The Student-Run Newspaper of Townsend Harris High School at Queens College

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The Student-Run Newspaper of Townsend Harris High School at Queens College

The Classic

The Student-Run Newspaper of Townsend Harris High School at Queens College

The Classic

Emergency Alert Test Leaves Harrisites’ Phones Buzzing Loudly During Schools

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This past Wednesday, the federal government conducted a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System and Wireless Emergency Alerts. An emergency alert drill sent loud alerts to millions of consumer cell phones around America that were connected to a cell tower, including those in Townsend Harris High School.

The test was transmitted for about 30 minutes, from approximately 2:20 p.m. to 2:50 p.m. The alert read, “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.”

As the alert noise reverberated through THHS hallways and classrooms, students described their experiences with the interruption. Junior Sarah Khan said, “My phone didn’t make any noise. For some reason, it only vibrated, but while I was walking through the halls on my way to class the alarms started to go off and it was really loud.” She continued, “Some phones got those emergency alerts way later than others, and almost for the whole band people’s phones would go off randomly.”

Similarly, sophomore Fathima Mohamed Iqbal said, “The alert did not impact me. In fact, I thought it would be louder and longer since there were rumors about other countries hearing it and how they would feel the alerts vibrating, but it was just quiet, quieter than amber alerts, shorter too.”

However, other students reported to be more disturbed by the alert. Junior Angel Rahman said, “I was in the middle of a test so it was a bit disturbing but only one phone went off. Once I transitioned to [the] next class, that’s when I heard it more and it was a bit disturbing when I was trying to finish my work.”

According to a senior Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) official who was interviewed by CNN, educators were braced for the disruption in schools and encouraged to use the alerts as a teaching opportunity about emergency preparedness initiatives.

Still, many students were caught off-guard by the blaring disruption. Senior Elisabeth Poclitar said, “I was in humanities [class] during the time. We all kind of jumped in our seats when it happened, and it got pretty loud due to the plethora of phones, but we all laughed it out.”

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Rabtah Jinan
Rabtah Jinan, Science & Technology Copy Editor
Rabtah Jinan is a senior at Townsend Harris High School. Her favorite activity is doing henna and perfecting her designs through practice. She loves gathering interviews for her articles and learning more about other people.
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