Mental health counseling, school-provided meals, and internet access are a few of the resources students can no longer access due to the in-person school closure. But, the district has been working to maintain as much support as they can for MVLA students.
CHAC, a nonprofit organization providing counseling services to students, is still available during school closure. According to District Wellness Coordinator William Blair, CHAC counselors and therapists at MVLA are currently providing short-term support for students while also helping them find other external counseling resources.
“There’s a really heavy component mentally that a lot of people may be struggling with,” Assistant Principal Teri Faught said.
District intake coordinators schedule time to work with students and share with them resources for mental health in the community. In non-crisis situations, students and teachers are able to refer other students as well as themselves to counseling services. These referrals are made through the district’s telehealth system.
“Our telehealth check-in is checking in with the student…sharing the resources, finding out what the challenges are [and]what the best support for that student would be,” Blair said.
Therapists who were seeing students routinely prior to school closure have reached out to the students asking whether or not the student wishes to continue with the service. Many of these services work with students to find outside resources that may continue through summer.
Because some students have opted not to continue services remotely, Blaire says the district can now support more students.
“We don’t want anybody to feel alone…like they can’t have support because we have the infrastructure there,” Blair said. “We have the capacity to help our students and their families.”
Also remaining in service is the Stanford health van, which provides health services to students on a monthly basis. According to Blair, staff reached out to students who were currently seeing the health van and helped get the student in contact with a coordinator who can help identify their needs and provide the best kind of support.
According to Faught, the district has partnered up with Mountain View Whisman School District to provide free and reduced meals to students. The lunches are made by the school’s cafeteria staff and are distributed five days a week from 11:30 a.m. until 1 p.m.
The A La Carte food trucks, a fleet of trucks that collect surplus food, packaged and prepared, from local corporate and university campuses and cafeterias, and distributes them to highly populated neighborhoods in the Bay Area, has suspended its services due to health and safety concerns with the shelter-in-place and is no longer giving out food.
The district’s IT department has also arranged the distribution of Wifi connectors and chromebooks that are available to all students in the MVLA district.
They are being distributed at Los Altos highschool and students now have the option to drive by and pick them up. Faught says families that are receiving chromebooks have been “super appreciative and very friendly.”
According to Faught, the district, along with the help of the PTA has been providing $100 gift cards for grocery stores to families in the district as well. Roughly 100 people between the two highschools came for the gift cards.
“For a lot of people in our community, the shelter-in-place is a really hard time,” Faught said. “Gift cards or lunches and breakfasts are helpful.”
According to Faught, many decisions have been made on a district level to provide support to all schools in the MVLA district. During an unprecedented time, Faught says the district has “all hands on deck” in order to arrange the continued availability of school resources throughout school closure.
Meal distribution: Gabriela Mistral Elementary School (505 Escuela Ave. Mountain View Ca 94040)
Correction May 23, 2020: A previous version of this article spelled Wellness Coordinator name incorrectly as William Blaire. This is incorrect, his name is William Blair.