WILKES-BARRE — Students returned to their fire-damaged school in Luzerne County Monday morning after being out of class for two days last week.
The principal at St. Nicholas/St. Mary’s Elementary wants to make things as normal as possible.
The flag went up and students streamed into the school on South Washington Street in Wilkes-Barre. It looked like a normal day but it wasn’t. This was the first day of class since the Thursday morning fire that destroyed the school’s library, housed in a modular unit, connected to the main building.
Classes Thursday and Friday were cancelled.
“It’s pretty amazing to come back to school, even though we had a fire, for the last two days, we didn’t come back to school for two days,” said eighth grader Sean Lickers.
The modular library is boarded up outside. Inside, parts of the building are sealed off with students safely in their classroom, away from the damage.
Eighth grade students have an extra challenge due to the fire: a compressed exam schedule because of the time lost last week.
“Sunday, whole day, didn’t do anything, stayed in my room, studied,” said Michael Mohutsky.
The principal says the school year is still scheduled to end June 13.
“It’s the best time to happen, at the end of the year, not the beginning,” said Sr. Mary Catherine Slattery.
In other words, the school has to function without a library for only about two weeks.
Investigators determined the fire was an accident, caused by a faulty electrical outlet.
Still, there is a question hanging over the school: can the modular unit that housed the library be repaired, or does it have to be replaced? The principal says they’re still waiting for an assessment.