Fall classes started in Patrick County last Thursday. Two days later, on Saturday, a fire broke out at the elementary school, badly damaging the building. Monday students were given the day off while administrators assessed the damaged and built temporary classrooms. Tuesday, classes are expected to resume.
The damage and debris from Saturday morning's fire is still very much evident at Meadows of Dan Elementary school.
"The last thing I expected was that the school was burning down and it was really serious," said preschool teacher Betsey George.
But that disbelief is now starting to fade, as the reality of no longer having an elementary school, sinks in.
"It is devastating what we've lost," said Jeannie King, Principal at Meadows of Dan elementary.
"We have to decide if we are going to keep mourning the building, which is just a building, or be focused about children," said Dr. Roger Morris, Patrick County schools superintendent.
Patrick County has chosen the latter.
"There's a part of you that grieves, but there is a part of you that knows how lucky in some ways you are, and we're ready to move on," said George.
With 120 students and about 30 faculty and staff, each grade gets a sectioned-off portion of the gym for a makeshift classroom.
Teachers like Betsy George are doing the best with what they're given.
"We will have this set up, and we'll be ready to teach, and we'll be ready to go, and we'll have a good time," laughed George.
"In this grief and in this loss Patrick County is pulling together," said King.
There is a meeting Monday at 7:00 pm at Meadows of Dan Church to update parents.
There is still no word on what caused the fire.
___________________________________________________The gym will be replaced by portable classrooms by Labor Day, said Morris.
Meadows of Dan elementary students should be in class Monday, but that's not the case. Classes are canceled after a fire ripped through the school building over the weekend.
It started between 3-4 a.m. Saturday. It's not clear how the fire started, but NEWS7 did speak with Patrick County Superintendent Dr. Roger Morris Monday morning. He says they have set up an alternative location, so students can still go to class.
"We're going to use the gym as classrooms for the next week or so. Hopefully we can get some mobile units installed on the baseball field right near the gym so we can have classes in a regular way as best ya can," said Morris.
The school superintendent tells NEWS7 that they've received dozens of calls from people asking about donations.