UPDATE: St. Cloud Schools Lift ‘Containment’, No Major Incidents Reported At Area Schools
SAUK RAPIDS -It's been quiet so far today (Friday) at our area schools. They have been on heightened alert, due to some social media rumors involving the one-week anniversary of the Connecticut school shooting, as well as the end of the Mayan Calendar today.
St. Cloud Superintendent Bruce Watkins says Apollo High School is no longer in a "containment", and Tech High School will lift their "containment" after the lunch break. A containment is different than a lockdown in that kids are allowed to move around the building in between classes, but they are not given any hall passes.
Superintendent Watkins, and other school officials, fielded dozens of calls from anxious parents all morning long. Some parents elected to keep their kids home today.
Sauk Rapids Police Chief Perry Beise says they did have extra patrols parked outside of the school buildings this morning, but they didn't notice anything out of the ordinary. He says they also made an announcement to the students letting them know the school is safe.
Sauk Rapids-Rice Superintendent Dan Bittman says the are not aware of any specific threat. There were a few parents that called the district asking to take their kids out of school after hearing some rumors.
Sartell-St. Stephen Superintendent Joe Hill says it's been a more quiet day for them, compared to some of the other area districts. He says the district's principals have received just a few phone calls from parents. Hill says the district has been on a heightened alert since last Friday, but it's been business as usual for them.
Up in Little Falls, that district did go into a lockdown this morning, after rumors of a threat. The districts says after multiple interviews and an in-depth investigation the did not find anything.
Below is a letter sent to the ROCORI parents today:
At the start of our day, we were notified by St. Cloud school officials of a social media report centered on the St. Cloud schools. The notification indicated that restrictive procedures were being implemented in the St. Cloud Schools. As a precautionary response to the social media report, a number of area schools (along with all ROCORI Schools) will be operating their day in a Soft Lockdown mode.
We want to be very clear that the ROCORI Schools were not mentioned directly in the social media exchange and we do not have any evidence to support any kind of threat at our sites, but as a precautionary measure we will operate today in a “soft lockdown” status.
What this means, for the most part, is that we are taking extra steps and cautions to prevent others from entering the buildings. All exits and entrances are locked and will be checked regularly throughout the day. Any students or visitors entering or leaving the buildings will have to do so through the main office. Inside the building, this status means that we will keep students in their classrooms as fully as possible with restricted passing ability; students will not be allowed in the hallways during class time.
Again, we have not had anything directed toward the ROCORI Schools and the notification originated from social media exchanges within the St. Cloud District. We appreciate their notice to us and we simply want to be more attentive to issues within our buildings.
Thank you for your support. We trust you will have a great day and a wonderful holiday break as we conclude the day!
Scott R. Staska, Superintendent