SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTVU) - California's top school official said students and families are facing a new set of challenges while also adjusting to a new learning routine brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many schools across the state have already kicked off the new school year with distance learning. Just as students were settling into the "new normal" a series of wildfires erupted.
Firefighters are battling three large fires in the Bay Area that have forced thousands of residents to flee.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond said the unfortunate reality is that some students and their families were uprooted from their homes.
By many estimates, there are 45 school districts located in evacuation zones, about 30,000 students impacted in some way, Thurmond stated.
"It is hard to imagine how we deal with the pandemic exasperated by fires that have swept through communities in our state," he said.
Thurmond said his staff has been in communication with school districts to see how they can offer support.
Schools will still receive full funding from the state regardless if there was lost instructional time as a result of the wildfires.
The superintendent said at this time, the focus needs to remain on safety and basic needs.
"We know there are many communities disproportionately impacted by fire, air quality, and smoke. We try to work with communities across the state to make sure they have the resources they need," he said.
Thurmond stressed that the California Department of Education is on high alert and will continue to monitor wildfire conditions and its impacts on learning.