WACO (April 22, 2013)—Thanks to Connally ISD teachers, staff and students who worked through the weekend, hundreds of West middle and high school students returned to class Monday in Connally’s old intermediate school building, five days after the deadly fertilizer plant explosion that damaged three of the West ISD’s four schools.
Hundreds of West students arrived aboard borrowed buses Monday to resume classes in temporary quarters in the Connally ISD. (Photo by Nichole Perez)
West Assistant Superintendent Jan Hungate said some of the district’s teachers who reported at work Monday had not yet been home.
Four of the 700 students who were bused to the Connally ISD weren’t in class Monday and 10 of the 750 pre-K through sixth grade students at West Elementary School were absent.
The deadly fertilizer explosion Wednesday night damaged West’s intermediate, middle and high schools, all of which were in the blast zone.
West students in grades 7 through 12 will finish the school year in the temporary quarters provided by the Connally ISD while pre-K through 6th grade students resumed class Monday at West Elementary School, which wasn’t damaged.
Connally ISD staff members, teachers and students, went to work not long after the blast to move file cabinets, desks, chairs, computers and other furnishings into classrooms in the old intermediate school.
Surrounding districts including the Waco ISD donated the furnishings and other classroom equipment.
The Spring ISD lent West about a dozen buses to transport the students to the school and the Grand Prairie ISD provided three double-wide portable buildings, which are being used for 6th grade classes on the West Elementary school campus.
The Bosqueville ISD will provide food services this week for the West ISD teachers and staff who make the move to the school.
West school officials say they're trying to provide as much consistency as possible for the students during the last 30 days of the school year.
The district is working with the Texas Education Agency, which Crawford said is willing to be flexible about STAAR testing, which was to have started next Tuesday.
The explosion Wednesday night heavily damaged the district’s intermediate school building, which may be beyond repair, West Superintendent Marty Crawford said.
The 90-year-old main building of the district’s middle school also sustained heavy damage and there are concerns about the structural integrity of the high school, which is the district’s newest facility, Crawford said.