How local school districts are using emergency funding to handle rising mental health challenges

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After more than a year of distance learning, many kids across America are struggling to catch up in school.

The learning loss from the pandemic has been stark, with up to 20 years of math and reading progress wiped out because of distance learning and the difficulties that came with it, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, otherwise known as “the nation’s report card.”

But parents and teachers are also seeing a rise in anxiety and mental health challenges as students go back to school. It’s a problem that all educators here in the Coachella Valley are grappling with.

“We’ve definitely seen a collective trauma that our students have experienced, our community, our staff, our parents,” said Lissette Santiago, the public information officer for Coachella Valley Unified School District. “We’ve seen behaviors that we’ve never seen before. Or if we’ve ever seen them, they’ve never been at this level.”

Hundreds of millions of dollars in emergency funding have been given to our valley schools. So what has the money been spent on so far?

Angela Chen tracked the money to see how tax dollars are being spent to address the mental health challenges plaguing our schools. 

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