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Message to students from Counselors during School Closure


March 18, 2020   

Dear HMSA Students,

As you know, HMSA has made the decision to close its campus and we are scheduled to begin distance learning online on Monday, March 16, 2020.

We hope that by practicing “social distancing,” we will do our part in limiting the spread of the coronavirus; however, we also recognize the impact that “social distancing” can have on your emotional wellbeing. It is common to feel anxious and overwhelmed when there are so many factors that remain unknown. 

We tend to try to avoid topics that trigger anxiety and stress, but not talking about your worries may actually increase these feelings for you. 



How to stay properly informed: 

Make sure to get your information from credible sources. Use sources like the school district website,  Centers for Disease Control or government websites. Be skeptical about the information you see on social media platforms. 

 It is important to try to limit media consumption. While it is important to stay informed, it is essential to set healthy limits if you find yourself constantly reading, watching, or listening to media coverage. If you can, try to take breaks to focus on positive things in your life, especially ones that you have control over, or unplug. Again, if you need news updates, check out a government resource for the best, most accurate information.  


Suggested sources: 

Hawthorne School District

HMSA Website

Centers for Disease and Control

Los Angeles County

Multilingual resources related to the Coronavirus

-Languages included: Spanish, Vietnamese, Arabic, Urdu, Tagalog and more...


Strategies to Support You During School Closure

  1. Talk about how you feel.

It is normal to experience a wide range of thoughts, feelings, and reactions during this time. You may experience the following:

  • Stress and worry

  • Fear and anxiety

  • Frustration and irritability

  •  Helplessness

  •  Difficulty sleeping and/or concentrating

  • Isolating or withdrawing from others


  • Physical symptoms (e.g. increased heart rate, sweating, low energy, stomachaches, headaches, etc.)

It can be helpful to talk with others, write in a journal, engage in creative activities (e.g. art, music, etc.), and/or speak to someone you feel comfortable with.


2.     Practice relaxation strategies:

During times of stress practicing relaxation can help soothe the mind and the body. If you are feeling stressed, anxious, frustrated, irritable, helpless, etc. Relaxing the mind and body can send messages to your brain that you are okay and help soothe those uncomfortable feelings. In addition, when you are more relaxed or calm you tend to react to stressful situations in a more productive manner. Uses these resources below. 


        UCLA Mindfulness Exercises                                 Progressive Muscle Relaxation 

 Deep Breathing Exercises                     Headspace                             Calm


HMSA Counseling will be posting activities for you to do Monday-Friday. 

Our goal is to use these activities to stay connected with you. 






Mindful Mondays 

      College Tuesdays 

       Active Wednesdays      

Thoughtful Thursdays        

Fun Fridays


3. Maintain a routine: 

It is important to maintain as much structure and routine as possible, which can increase feelings of control and/or alleviate feelings of anxiety and/or stress.

-We know many of you have multiple responsibilities at home which is why it is important to maintain a schedule and routine. If taking care of younger siblings it is important they too have a routine and schedule. 


  • Before you get started with remote learning, talk to your parents/guardians about their expectations for you during your time away from school and share with them the expectations of your teachers.

  • Try to keep your schedule consistent when it comes to bedtimes, morning routines (including getting dressed for the day), meals, and exercise.

  •  It may be helpful to set-up a specific workspace for yourself, so you can see the separation between home and school (try to avoid working from bed or the couch).

  • Be proactive and make sure to make it a habit to do academic work daily and check your email at least twice a day. This is a great opportunity to start from the beginning of Khan Academy for courses you have been struggling with.  


4. Stay Connected: 

  It is important for you to stay connected to each other ( friends, peers, family). Receiving support from loved ones can have a powerful impact on your stress and sense of stability and comfort. What you should do:

  • Make time for regular, personal check-ins with friends and family via text, email FaceTime, etc.

  •   All of the people at school that you or would regularly reach out to for academic and emotional 

  • support is available via email or video chat (Zoom, google hangout, etc.)


If you are feeling isolated please REACH OUT and let someone you trust know that you are feeling that way.  


5. Taking care of younger siblings resources: 

We know some of you are taking care of your younger siblings during this time, so please use the following information below to help you keep your siblings engaged and learning. 

PBS Learning 

200 Free Kids Educational Resources

Common Sense Media

LA County Public Library Educational Links


Also please be very active in informing your teachers, counselors or administration of any limitations you have at home so we can best support you.  


6. Community Resources:

Food-School lunches available to all students under 18 from the district. 


School Lunch- hours and Location


Free Groceries from St. Margaret’s Center for Low income families

LA County Library- 

FREE Online Tutoring

FREE Digital Books

FREE Movie Streaming

And more...

Get a Temporary Digital Library Card

Mental and Emotional Wellbeing 

Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health Access Center 24/7 Helpline (800) 854-7771 (562) 651-2549 TDD/TTY 


Text HOME to 741741 to connect to a Crisis Counselor

211 LA County central source for providing information and referrals for all health and human services in LA County

County Department of Public Health: call 2-1-1 for more information 



The HMSA Counseling Team