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LI schools hiring mental health professionals as students return

LI schools hiring mental health professionals as
students return 1

School districts hire more psychologists, others in wake of COVID-19

The hiring of mental health professionals reflects an increase in anxiety, depression and isolation as students deal with pandemic-related pressures, Newsday’s Craig Schneider reports.

Educators say this could include the loss of a loved one, economic hardships in their household, struggles with distance learning and the frustration of not being able to see friends.

With the start of school about a month away, Riverhead, for example, is adding seven more psychologists, three social workers and three guidance counselors, Superintendent Augustine Tornatore said. Before, the district had seven psychologists, 12 social workers (one part time) and 10 counselors, officials said.

“We understand the tremendous struggle our families are going through, and we are providing additional support at all grade levels,” Tornatore said.

Some districts are taking advantage of $1 billion in federal stimulus money granted to Long Island schools during the health crisis. But other districts are using their own budget funds.

The number of new positives reported today: 338 in Nassau, 340 in Suffolk, 1,934 in New York City and 3,615 statewide.

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On the latest Newsday Live webinar, Nassau Health Commissioner Dr. Lawrence Eisenstein and Suffolk Health Commissioner Dr. Gregson H. Pigott said despite concerns over the delta variant, we’re still not seeing anything on Long Island resembling a new wave. Read more, and watch the webinar here.

View charts showing the latest local trends in vaccinations, testing, hospitalizations, deaths and more.

Federal officials support local vaccine mandates as cases rise

Two of the nation’s top federal health officials on Sunday expressed support for vaccination requirements at both public and private institutions as new cases continue to climb.

Some municipalities and private businesses are weighing vaccine requirements either as a condition of employment or to enter public and private venues.

On Long Island, the positivity rate continued to increase over the weekend, with the seven-day average reaching 3.58% on Saturday, according to state figures. On Friday, new infections detected on the Island totaled 819 out of 4,385 new cases statewide, state figures released Saturday showed.

Some LIers still unwilling to get COVID-19 vaccine

Many Long Islanders are still hesitant to get vaccinated.

Newsday’s David Olson spoke with residents about that hesitancy in four communities with some of the lowest vaccination rates in the region: Hempstead, Mastic Beach, Roosevelt and Shirley.

Beyond specific misinformation residents say they got from social media, friends or family is, for some, a profound distrust of government and pharmaceutical companies.

See what some people had to say, and view stats on inoculation rates and attitudes around the vaccine.

Some college vaccine mandates cover employees, too

University vaccination mandates are increasingly covering employees along with students, Newsday’s Carol Polsky reports.

LIU announced this week a vaccination mandate for the fall semester and included faculty and staff as well as students.

While Touro College, with several campuses on Long Island, and Five Towns College in Dix Hills also include faculty in their mandates, other colleges and universities on Long Island have so far restricted mandates to students.

More to know

The 2021 Oyster Festival, held in Oyster Bay, has been canceled due to the rise of local COVID-19 cases and the delta variant, organizers said.

Hiring surged in July as American employers added 943,000 jobs, and the unemployment rate dropped to 5.4%, another sign that the U.S. economy continues to bounce back.

The U.S. crossed 100,000 new daily cases Saturday, a milestone last exceeded during the pre-vaccine winter surge.

The Pentagon will require members of the U.S. military to get the COVID-19 vaccine by Sept. 15, according to a memo obtained by The Associated Press.

Yankees first baseman Anthony Rizzo has tested positive for the virus and was put on the 10-day COVID-19 injured list on Sunday, becoming the 10th Yankees player to test positive in the past month.

News for you

The ‘modern mullet’ gains popularity. When people went for months during the pandemic without getting a haircut (or just did it themselves at home), some say that might have been the start of the return of the mullet — the popular haircut from the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s. See more on the trend happening in barber chairs across LI.

A “Wicked” concert. “Wicked in Concert: A Musical Celebration of the Iconic Score” will air on WNET/13 hosted by Syosset native Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth on Aug. 29 at 9 p.m. The Broadway show is set to reopen on Sept. 14. Get the details.

MSG show will mark 20th anniversary of 9/11. The “NYC Still Rising After 20 Years: A Comedy Celebration” will benefit 9/11 charities and will feature Dave Chappelle, Jon Stewart, Jimmy Fallon and Rockville Centre-raised Amy Schumer. Tickets for the Sept. 12 show go on sale this week, and proof of vaccination is required. Find more details here.

Plus: A reminder that we have an updated guide for where you can go to see outdoor, pop-up drive-in movies and concerts around Long Island. Check the list.


Need clear rules to open schools. The Newsday editorial board writes: Over the next month, nearly all of Long Island’s schoolchildren are scheduled to return to classrooms. Many ages 12 and over and all of those 11 and under will be unvaccinated, as will some teachers. That’s a problem.

Hospital leaders nationwide report that the current delta variant-fueled surge is infecting more children than past variants, and more severely. Pediatric hospitals elsewhere — not here yet, and hopefully never — are slowly filling with young ones.

How schools ought to deal with reopening is a complicated question that school boards and superintendents harangued by parents are ill-positioned to answer. And it is already political. Keep reading.

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