WEST (CBSDFW.COM) – The tragic fire and explosion in West meant schools had to call off classes Thursday and Friday. Three schools are damaged and in restricted zones; only the fourth one is set to open next week. But there was a steady stream of people at West Elementary School Friday. Even folks who can’t get into their homes wanted their kids back in school.

“We need to do whatever we can to get back in in it and live in it and get him to school on Monday,” said Pete Arias, who is one parent who wants his second grader back in school. His 8-year-old son Samuel said he sees the current situation as a vacation and an extended stay at Grandma’s. When asked if he wanted to go back to school, he quickly replied with a smile, “No – I don’t like homework.”

But he will be there, along with all West ISD students K-through 6th grade. Teachers could be seen coming in Friday, ready to adapt to shared learning areas if necessary. Seventh through 12th grades will go to a formerly closed school in nearby Conley; students there are helping to make it ready, according to Jerry Maze, executive director of Region 12, an educational support agency for 12 Central Texas Counties.  He spoke of student preparations there Friday.  “They’re in there helping move furniture, we’re painting walls and we’re so excited that the students of West will be inside it on Monday morning.”

The spirit of community extends beyond just Conley. The Hillsboro ISD trucked in 250 desks and chairs. And even brought a busload of high school athletes to wrestle the donations into West Elementary. A good example of communities pulling together, especially when you consider Hillsboro and West are arch rivals in sports. Football player Wagner Norris said there is a time and place for rivalries.

“At times like these it doesn’t matter; we’re just trying to help the community as much as possible.”

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