Michigan schools hiring hundreds of mental health staffers

Michigan

In this Thursday, March 11, 2021 file photo, desks are arranged in a classroom at an elementary school in Nesquehoning, Pa. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File)

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Schools across Michigan are working to recruit 562 mental and physical health professionals mostly to respond to student needs related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said this week that students will have the best chance at learning when their mental and physical health needs are met. The American School Counselor Association said Michigan ranked second worst in the United States in the 2019-2020 school year in its student-to-school-counselor ratio at 671-to-1.

The association recommends a 250-to-1 ratio. The effort to bolster the number of counselors, social workers, psychologists and nurses in schools is being funded by the $17.1 billion state K-12 budget Whitmer signed in the summer.

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