Southern Middle students on remote learning after school damaged in fire to return

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) — Southern Middle School students who were learning remotely since the school was damaged in a fire two weeks ago will be able to return to the building on Monday, March 20.

Principal Kevin Payne sent the announcement to parents that enough progress has been made to repair and restore the building to allow students back in, though “a few” classrooms will stay closed temporarily.

Below is the full email sent to parents:

“Dear Southern Middle School Families:

I am pleased to announce that we will welcome students and staff back into our building on Monday, March 20 to resume in-person instruction!

Today’s progress report indicates that building conditions will allow students and staff to return to a clean, safe, and healthy environment next week. A few classrooms will remain temporarily closed as restoration work continues, though our team has developed a plan to minimize disruptions for students.

Countless people and organizations have helped repair, restore, and clean our building following the unexpected fire on March 2. I would like to thank SERVPRO of Lexington, FCPS operations, maintenance, and grounds teams, as well as our custodians, district leaders, and Southern Middle School staff for all their help and hard work to make reopening possible.

I know it hasn’t been easy but thank you for your continued support and patience over the last two weeks. Our students, teachers, and families deserve a round of applause for their resiliency and cooperation. Remote learning has been successful because of excellent instruction, high levels of student participation, and supportive families. Our teachers have gone above and beyond each day to ensure that students had what they needed to learn from home, and we are grateful for their compassion and commitment to our Southern Middle School family.

We will share additional details ahead of Monday morning, though we do not anticipate any changes to our normal routine. We look forward to giving our students a warm welcome back to Southern Middle School on Monday, March 20!”

The fire on March 2 began in an art room, spread to another classroom and affected nearly every corner of the building. The school experienced broken windows, damaged ductwork, damaged ceilings and more.

Students have been learning remotely since March 6 while repairs were being made.

The fire was ruled accidental on March 9.


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