MILLBURN, NJ – Millburn High School students and faculty were put under a Shelter in Place Tuesday morning after a faculty member had a medical emergency.

At approximately 10:55 A.M. Tuesday morning, the school nurse was paged over the loudspeaker to contact the main office immediately. Students assumed this was just some minor situation that would be resolved in the coming minutes.

However, a few minutes into fifth period, at approximately 11:10 A.M., a shelter in place was announced over the P.A. system. After about ten minutes, students and faculty came to the realization that this was not a drill. Additionally, this was announced in the middle of the first lunch. Emergency drills at Millburn High School aren’t normally conducted during lunch periods.

Shelter in place situations allow for students and staff to continue work while remaining in the classrooms. Hallways must be clear, and nobody is permitted to leave rooms until the shelter in place is lifted. This practice allows for emergency crews to have a clear path in the hallways.

Faculty member Robyn Basta was unsure of whether or not it was an actual drill or a practice drill. “Once I realized the amount of time that passed, I became concerned that the ‘practice’ drill was the real deal.”

Millburn High School runs two drills each month to meet the State’s safety requirements. One of those drills must be a fire drill, while the other must be an ’emergency’ drill. This includes lockdown/active shooter drills, emergency evacuation drills, and shelter in place drills. Due to the preparation of students and staff, this real emergency was resolved quickly.

“Everything went well, and it worked the way that drill should. After the fact, there was confusion about the difference between a lockdown and a shelter in place.”, said MHS Assistant Principal Dr. Robert Keenan. “The shelter in place means that people just can’t go into the hallways but can continue working. A lockdown has a possibility of danger, and people are quiet in their classrooms with the doors locked.”

MHS Principal William Miron notified parents and students of the Shelter in Place through an email at around 11:55 A.M. Students and faculty remained in their classrooms while the Millburn-Short Hills First Aid Squad assisted in getting the faculty member to the hospital.

The shelter in place was lifted around 11:40 A.M., and students who were in lunch proceeded to their classes while students who were in class at the time of the announcement went to lunch. The day continued as usual with students being dismissed at 2:32 P.M.

We wish the faculty member well.

Dan Sirota is a graduate from MHS ('20) and the former Student Director of Studio 462. He now studies Film & Media Arts at American University in Washington, D.C.