MONTPELIER, Vt. (WFFF) — Since the beginning of the pandemic, schools have had to transition between different models of learning. Kids lost months of in-person learning, which also meant losing opportunities to develop social skills and time to see peers.

In his State of the State address, Vermont Governor Phil Scott said that he heard directly from students about the impacts of hybrid learning. He said he found that the students were lonely and depressed, even noting students sent to the ER for mental health needs.

One student asked him to “bring back some enjoyable activities so students look forward to going to school.”

That’s why Scott announced that the Agency of Education, Department of Mental Health and schools are “putting $285 million in recovery dollars to work to address social, emotional and educational gaps.” He also said that he will propose changes to the Childcare Financial Assistance program to increase access to quality care and learning as well as build on their current goal of universal afterschool and summer programs.

“Through our Summer Matters initiative, we added 30,000 more summer camp slots and about 240 more weeks of programming,” he said. “We will do it again because we should be offering these opportunities to young Vermonters year-round.”

Scott also shared thanks for all teachers, parents, school nurses, and administrators continuing through the hardships of the pandemic.