Ojai Fire Message & Update

To the Besant Hill/Happy Valley Community:

Ojai fire statusThank you for all of your concern about the school and the safety of our campus and students. We are all safe, and evacuated at approximately 8pm last night to Oak Grove School. Jodi Grass, Head of School and the amazing staff here have been fantastic. We spent the night here, and they have fed our entire community a wonderful breakfast and lunch. We have been blessed to be in the care of such a thoughtful community here, just steps away from the former Happy Valley School campus in Meiners Oaks. All students, staff, faculty, and pets who live on campus are with us and in good spirits.

As for the campus, I just returned from the land with a deputy from the Ventura County Sheriff’s office. While the grass and some trees around campus have been charred, our fire abatement strategy has succeeded and the campus buildings and structures are undamaged. Several fire units remain on campus and are treating spot fires. The deputy was optimistic that since the fire has passed through campus, that the threat to our buildings has passed.

It is at times like this that I am reminded of what a remarkable school and town we are a part of. Not only have I heard from many parents and former parents offering shelter, but I have also had concerns sent from Alumni around the world. Our students are positive, our adults are working hard to support them, and safety is our primary concern.

We are now heading to Santa Barbara to get into an area with better air quality and to relieve the anxiety of our community. According to my discussion with officials this morning, we anticipate a return to campus late tomorrow or early Thursday. Until then, please know we are safe, thankful, and in the loving company of each student and faculty member. Please keep our school community, all responders, and all others impacted by this devastating fire in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. We are grateful for the outpouring of support that we have received.

Warmest regards,