CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) – After two years of virtual learning, students at Charlottesville City Schools are still adapting to personal learning.
“Our kindergarten children, our first and second graders, this is really the first time they’re going to school,” CCS social worker Tiffany Scott said Monday, March 14th.
Scotts says children who have never been in a classroom before struggle, especially compared to children who learned personally before the coronavirus pandemic.
Patrick Farrell, an intervention and support supervisor, says the money that pays for these new workers is subsidized funding from federal pandemic aid and went to all school departments.
“They were in a way there to support the mitigation of COVID, to cleanse schools, but also to help meet the social emotional needs that both came out of COVID, but also just in general,” Farrell said.
This year, Charlottesville’s 11 new psychiatric staff arrived. Until 2022, there were only four.
“It’s just been amazing because we were previously scattered among several buildings and we were not able to really meet our students’ mental well-being needs,” Scott said.
Many children, she says, have difficulty with peer conflicts and problem-solving skills.
“Students struggle with just understanding how to respond to structure and how to adapt to changes in routine, and so the transition has been difficult,” Scott said.
When children have a conflict, they visit one of the psychiatric staff to talk things through.
Now the district is working to retain these workers.
“It’s our goal to get them integrated into our local budget, so when the grant money runs out, they’ll be part of our local budget going forward, and it’s something that will not be a short-term thing, but something like Charlottesville City. Schools just do it, ”Farrell said.
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