Tuesday, December 5, 2017
Dear Parents, Alumni, and Friends:
Our resident students, faculty, and horses safely evacuated from the Upper Campus last night in advance of the approaching Thomas Fire. There have been no injuries and our students are safely housed at the Lower Campus, which is not under threat from the fire.
It is with a heavy heart, however, that I inform you that our Upper Campus has been severely damaged in this devastating fire. Both the Lucila Arango Science and Technology Center and the Grace Hobson Smith girls’ dormitory were destroyed.
Fire crews were able to save Wallace Burr Hall and the boys’ dormitories, as well as the stables and art building.
In the spirit that has long guided Ojai Valley School, we are confident that we will recover, rebuild, and become stronger as a school and a community.
We are strategizing now about how we will complete the school year for Upper Campus. Please know we will continue to keep you informed as more details become available, including campus-specific instructions about how we will close the semester.
For now, we ask for your patience and your support – especially for our students, faculty, and resident staff as they grapple with this tremendous loss.
We are in close contact with fire personnel and have been advised to continue sheltering residents at Lower Campus as the danger to our immediate location has passed. Due to the poor air quality, and the desire to minimize the affects of road closure, we will cancel school tomorrow. It is our hope that we will be able to open school for Lower students on Thursday, but we will send another email tomorrow when we know more about the condition of the valley.
We hope you and your family are safe and secure.
Michael J. Hall-Mounsey
Ojai Valley School