BEND, OR -- After Bend-La Pine Schools officials learned of the roof collapse at Highland Magnet School, they decided to shut down all schools as a precaution. But, with many students already on campus, it was organized chaos. Arriving parents checked in and students' names were called out over a loud speaker.
Alandra Johnson, with the district, says there is an emergency operations plan that guides the process. "We asked that all of our school take attendance so we knew the students that were at the school. So, that way, when parents came to pick up their students, we would make sure we knew who was there and tried to keep track of that as well as we could."
Johnson says she understands that cancelling school after many students are already on-campus was difficult for families. "We tried to communicate as quickly as we can, as urgently as we received the information; get that out to parents. Obviously, we wish students had never gotten to school so we could’ve just prevented that. But, we are really happy that parents responded so well and we were able to clear all of our schools of staff and students within a really short period of time."
Engineers are expected to continue to assess all facilities through the weekend and were already discovering possible problems by Thursday afternoon. "We have a couple of sites that have potential roof load issues and those are all being assessed: The education center in downtown Bend, Buckingham Elementary School, one building at Juniper Elementary School, La Pine High School and RE Jewell Elementary School." Johnson hopeful students will be able to return Tuesday, after the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday.