State and Feds offer students help after Hurricane Michael

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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — In response to widespread and ongoing mental health issues following Hurricane Michael state and federal leaders offered help for the Panhandle students.

Florida First Lady Casey Desantis came to Bay High School Thursday morning to announce how the U.S. Department of Education is offering assistance after the storm.

“They will be heading up a disaster recovery team specifically to help the people recover after Hurricane Michael,” Desantis said.

Housed in Tallahassee for the first time ever, their role will be to restore school’s infrastructures and to ensure students are physically and mentally recovering after Hurricane Michael.

Collaboration will be seen on the state level too.

“For the first time in the state’s history, the state agencies are working together,” Desantis said.

Students in Bay, Franklin, Gulf, Jackson, Calhoun, and Liberty counties will also see something new on the first day of school.

“63 Telemental Health portals will be deployed, available and up and running on Monday,” Desantis said.

This allows students to participate in video conferencing sessions with a mental health provider. Each school in Bay District Schools will start with one portal.

“It’s new, kids like new, kids like technology and we think they are probably going to be more comfortable with it,” said Bill Husfelt, Bay District Schools superintendent.

Desantis’ main mission is to prepare students for the new year.

“We are committed to this area and we are committed to the students,” said Desantis. “Making sure that when they go back to school on Monday, if they need help, they are going to be able to have it.”

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