RICHMOND, Va. -- Richmond Public Schools have decided on a temporary location for the Fox Elementary community after a fire decimated the school in February.
Beginning March 21, First Baptist Church will be the temporary home for the school. Whether students remain at the location for the remainder of the school year or just until Clark Springs Elementary is ready will be up to Fox families.
In a meeting on Monday night, school board members showed unanimous support for superintendent Jason Kamras' plan.
Kamras said teachers and staff at Fox will be given tours of the Monument Avenue location this week and will have all of next week to set up their classrooms.
He said that the target date to renovate and open Clark Springs is April 19. However, if all goes well and Fox families choose to stay at First Baptist for the rest of the school year, students won't start at Clark Springs until the fall of next year.
First Baptist has offered to host the Fox students without cost except for the excess spending the church will incur.
At Monday's meeting, several parents expressed gratitude and talked about the importance of students attending school in person.
"My children have been attending the First Baptist virtual learning center and we have 60 plus Fox kids who are now familiar with this space. I have no doubt their community will make every effort to make this transition the most rewarding experience for our students and teachers," Holly Blanton, a Fox parent, said.
"It may not look like Fox. In fact, it's not going to look like Fox. But what's most important is the student-teacher human relationship and that's what we're going to be able to offer on March 21 moving forward," Kamras said.
Kamras said they are still working on details, such as concerns about after-school care and transportation. He said they will be continuously briefing families and school board members moving forward.
He also expressed confidence that Fox Elementary will be rebuilt at its same location on Hanover Avenue and they are working to make that happen as soon as possible.