Novato High School has returned to the normal routine after an evacuation tied to a potential bomb threat, sources said Friday.
A garbled phone call made to an emergency line at 7:20 a.m. was determined to be a possible threat to the school on Arthur Street, Novato police Sgt. Eric Riddell said. After an evacuation and search of the campus by police, administrators at contracted North Bay Security personnel, the all-clear was given at 9:05 a.m.
“This was a swift and efficient evacuation in partnership with the Novato Police Department and North Bay Security," Novato High Principal Rey Mayoral said in a release sent out by the Novato Unified School District. "We are very glad this was an unfounded threat. However, we will take all action necessary to secure the safety, health and welfare of all students and staff.”
Students and teachers were back in classrooms by about 9:10 a.m., and a call was to be made to students' parents to inform them of the incident, the district said.
"There's going to be a debriefing about how this went," Riddell said. "It's good to go through the drill. There are always things you can do better, but there are also things that go very well."
Riddell said the initial call was handled by the California Highway Patrol, which then emailed the recording to Novato police at 7:40 a.m. Minutes later, officers determined it might be a threat to Novato High and contacted the school, the Novato Fire District and North Bay Security, an independent firm that handles security on Novato Unified campuses.
"The decision was to go ahead and handle it like a fire drill and send people to an area that had been searched and secured," Riddell said. "We didn't notice anything unusual and just after that we determined that it appeared to be a false threat."
The campus fire alarm was activated, and everyone was moved out to the soccer field. A fire engine and medical unit was on standby at the campus, Riddell said.
Investigators will follow leads to try and identify the caller, he said. "We'll try to figure out who owns the phone and then exhaust all other leads," he said.