Malibu School Information: Damage Report and Class Cancellations

The American Flag and California State Flag fly at half-staff in tatters outside Juan Cabrillo Elementary School on Sunday afternoon, Nov. 11, after the school and nearby Malibu High School weathered the Woolsey Fire.

The soonest any elementary or secondary schools in the Malibu area hoped to have students in classrooms was Wednesday, Nov. 14—although that depended largely on the success of ongoing firefighting efforts in the Malibu, Calabasas and Westlake Village areas. No schools directly within Malibu would be open until Monday, Nov. 19, at the earliest.

None of the schools had sustained major structural damage as of 10 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 11.

Head of MUSE School Jeff King confirmed both of the school’s campuses on Las Virgenes Canyon and Las Virgenes roads were still standing, via a social media post. The school’s closure would remain in place through the 16th. 

Our Lady of Malibu Church—and by extension, OLM School—were intact with no visible damage. It was unclear when the school will reopen.

Head of Viewpoint School Mark McKee wrote a letter to the Viewpoint community Sunday, stating the school would remain closed through Tuesday. “The campus is safe but still in an evacuation zone,” McKee wrote, adding that there would be no tests scheduled through the end of the week.

Oaks Christian School in Westlake Village would stay closed through at least Tuesday, with a possibility of extending the closure as conditions dictated. Information on the school’s website said administrators were “hoping and planning for a return to school on Wednesday, Nov. 14, subject to receiving an ‘All Clear’ from the civil authorities.” 

As for Malibu schools in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District, The Malibu Times confirmed Point Dume Marine Science School, Webster Elementary, Juan Cabrillo Elementary School and Malibu Middle/Malibu High School were still standing. MHS did suffer some fire damage—”There appears to be some minor damage to the MHS field and possibly a construction trailer, but otherwise all are in good condition,” a spokesperson for the school district described on Saturday.

District personnel as of Sunday had not yet been able to inspect the schools, due to the mandatory evacuation order in place for City of Malibu.

SMMUSD spokesperson Gail Pinsker confirmed schools would remain closed through Nov. 16. 

“If you have any concerns or needs, please reach out to your school principal,” a statement shared by the school district said.

To assess families’ and staff members’ needs, the district has created two surveys. They are available here: families and staff.

Pepperdine University was still intact as of late in the day Sunday, with damage unknown at that point. Approximately 3,500 students, staff and faculty members stayed at the university over night from Friday into Saturday, in accordance with the university’s shelter-in-place protocol.

The protocol was not without controversy. At a community meeting held at Taft High School in Woodland Hills on Sunday, multiple residents expressed anger over the policy, with one calling it a “diversion of resources” away from other residences. 

“Everyone is talking about celebrities, everyone one is talking about Pepperdine,” another resident complained, upset no one seemed to be talking about individual residents.

California State Senator Henry Stern, who represents Malibu and surrounding areas of LA County in Sacramento, became visibly upset. Stern, who grew up on Point Dume, repeated several times that he did not yet know the status of his relatives’ homes.

“We cannot sacrifice the rest of Malibu for Pepperdine,” Stern said, later adding, “It is an unfair trade.” The protocol, Stern said, would be reassessed in the future. 

A Pepperdine student talked about the fear and confusion among students, with the Borderline shooting—a mass shooting that occurred on Wednesday night in nearby Thousand Oaks that left Pepperdine freshman Alaina Housley among the dead—followed by the Woolsey Fire. The student described a sense of community felt by students on campus. 

University spokesperson Alex Forero said 21 students were shuttled out of Malibu to Santa Monica early Sunday. 

These students, who had previously stayed on campus, were ready to leave but were without vehicles. Because of the road closures instated on Pacific Coast Highway, the university partnered with the Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station to safely drive the students out of Malibu.

From there, the university dealt with the evacuees “on a case-by-case basis.”

“If other students become ready to leave campus, we would revisit that option,” Forero said. “It wasn’t a limited offer.”

The shelter-in-place protocol was not in effect for most of the day Sunday.

Pepperdine announced it had cancelled classes through the Thanksgiving holiday for the Malibu and Calabasas campuses. Classes are scheduled to resume on Nov. 26.

“Classes impacted by the closure of the Malibu and Calabasas campuses will be administered remotely through a combination of online, email and remote assignments,” information from the university stated.