Reopening schools is not enough; mental health help needed: COVID news.

Reopening schools is a start, but every American student should have access to mental health professionals after two years of battling the unprecedented coronavirus pandemic, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said Thursday.

Cardona said the onus is on school districts to use U.S. bailout funding to hire mental health staff. One of President Joe Biden’s campaign promises was to double the number of school counsellors, social workers and mental health professionals in schools. But Cardona’s speech was light on the specifics of how schools need to bolster mental health support and staffing amid the national staffing crisis.

US bailout funding, critics have suggested, is not enough.

“Our principals continue to burn the candle at both ends,” Ronn Nozoe, CEO of the National Association of Secondary School Principals, said in a statement responding to Cardona’s remarks. “Without immediate action to address their staffing shortages and concerns about the welfare and well-being of teachers and students, it will be extremely difficult to ensure that these proposals actually provide the real support that our communities have needed. need and deserve.”

Cardona’s vision also includes a push for increased participation in extracurricular activities, access to intensive tutoring, and student loan reform. The department has written off about $15 billion in student loan debt since Biden took office. The federal government has suspended payments on federal student loans since the start of the pandemic. They should resume in May.

Chris Quintana and Alia Wong

Also in the news:

►Even though the more contagious but less virulent omicron variant is receding in much of the United States, it leaves a noticeable footprint: the 18.4 million infections recorded in the country so far in January represent a quarter of 73.2 million throughout the pandemic.

►Boston firefighters and other unionized public safety workers continue to challenge Mayor Michelle Wu’s Sunday deadline for vaccinations. The firefighters’ union wants the ability to submit to weekly testing. More than 94% of the city’s workforce had completed the mandate as of Monday, Wu said.

►Current and former staff described a “toxic atmosphere” at the World Health Organization in the Western Pacific and accused its director, Dr Takeshi Kasai, of racist, unethical and abusive behavior, the Associated Press reported.

► Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy has joined Texas Governor Greg Abbott in trying to stop the Pentagon from mandating vaccinations on members of the National Guard under state command. About 40% of Texas Army National Guard members refuse to be vaccinated, according to the Texas lawsuit.

►People who had slight changes in their menstrual cycle after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine only experienced these changes for a brief period, as a new study ‘reassures’ there is low risk in fertile individuals of being inoculated.

📈Today’s numbers: The United States has recorded more than 73 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 877,000 deaths, according to Data from Johns Hopkins University. Global totals: Over 364 million cases and over 5.6 million deaths. More than 210 million Americans – 63.5% – are fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disaster Control and Prevention.

📘What we read: Many people with disabilities have yet to return to airports as they attempt to protect yourself from coronavirus infection it could either feel like a big flu episode or it could cost them their lives.

Keep refreshing this page for the latest news. Want more? Sign up for USA TODAY’s free Coronavirus Watch newsletter to receive updates straight to your inbox and join our facebook group.

Florida school district won’t excuse students for COVID issues

The Orange County, Florida school district said its 209,000 students would no longer be allowed to get an excused absence for not attending school over fears of rising coronavirus infections.

The district, with more than 200 schools in the Orlando area, said in a Facebook post on Wednesday that the policy takes effect on Monday.

“The number of cases has continued to decline, and we continue to require face masks for adults and strongly encourage them for students,” the announcement read. number of absent students.

The Orange County Public Schools Website Reports 19,548 campus infections since August 2including more than 15,000 among students.

The district encourages parents to keep their children home if they show symptoms of illness and offers homeschooling as an option for those who do not want their children to attend in-person classes out of caution about COVID.

Less than half of Americans think booster shots are essential, poll finds

Only 59% of Americans think getting the coronavirus shot is essential to feeling safe in public activities, according to a new poll. And although boosters offer significantly better protection than a two-shot course of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, only 47% of Americans think it’s essential that they get a boost.

The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll also points to what authorities call alarming COVID-19 vaccination rates among American children ages 5 to 11. Only 37% of parents consider it essential that their children be vaccinated.

In Minneapolis, Colin Planalp, a 36-year-old public health researcher, blames health officials for not making the importance of childhood vaccinations clearer to the public. Planalp said he had his 6-year-old son vaccinated as soon as he was able.

“Kids can get really sick from COVID,” he says.

World travelers beware: a booster shot may soon be needed

A growing number of global destinations are cap the time travelers can spend with a series of vaccination in one or two doses. Without the reminder, holidaymakers could find themselves facing additional entry requirements, unable to access certain sites or being refused entry entirely. Beginning Tuesday, US travelers to Spain who received the last dose of their initial one- or two-dose vaccination series 270 days or more before entry will be required to present proof that they received a booster vaccination. Health experts expect these requirements to become more widespread as countries crack down on the spread of COVID-19.

“We know that being boosted gives you much better protection, both against disease and serious illness. So it’s not surprising,” said David Weber, professor of medicine, pediatrics and epidemiology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “I think that will be an ongoing trend for countries that want to limit transmission.”

Bailey Schulz

Moderna’s recall focuses on omicron

Moderna announced on Wednesday that its first participant received the company’s booster dose that specifically targets the omicron variant. The news comes a day later Pfizer and BioNTech have announced their own plans. Booster injections of Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines have been shown to be 90% effective prevent omicron-related hospitalizations, according to CDC data.

Moderna’s study will include two cohorts: participants who have already received both doses of the Moderna vaccine, with the second dose at least six months old, and participants who have received the initial two doses plus a booster Moderna il at least three months ago.

Jewish advocacy groups condemn comparisons between the mandate and the Holocaust

Thursday marks the 77th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz concentration camp in Nazi Germany. Days before International Holocaust Remembrance Day, to honor the 6 million Jews and other Holocaust victims, anti-vaccine activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. said he was more easy to live in Hitler’s Germany that the world today with COVID-19 mandates.

“Even in Hitler’s Germany, you could cross the Alps to reach Switzerland. You could hide in an attic like Anne Frank did,” he said Sunday at an anti-vaccine rally in Washington, DC. “Today the mechanisms are in place so that none of us can run. And none of us can hide.

Jewish advocacy and Holocaust awareness organizations rushed to condemn Kennedy’s words, for which he later apologized. The Auschwitz Memorial called its comparisons “sad symptom of moral and intellectual decadence.” Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, said his comments are “deeply inaccurate, deeply offensive and deeply disturbing.”

“Those who carelessly invoke Anne Frank, the star badge and the Nuremberg trials exploiting the history and consequences of hatewrote the American Holocaust Museum.

Kennedy’s comparisons between COVID-19 terms and Nazi Germany are just one of many comparisons made by prominent figures, including U.S. Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene and Tucker Carlson, FOX commentatorover the past two years.

Comments are closed.