By MARTIN BUCKLEYThe Associated PressWASHINGTON (AP) — As the U.S. prepared for a second major earthquake in less than a week, schools in several states and the District of Columbia were reopening for the start of spring recess.
But with the U-shaped fault zone spreading westward, many districts and colleges are now canceling classes, including the most popular and high-demand classes, which are mostly held in the winter months.
“We are concerned about students,” said the District’s superintendent, Karen Kelleher.
“We want them to be able to have an enjoyable learning experience and have a positive impact on their lives.”
Officials from all 50 states and five Canadian provinces announced Monday they are canceling recess and other outdoor events to prepare for a potential major earthquake.
The National Guard is sending additional patrols, and the Department of Homeland Security said in a statement it was reviewing its contingency plan for California, which could be hit with a 2.0 magnitude.
There was no immediate word on the number of students who would be forced to go back to school.
Teachers in the state are already struggling with a severe lack of resources and supplies, especially in schools that have been hit by more than a dozen earthquakes in recent years.
There are only two days a week left for teachers in most districts to be open, which is not enough time to prepare and distribute supplies and resources.
“There is no money in our budget to maintain a classroom,” said Donna Stowe, a teacher at Centennial Charter School in the San Fernando Valley.
“If it goes to the level that we are seeing now, then we are going to lose teachers.”
Schools across the state have been forced to cancel classes in the wake of a series of powerful aftershocks.
The worst hit was in March, when a 6.3-magnitude quake killed six people and left at least two others dead in the city of San Luis Obispo.
It also caused the destruction of thousands of homes and businesses.
The earthquake also led to widespread power outages and flooding, including in the Los Angeles area.
A large portion of California, including San Luis Oro Valley, has already reopened after that earthquake, and a large portion has not.
But even with schools reopened, the state still has not recovered from the effects of the March earthquake.