Oxford High School to begin 'slow' reopen by end of January

Jennifer Chambers
The Detroit News

Oxford Community Schools officials are aiming to begin a "slow" reopening of the high school by the end of January, according to an update posted on the school district's website.

On Nov. 30, Oxford High School was the scene of the most deadly school shooting in the United States since 2018. Four students were killed inside the school and seven other people were injured after student Ethan Crumbley allegedly opened fire inside the building.

On Tuesday, the district posted an update saying a team of school employees and district staff has attempted to personally contact the families of 1,787 high school students in the last two weeks to "listen to them as we plan our slow and safe return to school."

"Our current aim is to have our OHS students and staff reconvene mid-January and begin the slow reopening of our high school by the end of January," the district statement said.

Oxford High School in Oxford, shown on Dec. 7, 2021, has been closed since Nov. 30 when a 15-year-old student allegedly killed four students and injured seven others after bringing a handgun to school. Oxford school officials said on Tuesday, Dec. 21 they are aiming to begin a "slow" reopening of the high school by the end of January.

The district is planning virtual telephone town hall meetings and in-person venues for Oxford families to share their ideas and provide feedback, according to the update.

"We are hoping to hold these during the evening of Wednesday, January 5 and the afternoon of Thursday, January 6. Please make a note of it and we will send reminders with details so you can participate if you are able," the district statement said.

The district also asked for feedback and input from families and staff via email to plan a return to school.

The update included a link to a wellness survey the district is asking families to complete so it can provide professionally trained crisis counselors, trauma therapists or mental health support to those who need it.

Oxford Superintendent Tim Throne said last week work on Oxford High School will continue over the holiday break to prepare it for a reopening.

Returning to school is the best way for students to recover from trauma, experts told The Detroit News.

Killed in the attack were Hana St. Juliana, 14; Madisyn Baldwin, 17; Tate Myre, 16; and Justin Shilling, 17.

Ethan Crumbley, 15, an Oxford High sophomore, was charged as an adult with 24 counts including first-degree murder and terrorism in the attack.

Crumbley's parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley, are charged with four counts each of involuntary manslaughter.

The district plans to reopen K-8 schools on Jan. 3 as scheduled.

Oxford families needing mental health support can call 1-800-231-1127, 1-844-446-4225 or 1-248-464-6363 to set up support.