Fire at Henrico school forces students to be relocated

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Henrico County Public Schools is scrambling to get students back in the classroom after fire ripped through an elementary school early Sunday.

Baker Elementary suffered significant damage from the Sunday morning blaze. The school is closed and students are stuck at home until Wednesday.

“One way or another, we’re going to work to bring students back to school by Wednesday. The question will be where that’s going to take place,” explained HCPS spokesperson Andy Jenks.

The district is eyeing nearby Varina and Mehfoud Elementary Schools as possible places to relocate students and teachers.

The school district wants to get kids like 9-year-old Jordan Thompson back in the classroom, even if that classroom is a few miles away.

“I actually got a phone call from the bus driver that gets my son,” said Jordan’s mom Denise Thompson. “He said that he’ll be taking my son over to Varina Elementary in the meantime while they get things straight at Baker, and I’m all for it.”

Meanwhile, Monday morning teachers salvaged what they could from their classrooms. They’ll be taking supplies with them to their new temporary location.

There is no timeline for when Baker Elementary will be safe for students. The accidental electrical fire damaged part of the roof, cafeteria and four classrooms. Crews are already at work to get it ready.

School authorities said that Dr. Hardy and Mr. Orth, along with the teaching staff at the school have joined with school division leaders to create a safe and effective plan for the continuation of school starting on Wednesday.

Here are the basics of how class will resume on Wednesday:

  • Pre-K and students in the Early Childhood Special Education Program will temporarily attend school at the New Bridge Learning Center at 5915 Nine Mile Road.
  • Students in grades K-2 will temporarily attend Mehfoud Elementary School at 8320 Buffin Road
  • Students in grades 3-5 will temporarily attend Varina Elementary School at 2551 New Market Road.

Meanwhile, school hours for Baker students will remain the same: 8:10 a.m. until 2:40 p.m.

Otherwise, students will have the same bus stops, but the pickup and drop-off times may change. Families can expect additional communication from the school’s Pupil Transportation department with specific pickup and drop-off times.

Medications and student records that were stored at Baker Elementary will be transferred to the temporary school where they will be attending. Staff will contact staff directly for any exceptions.

This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.

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