Wednesday, July 6, 2022

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Opening statements today in appeal to protect DACA; last chance to register to vote in MO August primary; and mapping big-game routes.

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Highland Park mass shooting witnesses describe horrific scene, police release details about shooter, and Rudy Giuliani, Senator Lindsey Graham, receive subpoenas as part of an investigation surrounding former President Trump.

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A reminder to stay safe this summer from an up-tick in ticks; agriculture advocates want faster action to protect independent farmers; in Iowa green jobs are flourishing; and more school-age kids will not go hungry this summer with an extension of pandemic meals relief.

Food Insecurity, Mental Health are Challenges for VA College Students

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Wednesday, April 20, 2022   

Community college students in Virginia still face food insecurity a year after survey data shows the COVID pandemic created greater challenges due to economic and other disruptions.

Data from the state's 23 community colleges in 2021 showed one in three students self-reported food insecurity, or being unsure where their next meal is coming from.

While more needs to be done, said Van Wilson, associate vice chancellor for student experience and strategic initiatives for the Virginia Community College System, food programs went online and remained available for students during the pandemic. He said that and other changes led to the discovery of a key additional service that was needed.

"Exacerbated by the pandemic was the need for mental-health services," he said. "Our board had a policy that prohibited institutions from providing those types of services, and they only could do that through community-based organizations."

Last November, he said, the board reversed that policy and schools were able to deploy telehealth services for mental health. The survey also showed 42% of Virginia students reported housing insecurity, and 10% had experienced homelessness in the previous 12 months.

Wilson said more needs to be done to address college hunger, including help for students before they even get to college, such as expanding free and reduced-price lunch programs in high schools.

"A student who is facing a challenge as a high school student, in order to be successful in the post-secondary environment," he said, "they need some of those same kind of services that they are accustomed to in that K-through-12 space, to support them moving forward."

The nonprofit Swipe Out Hunger recently collected data from schools in every state, finding campus pantries play a more central and vital role in student life than ever, with almost half of school food pantries launching in the last five years.


Support for this reporting was provided by Lumina Foundation.


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