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Park City School District shares emergency communication plan after schools put on hold

Park City High School.
Kristine Weller
Park City High School.

Some Park City School District schools were placed on hold for about an hour Friday morning while police investigated suspicious activity nearby. Here's more on district safety and communication protocols.

Park City Police were called about a suspicious incident across the street from Park City High School around 7:20 a.m. and notified schools.

The Park City School District placed Kearns Campus schools on “hold” as a precaution. The standard safety protocol clears common areas and secures buildings while classes continue as planned.

Park City Police Sgt. Clint Johnson said they investigated reports of an incident involving a gun off campus, not at the school. No weapon was found, no shots were fired and they gave schools the “all clear” around 8:30 a.m.

Police said there was no threat to students or schools at any time.

A Park City High School student, who only wanted to be identified as Madeline, said since schools were notified of a potential threat before classes started, the principal and other staff were ushering students inside. They also knocked on car windows to get kids in the building.

Once classes began, Madeline said the principal announced the school was going on hold and didn’t explain why.

“That kind of started some speculation within the students, we were all making our own kind of assumptions, and maybe rumors, maybe someone said that the person had a gun, and it kind of got more students to worry,” she said.

Students began texting their parents about the situation. Madeline says she wasn’t worried about the incident because classes continued as usual. But later when the hold ended, students still weren’t informed about what happened.

“I feel like if we had confirmation of what actually happened then it would have been easier," Madeline said. "Especially since it might be a smaller matter, then it would have been more reassuring to hear something than nothing at all.”

While parents were sent a joint statement from the Park City School District and the Park City Police Department just before 10 a.m., Madeline said she’s surprised students still haven’t received any information from the school.

District Chief Operations Manager Mike Tanner said they were in constant communication with police during the incident. He also said the schools followed standardized safety protocols.

“Our first goal is not to communicate to the parents second by second by second what's going on, that's counterproductive to managing the emergency,” he said. “And potentially it could be problematic because it could incite panic in the community that’s not warranted.”

Tanner said they communicate with parents and guardians as soon as they have accurate information and students are safe. If there’s a non-threatening incident that doesn’t involve weapons, he said parents are usually informed at the end of the school day.

Tanner said he understands why parents are concerned as he also has a child in the Park City School District. Tanner said these incidents are rare and asked parents to have patience with the district during emergencies as they determine what information they can release.

Parents can find information about the district’s emergency plan here.