Schools in Swan Valley division to re-open Wednesday after threats

Schools in the western Manitoba division will be open again Wednesday after an anonymous email threat caused its schools to close Tuesday "out of an abundance of caution."

Heightened security this week for western Manitoba division's schools, including RCMP presence at high school

RCMP are investigating a threat to cause harm to students and staff at Swan Valley Regional Secondary School. (Swan Valley Regional Secondary School)

Schools in western Manitoba's Swan Valley School Division will be open again Wednesday, after an anonymous email threat caused the division to shut down its schools Tuesday out of what its superintendent called "an abundance of caution."

The threat was sent Monday afternoon to the high school in the town of Swan River, about 380 kilometres northwest of Winnipeg. The writer threatened to cause harm to students and staff at Swan Valley Regional Secondary School, according to Jon Zilkey, superintendent and CEO of the division.

In a letter sent to parents on Tuesday, Zilkey said RCMP investigated the threat and found no new information to suggest an escalation.

"Out of an abundance of caution, the [Swan Valley School Division] contacted the RCMP and took steps necessary to ensure the safety and well-being of students and staff," Zilkey said. "We treated the threat extremely seriously and took the precaution of closing all schools today."

The RCMP were called after the threat was sent Monday, and the school was put into hold-and-secure — which means classes continued as usual but nobody was allowed to enter the building. Principals at other schools were also notified of the threat, Zilkey said in a notice posted on the division's website.

"At no time did any incident occur at our schools that put our students and staff in danger," he said.

Controlled access, RCMP presence

In consultation with the RCMP, the division decided to close all seven schools of its schools on Tuesday. The closures also included the division office and bus garage.

In his letter to parents on Tuesday, Zilkey said local RCMP will continue monitoring and investigating the situation. He also said an RCMP officer will be at Swan Valley Regional Secondary School for the rest of the week, and that the RCMP will be visible throughout all the division's schools.

Zilkey said all schools will also have more controlled access this week, including locking all secondary doors and monitoring or locking main doors.

He said he understands students may be apprehensive about going to school, and that attendance will be at parental discretion — but parents who allow their children to stay home should contact the school each day so the absence is marked as excused.