Selma Unified Temporarily Closes As COVID-19 Outbreak Spreads


Anna Armstrong and Brandi Aguilera

Students across Selma Unified received notification on Friday March 13th, that schools in the district would be closed until the tentative date of April 14th. The news came after widespread concern over the COVID-19 outbreak that has taken the world by storm.

These school closures are part of an international movement to reduce the likelihood of exposure and infection.

As of Monday, March 16, teachers and staff have been communicating to students via Google Classroom, email, the web, and social networking sites to notify their students of online schooling. The students of Selma High should expect online assignments from their teachers in the coming weeks. These assignments are strongly encouraged by teachers to be completed by students.

This school shutdown due to the pandemic is an unusual circumstance, and Selma Unified is definitely not conditioned for something like this, but district members, school administration, and teachers are working hard to provide educational opportunities for Selma students. 

“For now, my class can visit my website and continue using the provided powerpoints to complete their study guides,” asserted history teacher, Mr. Wright. 

Some departments such as the history department may have a bit of an easier task when assigning online assignments, whereas other departments like math or Advanced Placement classes may experience more of a challenge in online studies. 

Mrs. Tackett, AP Statistics and Math 3 teacher, is planning on using an app called Zoom to carry on her math lessons and assignments. 

“My AP Stats students have an AP test in coming months, so they can expect online assignments.” stated Tackett.

“I also plan on presenting some online lessons via Youtube videos, Zoom, and submitting examples through Google Classroom.”

Pertaining to the AP test, many AP students may wonder whether the virus will affect testing, too. According to the College Board, the scheduled AP testing dates are still in effect, but with some flexibility. The College Board is understanding of all of the schools being on shutdown right now, so if a school feels they need more time to catch up on lessons when they get back, then there are alternative AP testing dates scheduled for late May. 

This school-wide shutdown caused by the coronavirus has caused some major setbacks in schools. Educators will have to rely on remote instruction for periods of school closure, making it more challenging to track students’ understanding of the content taught to them. 

Mr. Norman, an Anatomy, Doctor’s Academy, Biology, and Academic Decathlon teacher, explained a concept called Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs says that there is a pattern through which human motivation moves. It is a pyramid that builds from the bottom up. At the bottom, the most fundamental needs are the physiological ones: food, water, warmth, and rest. In order for individuals to learn, they must first and foremost have food, water, warmth, and rest. 

Mr. Norman used this concept to explain why teachers and staff will need to have patience and compassion with their students during this time. 

“Everyone is going to need to be flexible and understand that kids are taking care of their brothers and sisters and maybe their elderly grandparents,” stated Mr. Norman. 

Mr. Norman also explained that some students may have families who are living paycheck to paycheck and may be out of work due to COVID-19. For some, it brings concerns about where their next meal will come, so homework might have to be placed on the back burner until students ensure their physiological needs are met. 

“Teachers have varying levels of expectations for their students, but they must understand this,” concluded Norman. 

Mr. Lopez, Selma High School Principal, assures students that food will be provided to those who need it. 

“Currently grab and go snacks and meals are being distributed Monday through Friday from 11 am – 1 pm until April 3, 2020, outside of our dining hall and in other schools in our district,” said Mr. Lopez.

Meals are available at the following sites; Selma High School, Eric White, Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln Middle School.

Students may also feel anxious or depressed during this time of misunderstanding and confusion. Students’ mental health is just as important as their physical health, and Ms. Toste offered a wide variety of solutions to keep your mental health at its best. 

“It can be easy to dwell on the situation while you feel stuck at home, but you must control the things you can control. Take some deep breaths, stay off of social media, and don’t focus on the news so much,” advised Ms. Toste, Selma High’s At-Risk Counselor. 

“There are many things that can be done to keep your mind off of the situation – do some missing assignments, current assignments, take your dog for a walk, find a hobby, clean your room or closet. Don’t hesitate to do the things you’ve been putting off,” added Ms. Toste. 

Students, we understand that we are all facing a challenging time, but Mr. Lopez urges everyone to alleviate their stress to the best of their ability.

“Stay busy and focus on the things you can control like your education, family, and well-being,” expressed Mr. Lopez. 

Faculty and staff stress to manage your anxiety and depression to the best of your ability and know that all of us are in this together. We know it isn’t easy to do but it’s crucial we continue practicing social distancing and healthy hygiene. 

Selma Unified School District is working as a team to provide the best educational opportunities to its students.