PALMDALE – About 120 fourth-graders on a field trip from Arvin, California, were unable to return home Thursday due to freeway closures. The closures, caused by torrential rains, flooding and mud slides, blocked the students’ busses on their way home from visiting the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach. Luckily, the Palmdale School District stepped in.
“We got the call around 9 p.m.,” said Palmdale School District Superintendent Raul Maldonado. “We called our district’s emergency response team and found a solution that provided for the Arvin students’ safety and comfort.”
The Arvin students were housed overnight at the Palmdale Learning Plaza in the gymnasium on cots. Additional plans are being made for their safe return home, including finding a route that is open. Arvin, an agricultural community located about 15 miles southeast of Bakersfield, is primarily reached via Interstate 5 or Highway 58, both of which were subject to weather-related closures Thursday night.
In addition to housing, Palmdale School District Transportation Director Christina Celeste was working on getting the students home to Arvin by providing fuel and fresh drivers for their busses. California State Law places specific requirements on how long school bus drivers can drive, rest and sleep before transporting children.
“We are glad that Arvin reached out to us, that we could lend a hand to other members of our educational community,” said Maldonado. “We lead by example, as educators. If we want our students to learn to be good citizens who help one another, we need to teach through our own actions.”
“I’m so proud of our team,” Maldonado added. “They took plans we already had in place and quickly adapted them to provide for the students.”
The Arvin students were fed breakfast by Palmdale School District Friday morning and were expected to return home later Friday.
[Information via Palmdale School District.]