Communications falling short with open labs


Many CHS students are unaware of the return of open labs, missing out on valuable time to use lab equipment such as the Adobe Suite.

Justin Longo

With the recent rollback of select COVID-19 restrictions at Communications High School came the return of open labs. However, students unaware of their return are hardly alone.

Open labs, or classrooms that allow students to use equipment, computers and accompanying software during the lunch period, were reinstated this year at the beginning of the second semester. According to Principal James Gleason, the labs were closed for lunchtime usage since March 2020 to ensure student safety.

“Because of the social distancing, as well as COVID and contact tracing and stuff like that, it just wasn’t very convenient to have  open labs,” Gleason said.

This extended closure, combined with little advertising about the reinstated existence of open labs has left many students unaware of their revival. Additionally, having started high school during the pandemic, many underclassmen have been unaware of them entirely.

Sophomore Kelly Meehan of Wall Township, previously unfamiliar with open labs, said she might utilize them in the future if they were advertised more publicly.

“I’ve heard of them but I don’t know where to find them,” Meehan said.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Senior Vincent Macri of Freehold, a former frequent attendee of open labs, was uninformed of their re-emergence and feels he has become less productive in their absence.

“I feel like not having them, I just haven’t done as much work during lunch,” Macri said.

Some teachers have also noticed a decrease in open lab attendance in comparison to before their suspension. Laura Fallon, graphic design teacher at CHS, finds that open labs are now being occupied by fewer students than in previous years.

“I would say that open labs used to be used more frequently,” Fallon said.

The lack of communication regarding open labs has left many students deprived of a devoted space to complete unfinished lab-dependant classwork. As for the rationale behind the quiet reintroduction of open labs? According to Principal Gleason, there was none.

For those aware of their existence, open labs are not just a welcome benefit but a necessity. Since the termination of at-home Adobe Suite access, open labs are now the only way students can freely use the software outside of class time. In the case of junior Francesco Thorik-Saboia of Long Branch, open labs are his only way of printing.

“I would always go to open labs to print stuff out,” Thorik-Saboia said. “So not having open labs made things really a pain.”