Most LA Schools Will Reopen Next Week, Quake Shuts Down Nearly 100
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Nearly all the city’s public schools will reopen Tuesday except for 95 in the San Fernando Valley severely damaged by the earthquake, officials said Friday.
Classes have been suspended since Monday’s earthquake, centered in the valley community of Northridge, though many students have sought refuge with their families on school campuses.
″It’s kind of strange, but we’re safe here,″ said Maricela Villegas, 12. ″If we were at home I would be worried that our apartment building would collapse. It’s better here.″
She and her family were among nearly 2,000 people who pitched tents this week outside Northridge Middle School after the quake left them uneasy about being indoors.
About 640,000 youngsters in the nation’s second-largest school district were kept out of school while administrators in the Los Angeles Unified School District searched for safe classroom space.
On Friday, officials said 705 schools will open Tuesday, and up to 90 percent of the district’s students may return to classes. Teachers and staff will return Monday.
The 95 other schools, located in the hard-hit valley, will remain closed for the time being, though administrators may open parts of the schools if they are judged to be safe.
The quake disrupted more than regular classes.
About 3,800 students had registered to take college-entrance SAT and Achievement Tests at Los Angeles schools Saturday - the last day to take the exam before the testing format is changed.
Education Testing Services plans to schedule a make-up day in February, transfer students to the next regularly scheduled date in March or offer refunds, spokesman Kevin Gonzalez said. Students who take the test in February will be allowed to take the old format.
At Kennedy High School in suburban Granada Hills, it looked as though a small bomb had detonated on the campus that serves 2,300 students in the valley. Concrete blocks were missing from the administration building’s facade. Inside, ceiling tiles and filing cabinets had fallen to the floor.
″All the windows were blown out, the stucco was blown out,″ school board member Julie Korenstein said Thursday. ″It was actually down to the steel rods.″
The damage at Kennedy was just one item on a repair list that could total $700 million, said district spokesman Shel Erlich. The cost was expected to rise.
School board President Leticia Quezada said the schools have an economic emergency fund of $30 million, and will need both state and federal aid.
The Archdiocese of Los Angeles said it will hold classes beginning Monday at all but 13 of its 285 schools, and all but five of the 13 were expected to open within two weeks. The archdiocese has 102,000 students.