Precaution was enacted due to unrelated incident on Elm Avenue
By Ryan Gueningsman
DELANO, MN A “soft” lockdown was implemented at Delano Public Schools Thursday morning around 9 a.m.
A prior call for possible mental health issues was received by the Wright County Sheriff’s Office for a residence on Elm Avenue near the school campus, according to Wright County Chief Deputy Joe Hagerty.
He added that there was nothing going on at the school itself and this was done simply as a precautionary measure.
As of 9:40 a.m., Hagerty reported the lockdown had been lifted, and sheriff’s deputies were no longer at the residence.
“It’s always better to be safe,” Hagerty said.
Delano Schools Superintendent Dr. John Sweet said he was at a meeting at the Delano City Hall at the time the lockdown was enacted.
“We kept kids in the classroom for about 20 minutes,” Sweet said.
Delano High School junior Katie Lofrano said she was in history class when an announcement came over the loudspeaker from High School Principal Matt Schoen, notifying students and faculty the school campus was going into a soft lockdown.
“They said, ‘this is not a drill,’ and said everyone can keep going with teaching, but said no one could leave,” Lofrano said.
She said no one in her class really panicked after the announcement, but said students were asking staff what was going on and if it was a real situation.
Lofrano said a short time later, Schoen made another announcement explaining the situation was on Elm Avenue and that it had been handled.
Along with the high school, the middle and elementary schools were also in soft lockdown mode.
A soft lockdown is defined as “all students and staff remain in classrooms and work areas, but can continue with the daily learning and work within those areas,” according to an e-mail to parents and staff from the Delano School District.
The schools were in the lockdown for approximately 25 minutes, until local law enforcement authorities informed school administration that the security situation was resolved, according to the e-mail.
“All students and staff facilitated this security measure with great efficiency,” Schoen said in the e-mail notification, adding that the e-mail was sent to inform parents and guardians that school administration facilitated proper safety protocol.
Sweet said the next level of lockdown involves not letting anyone in or out of the buildings.
“We practice it all the time, but I don’t recall where we actually had one before,” Sweet said of the lockdown.
“It brings a heightened awareness to things,” Sweet added. “There was never a threat directed at the school or anything. It’s a standard procedure police ask for when some kind of an event is taking place nearby.”