Dr. Armando Hernández, MMSD’s assistant director of integrated health and his colleagues in the Department of Student and Staff Support knew that stress and anxiety resulting from the coronavirus pandemic would be overwhelming for our students, families and staff in the district.
“Our schools are a place for support, connections and resources,” said Dr. Hernández. “From basic needs like food, attention and a sense of belonging; because these routines were interrupted, we knew this would be an added stress for our students”.
Dr. Hernández and his team worked swiftly in collaboration with district and education leaders to provide online resources to support the well-being of school communities across the district, while offering telehealth, or telecommunications technologies to support remote mental health care and social services for individual students and families.
From resources providing direction on how to speak with students about coronavirus to delivering tips for healthy strategies to manage stress, isolation and uncertainty; Dr. Hernandez wanted to do more to support the MMSD community by connecting with families personally.
That’s when Dr. Hernández teamed up with César Sanchez from the district’s Family, Youth and Community Engagement Department to bring health and wellness conversations directly to families using Facebook Live for a series called, Coping During COVID-19.
“Through our Facebook Live series, we wanted to find more creative and innovative ways to connect with families directly using a medium that resonates with them”.
With help from communications team members, Dr. Hernández hosted a six-part Facebook Live series from March to June featuring MMSD staff, students and community partners from Public Health Madison and Dane County, Centro Hispano and UW Health with topics ranging from supporting children, youth and families to managing money during uncertain times.
In every session, Dr. Hernández dedicated time for live questions, comments and interactions from the community. Dr. Hernández also produced Facebook Live sessions delivered entirely in Spanish in support of the district’s Latinx families and community.
To date, all the sessions in the series combined have more than 40,000 views.
Dr. Hernández intends to continue bringing live, relevant content to the MMSD community utilizing Facebook Live this school year. “We want to help as many families as we can to overcome their fears and anxieties by answering their questions and supporting them through these very challenging times”.