School in B.C.'s Cariboo region is set to start in just two weeks, but as dozens of wildfires continue to burn, many students won't be hitting the books until the district deems it safe to do so.
School District 27 Cariboo-Chilcotin says schools under evacuation order will remain closed until those orders have been lifted. Schools in areas under evacuation alert will open for staff to prepare for the upcoming school year, but will not open to students until the alert is lifted.
Superintendent Mark Wintjes said the number of students potentially affected changes daily, but is well down from the 4,800 that were originally estimated.
"We have significant numbers of schools now that are outside of the alert areas, so we're hoping that things will start to minimize," Wintjes said.
"We've gone through just an awful summer, but we are preparing for students to return."
Buses won't run through alert areas
School buses will not be running through areas under evacuation alert. The district says parents who choose to transport their childen themselves through such an area will be required to have a safety plan in place, which includes detailed contact information and a plan for where to go if evacuation becomes necessary.
"Parents are just wanting to make sure ... that they aren't put in a position where they will be heading in one direction and their students are heading in another should an alert move to an order," Wintjes said.
While the region's main population centres, such as Williams Lake and 100 Mile House, will be accepting students, Wintjes said the main areas looking at delayed openings are Anahim Lake, Tatla Lake and Alexis Creek.
Wintjes said the district also recognizes that many students and staff have lost their homes to wildfire over the summer, and will be providing counselling.
For the most up-to-date information on school re-openings, visit School District 27's website.
With files from CBC Radio One's The Early Edition.