The Chronicles of COVID-19: What resources are being provided by the Anaheim Union District?

Carolina Herrera

The city of Anaheim has been severely affected by the CoronaVirus. It declared itself in a local emergency due to the high density of COVID19 cases. Being declared as a local emergency helped provide access to resources for our community. Anaheim has had a cumulative of 8,346 cases since the beginning of the pandemic in March. Out of the 8,346 cases, 758 of them have been children ranging in ages 3-18. Due to this pandemic, schools have become virtual, jobs have been lost, and resources are needed. Anaheim also has a high number of low-income households, so it is fundamental for the community to have resources to continue to resemble a “normal” lifestyle. 

After being in quarantine for about 7 months keeping healthy mental health is key. The Superintendent of the Anaheim Union High school District, Mr. Micheal Matsuda, sat down with AE News to inform the community on the latest resources provided to our community. “We have been one of the very first districts to hire social workers at every site. It is important to get counselors trained up and helping to identify mental health indicators. Dr. De La Cruz has been doing a massive training of teachers in order for them to be able to identify mental health issues in our students. We got Learning Loss Mitigation Money and we have to spend it all by December 30 so we are hiring 8 more social workers district-wide so on top of the site social workers we will have additional help plus we are hiring nine more counselors.” The purpose of the Learning Loss Mitigation Money is to “provide integrated pupil support to address other barriers to learning, such as the provision of health, counseling, or mental health services..”  The district has been focused on training staff members making sure that they are capable of identifying students who are struggling. Teachers have been implementing journaling and learning how to identify struggling students via the screen. If there are any struggling families the school staff members are well prepared to help resolve any issues. 

Parents have been going through plenty of confusion and they do not really know what is expected from virtual learning. The district has taken charge and has placed FACES to work hand and hand with parents. Before the pandemic, The Parent leadership academy was created. This was a six-week-long program where parents would meet every Saturday for two hours and discuss many topics parents were concerned about. This program was co-facilitated by parents so it is really focusing on tackling the needs of parents. To continue to help these parents the district is planning to have virtual parent learning walks by the end of September. The goal for these learning walks is to understand parent concerns and to educate parents on what’s expected during the school year.   

 Anaheim has a high density of low-income communities where most parents do not have an education above an elementary school level. Parents are concerned about not being able to provide the support their children need. Mr. Matsudas acknowledged that the district is conscious of this challenge, so a portion of the Learning Loss Mitigation Money has been used to hire an additional 150 college tutors. Each High School is assigned 10 tutors and on top of this support, the district is hiring 500 high school students to tutor as well. “We felt this was really important because not only are we going to build a better community and mentorship with the younger ones that need the support but this is also a way to push out money to our students and their families.” 

Since the beginning of this pandemic, there has been food distribution, technology lending, and free covid testing. The community also has access to tutoring services and a faculty team that is working hard to make these uncertain times run as smoothly as possible. It is important to continue checking emails to stay up to date with the resources being provided.