Hazel Trembath Elementary students’ learning time shortened

The Coquitlam RCMP says the investigation into the fire at Hazel Trembath Elementary School will take months. As Kate Walker reports, police believe it was arson, but so far, don’t have any suspects.

More than two months after a massive fire gutted an elementary school in the Tri-Cities, a private meeting is being held for parents and the Hazel Trembath community Monday.

The goal is to figure out a better way to get more than 220 students to and from their temporary facility, so it no longer eats into instructional time.

Port Coquitlam Mayor Brad West, whose young son goes to Hazel Trembath Elementary School, tells CityNews students are currently picked up at the site of the burned-down school and taken to the Winslow Centre in Coquitlam.

However, the drive can be as long as 25 minutes each way, and if there’s traffic, it’s even longer.

He admits it’s wearing on everyone, especially the kids.

In an email, School District 43 (SD43) confirms students are picked up at the time classes would normally begin, at 8:50 a.m., and dropped off at 2:40 p.m.

“These times were chosen to minimally disrupt family schedules by keeping routines around drop off and pick up at the same times. To mitigate some of the travel time, recess break and lunch break were shortened slightly to maximize core academic time,” said Kenn Hoff, assistant director, SD43 Communications and Community Relations.

Hoff adds the district has been “exploring” changes to the bus schedule, but it wants to consult the community before making any decisions.

“All options are being considered but there are many challenges to keeping a learning community together when an entire school is removed from service in one night.”

The suspicious fire took place in the early morning hours of Oct. 14. No one has been arrested in this case.

The Coquitlam RCMP says the cause of the fire will take months to determine.

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