Coronavirus Awareness at MHS


Fatima Diarra

It has been a few weeks and a lot has changed at Manville High School since the first news of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) was released. At first, it was business as usual and the hot topic of conversation was in the Coronavirus’s spread. It was hard to walk the halls without hearing “Coronavirus….” on passing. As the suspected cases started getting closer to home, it was more common for teachers to talk about the situation and what the schools were doing about it. Some schools had to shut down because the danger was getting a little too close. We, like other schools, kept our doors open and business remained as usual.

On the week of Tuesday, March 10th, students heard the news of our school district preparing for a possible shut down. It was not going to just be an extended vacation, the school had come up with the beginnings of a plan. First of all, it was no choice of the school whether they shut down or not, it was for the state of New Jersey to decide. If the state did shut MHS down for a period of time, then the school’s plan will be put into action. Since the school needed to hold classes for at least 180 days, it was either overuse our snow days and have to extend the school year or take the virtual route and have assignments sent home. What students were told was that work would be sent through Google Classroom, Remind, or Canvas every day and it would be tracked as attendance. This work was meant to be 30 minutes for each class because the idea was to work on a delayed opening or half-day schedule. Many did have concerns, such as if technology would be provided for those who don’t have any or if lunch would still be served at school for those who needed it. Students filled out a survey asking about technology issues that needed to be solved before the school shut down so that they could be given Chromebooks beforehand or even have the school provide them with wifi access. The teachers also made it clear that the school was going to provide lunch. Everyone had some idea how things may play out.

After Tuesday many followed the path of the suspected and real Coronavirus cases as it went through New Jersey. On Friday, March 13, students and staff were made aware that starting Wednesday, March 18th there would be no coming to school, but Flexible Instruction Days (FIDs). Monday, March 16th and Tuesday, March 17th were going to be used as snow days so that teachers could tie up loose ends and make sure they were ready to use the online platforms. Starting Friday, March 13 after school, those from the high school or ABIS who needed a Chromebook came to the media center to borrow one. This service would be open for use on Monday and Tuesday of the following week also, but it was encouraged to get them early. Since Friday, March 13 all school activities have been canceled or postponed from trips, sports practices, and even the MHS play. The students were also told to remove all their belongings from their lockers and take them home on Friday so that the cleaners can do their job. The safety of the students and staff is being taken very seriously so a thorough cleaning is going to take place during the shutdown.

The weekend came and went, and soon it was the first day of FIDs that was a learning experience for everyone. Not all the teachers used the same platform and the submission deadlines could be different, but students could work at their own pace on their own time. For lunch, those who get free or reduced lunch are able to receive food in a grab-and-go fashion from MHS. Not only are teachers still available, but the guidance counselors and school psychologist can all be reached through email if students run into any problems. This shutdown is only supposed to last two weeks so we should be returning to traditional school on Monday, March 30th as long as there are no further issues.

Manville high school and school district prepared the best they could on short notice to ensure students still received a meaningful education in this progressive flexible instruction day.