Grafton Complex Status Reports

Friday, February 14
5:15 p.m.

The York County School Division would like to thank our students, staff, and administrators, as well as our parents and community, for working with the division through the changed schedules this week. We hope everyone has a restful holiday weekend.

Below are a few updates regarding the Grafton Complex situation.

School Schedules

Activity bus schedules will resume next week. Buses will run on Mondays and Wednesdays for York High and Tabb Middle (beginning Weds. 2/19). Grafton High and Grafton Middle School activity buses will run on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Schools will provide updates on after-school activity times to their families.

As a reminder, Grafton parents should call their school’s main number to reach staff rather than the host school’s office number.

Student and Family Support

Division staff have been collaborating with community organizations regarding childcare concerns. We know that many businesses have offered adjusted schedules and rates for families affected by the new school calendar. However, if childcare remains a concern, Northside Christian Church has offered to serve that need for sixth and seventh grade students. Parents should contact the church directly for more information.

Complex Restoration

The insurance companies are completing the inspection of the electrical room as part of the ongoing investigation. Next week, crews will begin removing the electrical distribution panel destroyed in the fire. This will allow contractors to begin preparing the space and evaluating other electrical components while the new panel is under construction.

BELFOR Property Restoration Company has begun prioritizing items for retrieval from the complex, beginning with items required to maintain school operations at their new sites. Personal possessions that do not require extensive cleaning protocols are being cataloged pending return to individuals.

Thank you for your continued support.

Tuesday, February 11
5:00 p.m.

The York County School Division is committed to providing our families with regular updates regarding the status of the Grafton Complex. Our goal is to ensure we provide accurate and timely information while also balancing the volume of communication parents receive from the division and schools.

New School Locations

Grafton students and staff have reported experiencing a great first day in their new locations. Students and staff are learning their new schedules and getting right back into instruction. While we did experience a few late buses today, it is likely that weather may have affected the routes. We will continue to monitor arrival and dismissal and make adjustments as needed.

Parents needing to contact Grafton High or Grafton Middle should continue to use their school’s main phone numbers. The division has routed those numbers to their new office spaces. York High and Tabb Middle can be contacted at their main numbers Monday-Friday, while the Grafton offices will operate Tuesday-Saturday.

School Supplies

School supply donations have been delivered to the new school sites, and are being distributed to students by school staff. Students can speak with their teacher or school office staff to request specific school supplies. We would like to express our appreciation to the York County community for gathering these supplies on such short notice.

Complex Restoration

As expected, Initial air quality tests taken at the facility have found no traces of lead in the soot throughout the school complex. These test results have also allowed the restoration company, BELFOR, to establish protocols for cleaning specific areas.

Retrieval and disposal of materials and possessions remaining in the building will be based on those protocols. Unfortunately, it is not possible to establish a timeline for this concern at this time. We understand this is a priority for our families, but we are required to follow those established protocols.

Thank you for your continued support.

Sunday, February 9
7:00 p.m.

The York County School Division would like to thank everyone who attended our public forums yesterday for sharing their questions, comments and suggestions with our staff. In addition to questions compiled by the 1600+ attendees, we have also received hundreds of emails to the AskYCSD email account. We have begun posting answers to frequently asked questions on the division website, which we will update daily. Bus routes and stop times for all four schools, including options for students who traditionally walk to the Grafton Complex, will be posted tomorrow.

We would also like to share that this afternoon Dr. Shandor met with the leaders of multiple organizations - York County Parks and Recreation, the YMCA, and our faith-based community - to address parents' child care concerns among other matters. Several of these leaders offered to have their sites serve as childcare facilities for our families. We are working through the legalities and logistics of those plans now and will share an update within the next few days.

Grafton Middle and High schools have each scheduled an opportunity for students and parents to visit their new school sites and are communicating information that with families.

Thank you again for your continued words of support and encouragement.

Saturday, February 8
7:00 p.m.

The school division held two public forums today. Below you can find the presentation as well as videos from these forums.

Friday, February 7
Letter from the Superintendent

Good afternoon,

I am writing to share the details of the York County School Division’s plan for returning Grafton High School and Grafton Middle School students to class next week, with the first day of class for these students being Tuesday, February 11. The new school schedule, which is necessary due to Monday’s electrical fire at the Grafton Complex, will require the use of two other division campuses - York High and Tabb Middle.

Recognizing the impact that this plan has on our students, staff and families, we will hold two public forums tomorrow, Saturday, February 8 to answer questions. The locations and times are available below.

Grafton High School will alternate school days with York High School at the YHS campus, while Grafton Middle School will alternate school days with Tabb Middle School at the TMS campus.

  • All Grafton Complex students will attend school on Tuesdays and Thursdays as well as 10 Saturdays.
  • York High and Tabb Middle students will attend school Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
  • This alternating schedule has been adopted to remain in place through Friday, May 22 and currently protects Presidents’ Day weekend, spring break (including the surrounding weekends), and Memorial Day weekend.

School hours and bell schedules for these four schools have also been adjusted as part of this instructional plan - including a change from the A/B block rotation to a 7-period or 8-period day depending on school level. The below calendars provide the specific dates and new school hours for each school. Students will receive their new daily bell schedules next week.

Adjusted School Calendars

Additionally, information regarding how this schedule affects transportation, special education programs housed at the Grafton Complex, and instructional programs such as the Governor’s School, New Horizons, SOA, and NJROTC, will be provided as soon as possible.

We have been in constant communication with state education officials regarding this plan and it is likely we will have to make some adjustments. Over the next week, the division will develop plans for incorporating blended learning opportunities and instructional support for students on the days they are not in school. *Blended learning may also provide the ability to reduce the number of Saturday school days scheduled.*

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. We will share those details during the information sessions tomorrow.

Public Forums
Saturday, February 8, 2020
1 p.m. - York High School - Auditorium
4 p.m. - Tabb High School - Auditorium

Each session is open to all families. If you are not able to attend either session, you can provide questions in advance through email at Information from these sessions will also be posted on the division website and Facebook page.

I want to personally thank you again for your patience and support as we navigate this situation. This crisis will provide a great opportunity to come together as a community and to show our students how to handle adversity.

Victor Shandor
Victor Shandor, Ed.D.
Division Superintendent

Thursday, February 6
7:15 p.m.

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. 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.

Division staff have been working through the week to develop a restoration plan for the facility as well as the plan for returning students to instruction as soon as possible. This work has involved constant communication and coordination with the York County Department of Fire & Life Safety, Dominion Energy, county officials, insurance companies, engineers and electrical contractors. During this morning's planning session, these teams determined that restoring even temporary power to the complex will take months.

While we had initially hoped to share our plan tonight for returning students to class, this extended timetable for repair - and its impact on our contingency plans - must be considered as part of our decision. Our team is very close to a solution, and our goal is to meet state-mandated instructional requirements without affecting spring break and without extending beyond the current last day of the school year. We will provide our next update, which will include information on when and how students will be back in classrooms, before the end of the day tomorrow, Friday, February 7, 2020.

We also want to share that Dr. Shandor, division superintendent, and members of the York County School Division's operations team discussed multiple status updates on camera today to help answer our community's questions as thoroughly as possible. That video is now available online.

We appreciate your continued support and understanding as we work to resolve this situation with the best interest of all our students in mind.

Wednesday, February 5
3:30 p.m.

ACT testing scheduled for Saturday, February 8 will now take place at Tabb High School. Testing starts at 8 a.m., but students can arrive as early as 7:30 a.m. Please remember to bring an ID as well as a print out a copy of your ACT registration. All testers that were registered will receive information about the change of the testing site from ACT.

Tuesday, February 4
3:30 p.m.

Grafton High School and Grafton Middle School will remain closed to all students and staff through Friday, February 7, 2020. Additionally, no activities will take place at the Complex this weekend.

Due to the extensive electrical damage caused by yesterday’s fire, the division does not have an anticipated date for re-opening the Complex at this time. Staff are working to address both short-term and long-term instructional and facility needs.

Information regarding transportation options for GHS students who participate in half-day, off-campus instructional programs - such as Governor’s School, New Horizons, SOA and NJROTC - during the school day is available here. Students who participate in extra-curricular programs with events scheduled Wednesday, February 5 through Sunday, February 9, will be contacted directly by their coach or program sponsor. Principals will communicate directly with staff regarding work expectations through Sunday.

We understand the difficulties this interruption to the school year poses to our families, students and staff, and we want to assure you that it is our goal to return students and staff to a daily schedule as soon as possible. Division staff are working on a long-term plan, which will be shared later this week.

We know our families have questions and we are working to address those questions as quickly as possible. If you have any questions regarding your child’s school, please use one of the following email addresses - for the high school and for the middle school. School main numbers will continue to be monitored for phone calls and messages during business hours.

Monday, February 3
6:30 p.m.

Just before 4 pm today, school administrators initiated evacuation procedures due to reports of an electrical issue in the main electrical room. As emergency responders arrived, an active fire was discovered. The fire was contained to that electrical room though smoke did spread through parts of the building. Due to the nature of this incident, power to the building remains off and Dominion Energy is on site assessing the situation. We do not yet have an estimate for power restoration or a timeline for necessary repairs.

Therefore, school is canceled for Grafton High School and Grafton Middle School tomorrow Tuesday, February 4 and Wednesday, February 5. Grafton Complex staff will receive a communication from their building principals regarding staff schedules for tomorrow. We are working on a plan for students and staff to reclaim any personal possessions left on campus today and will communicate that once we are able.

All after-school activities scheduled to take place at the complex Tuesday and Wednesday are also canceled. The athletic director and coaches will provide information regarding any scheduled off-site games tomorrow and Wednesday.

Division staff are working alongside the York County Department of Fire & Life Safety, The York-Poquoson Sheriff's Office, the Virginia Department of Health, and Dominion Energy to restore school operations as quickly and safely as possible. We will continue to communicate with our families and will provide updates as information becomes available.

If you have a question regarding your child's school, please use one of the following email addresses - for the high school and for the middle school. School main numbers will also be monitored for phone calls and messages during business hours.

Monday, February 3
4:30 p.m.

The Grafton Complex has been evacuated due to an electrical issue that set off the sprinkler system in the facility. Fire and Life Safety crews are on site along with division personnel. Students who were on campus for after-school activities are being relocated to Amory Funeral Home at 410 Grafton Drive for parent pick-up. Parents are asked to confirm pickup with an administrator on site.

If you need to reach your student or a school administrator, please call 898-0300.

At this time, all evening activities and athletic events at the Grafton Complex have been canceled for the evening. We will call with more information when we have additional information.

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