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Grand County schools reopen Monday, some families still under evacuation orders

The East Troublesome Fire caused evacuations and home damage throughout the district. School leaders want to bring back the students and staff that are ready.

GRANBY, Colo. — School leaders in Grand County announced they would reopen schools on Monday after fires in the area forced evacuations throughout the district and caused significant home damage. 

School, as a result, was canceled all week.

On the East Grand School District Facebook page, school leaders acknowledged that not everyone will likely make it back to class just yet. But for those who can, Superintendent Frank Reeves said he hoped it would be a healing opportunity.

> The video above aired on Oct. 26 about Grand County's released plans for residents to re-enter areas east of Highway 34.

“We just feel it’s really important for kids to get back with kids, for our staff to reconnect with each other and their kids, and quite honestly for many of our parents, for their kids to be back in school with some sense of normalcy, so they have time to get clear-headed and think about what happens next,” Reeves said.

The district said all students and staff were located safely after the fire. 

RELATED: Wildfires cause more school disruptions

Some have lost their homes, and others are still scattered around the state and the country, following evacuations. The district is helping connect those impacted families to resources like food, counseling and temporary shelter.

"Obviously, academics are always important, but they’re not top of the list for this week," Reeves said.

East Grand was already holding in-person classes before the fire. 

The school district said that schools would be ready for students to come back Monday, and those who still need remote learning will have that option still available. 

“We hope we see most of them, but some won't [come back yet],” Reeves said.

For students and staff who aren’t quite ready yet, the district promises flexibility and patience.

“We will provide for them, in some manner, and education. But that's got to be the furthest thing from their mind,” Reeves said.  “Our other big concern is losing kids later. When school is the furthest thing from their mind, and we’re trying to keep them engaged and keep them involved." 

Teachers in the district shared how much they miss their students:

Tracy Petty, a preschool teacher in the district

"I can't wait to see their little smiles and talk to them and just embrace the moment together and maybe have a little more of an easy-going week next week," 

Laura Veraldo, who teaches K-5 music

"We're really looking forward to seeing kids again, in person. It's really important for the kids to see each other, for people to see each other, through COVID and through loss of homes, and tragedy."

Full 9NEWS coverage of wildfires in Colorado can be found here. 

RELATED: East Troublesome Fire up to 32% containment

RELATED: 'We’re a family up here': Grand Lake businesses working together to reopen after being evacuated

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