OXFORD, Mich. — Oxford Community Schools offered words of encouragement the day before the district intends to reopen the doors to its high school to students for the first time since last year’s deadly shooting.
In a welcome back message posted to YouTube, principal Steven Wolf said the district was “reclaiming our high school back” while thanking the community for its support and feedback while administrators created its return-to-learn plan.
On November 30, a mass shooting left four students dead and injured seven others, including a teacher.
“We have been through so much to get to this moment,” said Wolf. “We’ve been grieving together, we’ve been praying together. We’ve attended funerals, vigils, and memorials. We’ve been absolutely heartbroken and we’ve been angry, yet we’ve been determined to carry on… we are reclaiming our high school back.”
According to Wolf, the district prioritized the physical and emotional safety of students and staff.
On Monday, when students walk the halls and attend classes, there will be numerous mental health professionals and extra police officers on standby.
Oxford Community School also renovated the high school while students were away. Changers include different carpet, painted murals, and notes hung onto lockers from younger students. Officials used calming colors and soft white lights.
Students and their families were allowed to walk the halls and reacclimate themselves to the building this past week. High schoolers also attended half-day classes at the middle school to adjust to learning in a classroom.
“We know it’s going to be really difficult for our students and our staff to come back because we’re still grieving and our thoughts and prayers will continue to be with the victims of this senseless act of this tragedy and those who continue to heal,” said Wolf. “Throughout the last several weeks, we’ve been reminded again and again of one important fact. Our community is strong and when we stick together, we are incredibly strong.”