SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - All Santa Barbara Unified Schools will reopen as planned on January 2nd, but not without the help of volunteers and cleaning crews behind the scenes.
As a result of the Thomas Fire, ash cleanup at 20 campuses was prioritized over winter break - that includes 1.8 million square feet of space!
The district brought in a professional sweeping company to tackle large spaces like parking lots and playgrounds.
Custodial teams and the District Maintenance Team took care of classrooms and hallways and all HVAC units were replaced.
Santa Barbara schools were closed from December 7 through the 15th in advance of winter break due to the Thomas Fire.
"We want our parents to know that our schools are ready to welcome all of your students back. They're safe, they're clean and I think kids are anxious to get back to school," said Superintendent Cary Matsuoka, Santa Barbara Unified Schools.
Matsuoka says schools in Goleta did not suffer much damage but schools in mandatory evacuation zones like Cleveland Elementary School required several passes to alienate the thick ash.