New Jersey Announces $1.2 Billion To Meet Students' Needs Amid Pandemic

In New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy is outlining plans to address the impact the pandemic has had on students; CBS2's Aundrea Cline-Thomas reports.

Video Transcript

- In New Jersey now Governor Murphy outlining plans to address the impact the pandemic has had on students.

- CBS 2's Aundrea Cline-Thomas live in Cliffside Park, New Jersey with more for us tonight. Aundrea.

AUNDREA CLINE-THOMAS: Well Governor Murphy announced $1.2 billion will be distributed to districts across the state to meet students and educators needs. But across our region the impact on children, the impact from the pandemic on children, has been particularly difficult.

Joel Andujar has a second grader who like many kids has not physically been in school in nearly one year.

- There was sometimes he was a little sad I guess or he was questioning a lot as to why can't he go back to school. Well then we explain to him what's going on.

AUNDREA CLINE-THOMAS: Now the state is providing money for districts to address the impact the pandemic has had on students from learning loss to mental health.

- This has been a challenging year. I believe, that's the understatement of the century. Is that fair to say? But we remain unwavering in our commitment to our educational communities.

AUNDREA CLINE-THOMAS: In the fall, each student will be assessed to determine what programs are needed. And starting now educators will get a chance to review what's working around the state to know how best to invest the money.

ANGELICA ALLEN-MCMILLIAN: This resource will help school districts identify strategies.

AUNDREA CLINE-THOMAS: In New York City, a similar plan but there's even more urgency says five public school students have committed suicide this school year.

BILL DE BLASIO: Kids have been cut off from what they need, what allows them to cope have hope.

AUNDREA CLINE-THOMAS: Mayor De Blasio says it highlights the importance of in-person learning. Middle schools reopen next Thursday and he hopes to also add high school soon with plans of a full reopening in the fall complete with mental health screenings for each student.

BILL DE BLASIO: A lot of kids have been through nothing short of trauma. They will need more support. Some of them will need a lot of support, will need to be know have an opportunity go into therapy if that's what's right for them.

AUNDREA CLINE-THOMAS: Now according to the CDC the suicide rate for children 10 to 14 years old nearly tripled from 2007 to 2017. Now the school year as everyone knows has been so hard. To take some of that stress off Governor Murphy has asked the US Department of Education to waive the requirements for the statewide assessments that usually happens in the spring. The state is still waiting for a response. Reporting live in New Jersey, Aundrea Cline-Thomas, CBS 2 news.

- Andrea, thank you.