Oak Harbor Elementary, Olympic View Elementary, North Whidbey Middle School and Oak Harbor Virtual Academy were on lockout Friday afternoon after a suspicious person was reported in the area.
According to the Oak Harbor school district’s website, a lockout occurs when a non-immediate threat is reported in the community. The exterior doors to the school are locked and no visitors are allowed in the building. Education in the classroom continues, but students remain inside the school building.
Capt. Tony Slowik of the Oak Harbor Police Department said a staff member at Oak Harbor Elementary reported seeing a person off-campus on the other side of the fence line that they thought was suspicious at around 2:20 p.m. on Friday.
The school reported the suspicious person to the police and decided to put the building and nearby schools on lockout, which is different from lockdown. A school building goes into a lockdown when a more immediate safety concern is reported on campus or police activity in the community is nearby. Students and staff remain in classrooms, behind locked doors, staying quiet and out of sight. Windows and blinds are closed and lights are turned off.
Slowik said the police were unable to locate any suspicious persons in the area. The lockout was lifted 15 to 20 minutes later, according to Sara Foy, who is the communications officer for the district.
“Our administrators quickly responded to the situation and ensured staff and students were safe and secure on campus,” Foy wrote in an email. “We will continue our ongoing relationship with law enforcement to ensure we do everything we can to maintain the safety and security of our schools.”