Sunday, July 3, 2022

Here’s what the York County School Division decided to do about the Grafton High, Middle schools schedules

The Grafton Middle and High School complex. (WYDaily file/Courtesy York County School Division)
The Grafton Middle and High School complex. (WYDaily file/Courtesy York County School Division)

York County School Division has announced plans to alternate school days for students impacted by the Grafton fire last week.

Administrators informed parents Friday that students who attend Grafton High School and Grafton Middle School would be returning to school starting Tuesday, but with a new schedule.

This following an electrical fire Monday which caused the Grafton School Complex to be evacuated late that afternoon.

The new schedule requires students at the two schools and at York High School and Tabb Middle School to alternate school days, according to the letter sent to parents from Victor Shandor, the division’s superintendent.

All Grafton complex students will attend school on Tuesdays and Thursdays in addition to 10 Saturdays. York High and Tabb Middle students will attend school on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

The alternating schedule has been adopted through May 22. With the new schedule, students will still have holidays for Presidents’ Day weekend, spring break and Memorial Day weekend.

In addition to the alternating days, the bell schedule throughout the school day has been altered to fit the change. This means the schools will change from the current A/B block rotation to a seven or eight-period day depending on the school level.

In regards to transportation, Shandor said information on a new system will be updated as soon as possible. This includes information for students in special education programs at the Grafton Complex, students at the Governor’s School, New Horizons, York County School of Arts, and the Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corp

Shandor said the division recognized the change might cause a significant impact on students and families.

“We have been in constant communication with state education officials regarding this plan and it is likely we will have to make some adjustments,” he wrote.

In addition, the school division will host two public forums on Saturday to hear from the schools’ communities. The first will be at 1 p.m. at York High School and the second will be at 4 p.m. at Tabb High School.

Over the course of the next week, the division will continue to develop plans for “blended learning opportunities” and instructional support for students when they are not in school.

These potential blended learning opportunities might also reduce the number of Saturdays students have to spend in school. (Story contnues below the video)

“While we recognize that this plan may not be ideal for all families, this option best aligns with the division’s criteria for meeting the needs of all students with the resources available,” Shandor said in the letter.

He said further details regarding the plan will be shared during the public forums on Saturday.

Fire investigation

“Monday’s fire, though contained to the electrical room, resulted in a total loss of the main electrical distribution panel for the complex leaving the building without power,” Katherine Goff, division spokeswoman, wrote in an email Thursday night. “While smoke spread through the entire complex, the only sprinkler heads activated were those in the electrical room. The greatest impact of the smoke damage is on the middle school side of the complex.”

Goff said division officials are working with with the York County Department of Fire & Life Safety, Dominion Energy, county officials, insurance companies, engineers and electrical contractors and they “determined that restoring even temporary power to the complex will take months.”

The fire happened in electrical switch gear/equipment located in the Grafton School Complex electrical equipment room. This room serves the entire complex, according to the fire department.

The cause of the fire remains unknown and fire officials said is “very complicated to determine.”

Majority of the fire damage was in the equipment room, but the entire complex sustained smoke damage “with the worse area appearing to have been the middle school portion of the complex,” fire officials said.

Alexa Doironhttp://wydaily.com
Alexa Doiron is a multimedia reporter for WYDaily. She graduated from Roanoke College and is currently working on a master’s degree in English at Virginia Commonwealth University. Alexa was born and raised in Williamsburg and enjoys writing stories about local flair. She began her career in journalism at the Warhill High School newspaper and, eight years later, still loves it. After working as a news editor in Blacksburg, Va., Alexa missed Williamsburg and decided to come back home. In her free time, she enjoys reading Jane Austen and playing with her puppy, Poe. Alexa can be reached at alexa@localvoicemedia.com.

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