Oakland County is committing tens of millions of dollars to address mental health issues and learning loss caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
So far, officials have designated $47 million to help the county’s 175,000 students.
Pontiac School District Superintendent Kelley Williams says COVID-19 made it difficult to meet the needs of students.
“We have worked diligently to provide resources and opportunities to assist our students to continue to deal with the ramifications from the pandemic. They were literally virtually learning for two years.”
The county has also allocated $10 million for mental health professionals – but a national shortage of clinicians could hinder that effort.
High school senior Fabiola Molina of Pontiac says just knowing help is available is a relief to her and her fellow students.
“Getting this help just means a lot, not just to me but to those around me, my classmates. I know it’s been a rough couple years and we have made it so far.”
County Executive Dave Coulter says there’s now record funding coming from the state, but there are still areas that need to be addressed.
“I applaud the governor, she’s made historic investments in public education, but part of that needs to include more mental health help, more counselors, more nurses and medical professionals, frankly.”
The county also plans to put $18 million into social safety net programs to address childcare issues and provide food and housing assistance.
Photo credit: Russ McNamara/WDET.