GOLDEN, Colo. (CBS4)– JeffCo Public Schools, Denver Public Schools and Douglas County Schools were among the first school districts in the Denver metro area to announce Wednesday they will reopen schools on Thursday. This comes after learning there was no longer a threat to schools across the Front Range on Wednesday morning.
There was a Denver metro area wide school closure of 19 school districts and 500,000 students out of school on Wednesday due to a threat. Schools will have extra security measures in place when students return on Thursday.
“We did not wish to have one person hold all of the schools of the front range or the state hostage,” said Superintendent Dr. Jason Glass.
Jeffco Public Schools has 157 schools and around 85,000 students it has to consider when making the call to close for the day. Administrators told CBS4 earlier Wednesday, before the FBI announced their suspect was found dead, that they were waiting for as much information available on Tuesday night before making their decision.
The woman from Florida came to Colorado and made comments that she was “Infatuated” with the shooters at Columbine. It was almost midnight before the district sent out notifications that school would be cancelled.
“How do we change school on a normal day to how does school look like under this threat?” Glass said.
District leaders started the day planning for a possible second day of school cancelled but also considering how they could reopen all of their campuses if the threat was still there. Changes to the programs in place would affect transportation, procedures for students to arrive to school, how they lock doors, and the food services they provide each day.
Law enforcement agencies and school safety experts are consulted but JeffCo staff say they often do not get any other additional details than what the public learns, they may get it sooner to help them make a decision. They have to weigh what they know and the possibility of learning more information with the impact of cancelling school on short notice and the impact that will have on families.
Glass says the experience of this threat, which many leaders have said felt different than the others they’ve experienced, prepared them for a similar situation that they will likely face again.
“We see copycat versions of threats more commonly so we are developing systems and procedures on how we will react to situations like this in the future,” he said.
Schools in Jefferson County will reopen on Thursday and all district events scheduled through the weekend will take place as planned.
The Douglas County School District sent out a statement that reads in part, “Our schools will be open tomorrow, Thursday, April 18, with heightened safety and security measures in place. We do not share all of our security details with the public, but please know that staff will be extra vigilant. As always, our security team is working with our local law enforcement partners to provide adequate security and increased presence at all schools.”
Other schools reopening Thursday include the Boulder Valley School District, Littleton Public Schools, Westminster School District, Poudre Schools and others that were closed on Wednesday.