Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Grafton fire update: York County Schools have finalized sked for the rest of the year (Free read)

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)

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York County School Division Superintendent Victor Shandor announced Tuesday administrators have finalized changes to Grafton Complex students’ schedules for the remainder of the school year with effects reaching two additional schools in the county.

Starting April 13, Grafton Middle and High school students will share the campus at Tabb High and Yorktown Middle Schools on alternating days until the end of the school year, according to the adjusted schedule attached to Shandor’s emailed message.

Tabb Middle and York High students will go back to their original schedules at that time.

RELATED STORY: Here’s an update on the Grafton School Complex (Free read)

Also according to the schedule, Grafton Complex students are foregoing a Spring Break this year as a means to ensure the division meets state-mandated instructional hours after an electrical fire shut down power to the shared middle and high school facility earlier this month.

Grafton students are also scheduled to attend five additional days following summer release and graduation dates.

“Initially, staff developed plans using the conservative timeline of re-opening the Complex on May 26,” Shandor wrote in the email. “However, we also believe it is our responsibility to prepare for the worst-case scenario of the facility not opening again this school year.”

The fire at Grafton Complex resulted in a “total loss” of the electrical panel, requiring administrators to introduce an alternating schedule, directing Grafton students to share campuses at York High and Tabb Middle schools — Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays for Tabb and York High students and Tuesdays and Thursdays plus 10 Saturdays for Grafton students.

The alternating schedule was initially expected to continue through May 22 until the discovery of additional damage at the complex and with Virginia law requiring a minimum of 180 instructional days or 990 instructional hours in a school year, division staff decided to make changes lasting through the remainder of the school year or June 11.

Shandor assured residents and families this was the best plan going forward as alternatives would mean adding five to 12 school days for all four schools (Grafton Middle and High schools, Tabb Middle, and York High) or extending hours to the point middle schoolers would be coming home “well after 5 p.m.”

“As conversations progressed, Virginia Department of Education staff provided further clarification as to the challenges other divisions have faced when proposing blended (online) learning models to meet state mandates,” he said.

In a video posted to the division’s YouTube channel Monday, Shandor provided updates regarding the complex’s restoration with Greg Dolak, associate director of maintenance and facilities for the division. Dolak said the damaged electrical panel had been removed from the building on Feb. 17 and was sent to a “testing facility as part of the investigation.”

In the meantime, contractors would test the remaining electrical wires and determine if they could be used with a new panel.

Dolak also said while a new custom electrical panel would typically take 16 weeks to build, manufacturing company, Eaton, has said the time would be lessened as they’re producing a replica of the former panel and won’t need time for design and engineering.

Division staff is fielding questions from families in a public information forum at Tabb High School, 4431 Big Bethel Road, Thursday at 6 p.m. Families can also send questions via email to or find frequently asked questions by clicking here. 

See the full video update here:

RELATED STORY: There was an electrical fire at Grafton School Complex


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