Students of fire-ravaged York Memorial begin classes at nearby high school
Codi Wilson, CP24.com
Published Monday, May 13, 2019 6:59AM EDT
Last Updated Monday, May 13, 2019 10:56AM EDT
York Memorial Collegiate students are returning to the classroom today for the first time following a massive fire that ripped through their school last week.
The high school’s 880 students have begun classes at nearby George Harvey Collegiate Institute, located near Rogers Road and Keele Street.
The first fire broke out at the school on the night of May 7 and a second fire started just hours later.
At the height of the six-alarm blaze, 150 firefighters worked to contain the flames, which were mostly contained to an auditorium.
Officials previously said that despite “extensive” smoke and water damage, the 90-year-old structure is probably salvageable.
The Office of the Fire Marshal is investigating the cause and the investigation is largely focused on a boiler room in the building.
Police have said they are concerned that the fire may be suspicious.
Classes were called last week and the damage to the building has forced students to complete their year at a school located about four blocks away.
Welcome signs could be seen at George Harvey C.I. on Monday morning.
While some AP exams have been delayed for students impacted by the fire, TDSB Trustee Chris Tonks previously said the board is working to make sure that graduating students have no issues transitioning to the respective post-secondary schools.
Shari Schwartz-Maltz, a spokesperson for the Toronto District School Board, said staff members are still working out the logistics of how to make the new arrangement work.
“There is capacity for them (the new students). I don’t want to say it has been easy. It has not been easy. Our teachers, our admin staff have been at it for days and days, ever since the fire actually, to make sure that this is a positive, wonderful learning environment for the kids,” she said.
“The teachers are getting together, all the department heads are getting together again over the next few days to see what they can do in terms of assessment.”
She said all of the academic programs previously offered at York Memorial will be available at George Harvey.
“In terms of the clubs and the sort of the extra-curricular (activities), it is going to all unfold over the next few days,” Schwartz-Maltz said.
She said the community and companies have stepped up to donate supplies students lost in the fire, including backpacks, binders, and pens.
“Toronto has opened its heart, some companies have opened their wallets,” she added.