Smoke from the Woolsey Fire as seen from Santa Monica.

After a long and arduous road recovering from the Woolsey Fire, Malibu residents are adjusting to a life back in their communities and safe spaces, students included.

In a letter to parents sent in the evening of December 11, SMMUSD Superintendent Dr. Ben Drati let families know that as of December 12, all Malibu schools had been reopened, safe for students after extensive cleaning.

We are pleased with the results that clearly reflect our spaces are healthy for students and staff,” Dr. Drati said in the letter.

As part of the reopening of the schools, each site in Malibu was cleaned from top to bottom.

Cleaning procedures included changing HVAC filters, placing air scrubbers in indoor places, HEPA vacuuming surfaces, wet wiping surfaces, cleaning carpets via a hot water extraction unit and power washing buildings.

Additional cleaning and testing was performed to detect lead, asbestos, particulates and PCBs.  Wipe samples were taken for lead detection while air samples were taken to detect asbestos. Both methods were used to detect PCBs.

Webster Elementary, Point Dume, Juan Cabrillo, and Malibu High School were all tested. Malibu and Cabrillo were tested for PCBs due to known or assumed PCBs at those sites. Malibu and Cabrillo contain a healthy level by EPA standards, with PCB levels not detected above the laboratory reporting limit.

Drati says the district will continue keeping up with a district-standard for cleaning as well as monitoring air quality and the accumulation of dust and particles.

“These reports are more exhaustive than what other school districts have done in terms of testing following a fire event,” Dr.Drati said in the letter. “We did this based on parent and staff feedback we received and we appreciate your patience while additional days were needed to accomplish this.”

The district has made all testing results public at the Facility Improvement Projects link at their website.

The letter urged any parents or community members to send comments or questions through the district’s Let’s Talk process online, under the Malibu Schools Pathway heading.


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