Ms. Willin and her family escaped to a cramped hotel room 60 miles away. In her panic, she had forgotten to grab masks, but she had the hot spots, along with her daughters’ laptops and school books. On Monday, the two girls plan to meet with their teachers on Zoom, seeking some comfort amid the chaos.

“They’re still able to be in school,” Ms. Willin said, “even though the school burned to the ground.”

As the worst wildfire season in decades scorches the West amid a still raging pandemic, families and educators who were already starting the strangest and most challenging school year of their lifetimes have been traumatized all over again. Tens of thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes, with some mourning the loss of their entire communities.

But amid the twin disasters, the remote learning preparations that schools made for the coronavirus are providing a strange modicum of stability for teachers and students, letting many stay connected and take comfort in an unexpected form of virtual community.