Grafton Complex Closure

On Monday, February 3, 2020, at approximately 3:45 p.m., the York County Department of Fire & Life Safety responded to an electrical fire at the Grafton School Complex. The cause of this fire is still under investigation. Fortunately, the fire occurred at a time when most students and staff had already left the building for the day and those remaining in the building were able to evacuate safely.

The sprinkler system activated in the electrical room, containing the fire and water damage to that area of the building. Smoke damage has affected the entire building, with the greatest smoke damage on the middle school side. However, the fire destroyed the electrical distribution panel that provides power to the entire complex. As this is a custom-designed unit, reconstruction of the electrical panel will take months. During that process, the Grafton School Complex is unusable.

York County School Division staff analyzed nine options for returning Grafton High School and Grafton Middle School students to class, ruling out options that did not meet criteria such as student safety, instructional time requirements, or adequate space. Additionally, dividing more than 2,000 students among the other YCSD schools during the regular school day was not feasible due to space limitations in those schools, student and staff schedules, and transportation limitations.

Initially, staff developed plans using the conservative timeline of re-opening the Complex on May 26. However, we also believe it is our responsibility to prepare for the worst-case scenario of the facility not opening again this school year. If not, all four schools (GHS, GMS, YHS, TMS) would need to add between 5-12 days to the school calendar and extend school hours on their scheduled days to meet state mandates. Further, the longer school hours would have placed middle school students returning home well after 5 p.m.

Therefore, the division has identified two other YCSD schools, Tabb High and Yorktown Middle, to serve as host schools for Grafton for the fourth quarter of the school year (April 13), using the same alternating day format in place now. York High and Tabb Middle will resume regular schedules the week of April 13. In order to meet the state mandate, Grafton High and Grafton Middle will have days added through the remainder of the school year.

Adjusted School Schedules

We appreciate the continued support of our community and assure you that the division is committed to maintaining open communication and working collaboratively with our community throughout this emergency.

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