Back to School: Governor Walz Greets Zanewood Students, Talks Mental Health Funding
Tuesday was the first day of school for many students in the northwest metro and some special guests welcomed students back to class in Brooklyn Park. Minnesota Governor Tim Walz and other state leaders greeted staff and students at Zanewood Community School.
Students were smiling and talking with their new friends as they lined up for the first day of class. One little boy shed a few tears before his teacher comforted him. A fifth-grader told us she’s glad to be back in school.
“I want to see my teachers and I want to learn and be here,” said student Leah Holuge.
Teachers Glad COVID-19 Restrictions Gone
Teachers and other educators at Zanewood Community School say they are relieved not to deal with significant COVID restrictions in the classroom.
“Oh my God, it’s life-changing. I feel like I’m normal again,” said paraprofessional Jobaeida Halim.
Schools across the state will see increased mental health resources to cope with the after-effects of the COVID-19 panedmic.
“Both pre-COVID and post COVID, we know that mental health issues across the state of Minnesota, especially among young people, have been increasing,” said Governor Walz.
Minnesota has one of the country’s worst student-to-staff counselor ratios. Education leaders will use federal funds to boost mental health support.
“Expanding student support personnel which is inclusive of counselors, but also social workers, school psychologist, nurses as well chemical dependency counselors,” explained Minnesota Department of Education Commissioner Heather Mueller.
School officials say making sure students have an opportunity to learn in a safe environment and dream of a brighter future is a top priority.