Lockdowns have been lifted for two schools in National City that were placed on lockdown Tuesday after an anonymous email sent to the schools stated there was a bomb on one of the campuses, school district officials confirmed.
Sweetwater High School -- located at 2900 Highland Ave. (see map below) -- and Olivewood Elementary School, located at 2505 F Avenue, were both placed on lockdown beginning at 8:30 a.m. as National City police launched an investigation into the threatening email, which was sent anonymously around 7:30 a.m.
By 2:20 p.m., the lockdown on each campus had been lifted, school officials confirmed.
Manuel Rubio, of the Sweetwater Union School District, said both schools were locked down for the majority of the day so that law enforcement officers from multiple agencies could conduct sweeps to make sure the campuses were 100 percent safe.
K9 units were called in for further investigation and deputies from the San Diego County Sheriff's Department also assisted at the schools. At around 11 a.m., school staff confirmed all students were safe.
There are 3,000 students at Sweetwater High School. Rubio said the lockdown lasted several hours because the campus is vast and officers needed time to thoroughly search the school.
Rubio said an "all clear" was given by officials at 2:20 p.m., at which point students were released home for the remainder of the school day. All after school activities were cancelled Tuesday.
A few hours into the lengthy lockdown, officers established a staging area in a parking lot near the high school. Many parents waited in that staging area, ready to meet their children in case the schools were evacuated.
Many concerned parents were seen asking questions in the area, trying to get to the bottom of what was happening on campus.
At around 11 a.m., Rubio said sweeps had been conducted by officials, and there didn't appear to be anything suspicious on the Sweetwater High School campus.
Still, the lockdown remained in effect for several more hours as a precaution, because officials were still scouring the schools.
“As of right now it looks like there really isn’t anything [happening] on campus but again, our best move it to try and be cautious and take every precaution necessary to make sure students are safe,” said Rubio.
By noon, officials said Olivewood Elementary was all clear following sweeps of the campus. Meanwhile, Sweetwater was about 50 percent clear, officials said. Both schools remained on lockdown until Sweetwater was completely cleared.
According to a prepared statement released just before 2 p.m. by National School District Superintendent Christopher Oram, students at both schools were “evacuated a safe distance away from the buildings” during the lockdowns.
Once rooms were searched and cleared by police, children returned to their classrooms, Oram said.
“The school is on lockdown and the NCPD has directed us to not release students until Sweetwater High School has been cleared,” he added.
No injuries were reported. Again, no bombs or suspicious devices were actually found at the schools.
Rubio said classes at both schools would resume as normal on Wednesday. The incident remains under investigation by local law enforcement.