paradise return Paradise Unified District/Facebook
Students from Paradise are welcomed to the new home for their school in Oroville.

Schools reopen for students from fire-ravaged Paradise, Calif.

Most of the Paradise district's school facilities were destroyed, but many students have resumed classes in Oroville, about 20 miles away.

Students from Paradise, Calif., whose schools were destroyed or damaged in last month's devastating Camp Fire have returned to school for the first time since the fire leveled most of their town.

ABC News reports that elementary-age students are attending classes in Oroville, about 20 miles south of Paradise, where nearly 30,000 residents were forced to relocate after the wildfire.

Paradise Intermediate and Paradise High School will be learning in an Independent Study model with drop-in labs at the Chico Mall.

Students at other schools are being bused to nearby towns for classes, the Paradise Unified School District (PUSD) says. Donors have provided nearly all the necessary school supplies, including backpacks.

"Through everything that we have all been through, the one thing we wanted to make sure we could see through is that our students be reunited with their PUSD teachers," the district says. "We assure you that, even through our own trauma, we have been working to keep this promise to you.

"We have done the best we can with what we have to work with at this time, without compromising a safe and acceptable learning environment."

School officials expect attendance levels to come in around 50 percent. The fire, considered the most destructive fire in state history, burned for 18 days, destroyed thousands of homes and structures, and killed at least 85 people before it was contained on Nov. 25.

School officials will have "experts in trauma and social emotional support" for students and staff at each school.

"Once the kids are back in school and have their schedule going, similar to what it was before, it will be nice to try to get our life back to somewhat normal," says Lana Bunch, a parent who lost her home.

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