MAPLEWOOD, NJ - There was an evacuation at Columbia High School (CHS) at about 11:52 a.m. on Wednesday, October 18, according to an email from CHS Principal Elizabeth Aaron.

Aaron also noted in her email that students should have devices "off and away" at school, and that this is especially important so that they can hear directions from staff or the PA system.

The full email is below:

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Good afternoon from CHS. 

At approximately 11:52, we evacuated our building due to a fire alarm indicator. 

Maplewood Fire Department arrived onsite to confirm the source of the alarm, which was a shorted wire in a detector. The detector is currently being replaced. 

Students and staff evacuated efficiently and we resumed Period 6 about 15 minutes late. Our bell schedule has been adjusted so that Period 8 and 9 are shortened. Students who end their day with a Period 8 class will finish at CHS today at 2:23. 

Please discuss with your child this evening the importance of 'off and away' at school. If  students have ear buds in or are paying attention to a device in the hallway,  that choice compromises their ability to be safe as it renders them unable to hear directions from staff, over a PA system, or otherwise, and are thus in danger of not hearing important directions. 

We also encourage you to read and share this article with them. While we know our phones are valuable tools for communication and learning, we also know there are drawbacks to their use, and research shows it. This article is a good one to open up that conversation with your student. 

https://news.utexas.edu/2017/06/26/the-mere-presence-of-your-smartphone-reduces-brain-power

Thank you, 

Elizabeth M. Aaron, MAT, M.Ed.