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COVID Impact: NYC Schools Hiring Hundreds Of Social Workers, Psychologists To Provide Mental Health Support, Screenings For Students

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- New York City schools are hiring hundreds of social workers and psychologists to help students process the trauma caused by the pandemic.

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced every school will have mental health support and screenings for each student.

As New York City public schools hope all students return in person this fall, it's also preparing to address the pandemic's widespread impact.

Watch Mayor De Blasio's Daily Briefing --

"This is one of the worst things that has ever happened to the children," one parent told CBS2's Aundrea Cline-Thomas.

Like so many children, initially parent Travis Spencer-Coye's 6-year-old had a hard time adjusting to the new normal.

"She would go from everything was fine to everything is terrible and she's not going to see her friends again or her family again," she said.

He says returning to school in person helped, but in September, most public school students will be entering a classroom for the first time in 18 months.

"Some will be grieving, some will be excited to see classmates again," New York City First Lady Chirlane McCray said.

That's why next school year, every student will undergo a mental health screening.

The Department of Education is hiring more than 600 social workers, psychologists and family support workers, giving every school access to additional resources.

"This means educators will have someone they work with to help provide the help young people need in schools," NYC Schools Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter said.


The DOE will also provide training to teachers and staff on how to recognize trauma and other issues students may be dealing with.

It's all being made possible because of an increase in funding from the federal government.

"As much as parents can try, I'm not a trained professional at it. So I'd like to get that input and have that engagement with her from the school," Spencer-Coye said.

From starting class with meditation, even for the youngest students, to informal teacher check-ins, wellness is no longer an added bonus. It's central to the curriculum after a devastating year.

The city's new summer school program will also provide mental health support to students.

Resources and training will be available to parents through an expansion of Parent University.

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