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JUST IN: Alexandria City High School evacuated after bomb threat

Updated at 3:15 p.m. Alexandria City High School’s campuses evacuated at 2:25 p.m. today after a bomb threat was made earlier by phone.

Principal Peter Balas wrote that the bomb threat was made while the schools were under a “Secure the Building” status.

“The Alexandria Police Department and Alexandria Fire Department are on site and working with ACHS administration, ACPS leadership and the ACPS Office of Safety and Security Services,” Balas wrote.

Balas said that students were evacuated to designated outdoor areas and that buses were sent early to speed up dismissal.

“At 2:45 p.m., the ‘Secure the Building’ status was lifted at the Minnie Howard Campus,” Balas wrote. “As a result, students may be able to leave both campuses early, depending on the arrival of the buses, while others may have a delayed departure from school, as the safety protocol allows.”

ACPS is asking parents follow directions from the Alexandria Police Department once they arrive to pick up their child from the school.

Additionally, all after school and evening activities scheduled today at the ACHS King Street and Minnie Howard campuses are canceled, including:

  • All athletics, although some away games are still occurring. Instructions on pick-up for away games will be communicated at a later time
  • All student clubs, theatrical, musical or other activities
  • Any community activities scheduled at these ACHS facilities.

In a release, Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) said the buildings were put in secure status at 11:45 a.m. after a threat was received by phone.

According to the release:

The threat is being investigated by the Alexandria City High School administration, Alexandria City Public Schools Office of Safety and Security Services and the Alexandria Police Department.

“Secure the building” means that the school day continues on a normal schedule inside the school but no one is allowed to enter or leave the school while the building remains secured. The decision to secure the ACHS King Street and Minnie Howard campuses was taken out of an abundance of caution to allow the investigation to proceed.

The safety and security of our students and staff are of utmost priority. We will continue to communicate via text, email and the school website to provide the most up-to-date information.

This is the second time in a little over a week that ACPS put schools into secure the building mode. Last Tuesday, ACPS said Francis C. Hammond Middle School, James K. Polk Elementary School, Patrick Henry PreK-8 School and James K. Polk Elementary Schools were put in a secure mode after police investigated a shots fired call nearby — though what this meant for the still under-reconstruction Douglas Macarthur Elementary School is unclear.

James Cullum contributed to this article