

Fax: (760) 375-3338

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