Cedar Crest High School was evacuated Thursday morning, April 20, in an incident that proved to be a false alarm.

According to a notice posted to the district website, the intruder alarm was accidentally set off during morning announcements at the high school.

High school students and staff were evacuated to Cedar Crest Middle School, while some middle school students were kept on buses, as district staff and responding police swept the high school. Although the district determined there was no intruder, a second false alarm later in the morning prompted the district to dismiss high school students for the rest of the day.

Cornwall-Lebanon School District superintendent Dr. Philip Domencic said that the high school has had an intruder alert system for many years as part of its emergency preparedness safety practices, and that district staff do not recall having prior issues with false alarms like the ones this morning.

“This morning’s false alarms appear to have been a systems failure which is being resolved,” said Domencic. “Obviously, we cannot get into specifics which could compromise future safety.”

Domencic commended staff and students for responding exactly as they had been trained in drills.

He also lauded district police officers, who responded immediately, as well as units from South Lebanon, North Lebanon, and North Cornwall township police departments, and the Lebanon County Sheriff’s office, who were there within minutes, according to Domencic.

“They conducted a thorough sweep of the building and cleared it for students and staff to return,” said Domencic. “We are thankful for their swift support.”

Domencic noted that when the alarm went off a second time, administrators were able to confirm it was a drill/false alarm, and asked everyone to remain in place.

“Due to the disruption caused, it was clear that learning and teaching would not be effective today, and high school students were dismissed early at 11:45 a.m.,” said Domencic. “We are confident that this issue will be resolved today and expect CCHS to be in session tomorrow.”

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Davis Shaver is the publisher of LebTown. He grew up in Lebanon and currently lives outside of Hershey, PA, US.


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