Nearly half of Santa Rosa schools reopen as wildfires nearly contained

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (KGO) -- Nearly half of Santa Rosa schools reopened Friday on the same day officials expect full containment of the wildfires burning in the North Bay.

Many of these students are coming back having learned some tough life lessons.

The first day back to school went well for students in Santa Rosa and administrators at Piner High School said kids are doing a lot of hugging and are glad to see each other.

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Heading back to school and worrying about things like homework feels a little strange for some students who are dealing with larger life issue like losing their home. "It's hard when the rest of the world moving on not knowing what is going on here and we are in a state of devastation," fire victim Alex Trait said.

Yet coming back together and seeing each other is exactly what these teenagers seem to need. "We haven't seen each other in three weeks. Even though I know my friends are fine, I want to physically see them and hug them, do all that stuff," student Kyra Stanley said.

Piner High School is one of 13 schools in Santa Rosa that re-opened Friday. The principal said they won't be throwing these traumatized kids right back into their curriculum. They will ease them back in, and will provide them space and counselors where they can talk if needed. "So, on a day like this you lean more towards the heart, and as you get back to familiar routines, you lean more to head and hands and school back like it was," Piner High School Principal Tim Zalunardo said.

He estimates that more than 80 students lost their homes to fire. "All I really grabbed was my wallet and charger," Nick Howard said.

Howard is one of them and he is now staying at a friend's house. He has received several texts from fellow students and teachers and can't wait to thank them in person. "Piner High School is a great school to have people come together, and all the teachers texted me saying, we feel so sorry,' and giving me all their love and support. That's what this school is all about," he said.

Click here for full coverage on the North Bay fire.
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