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WHEREAS, school social workers in the Commonwealth of Virginia and across the nation serve as vital members of the multi-disciplinary educational team, playing a central role in creating a safe and positive school environment; and
WHEREAS, school social workers provide a key role as the liaison between students, parents, schools, and communities to ensure academic success, providing a wide range of services to students, parents, and staff; and
WHEREAS, school social workers are especially skilled in providing services to students who face serious challenges to success in school, including poverty, inaccessibility, discrimination, abuse, neglect, mental illness, homelessness, bullying, loss and grief, familial stressors, and other barriers to learning; and
WHEREAS, school social workers are instrumental in supporting the whole child and helping students address their social, emotional, physical, and environmental needs; and
WHEREAS, school mental health programs are critical to early identification of and early intervention for mental health problems; and
WHEREAS, as trained mental health professionals, school social workers provide necessary assessment, interventions, counseling, family outreach, community referrals and support; and
WHEREAS, school social workers have expertise in a number of areas, including mental health intervention, human growth and behavior, how family dynamics affect student achievement, child abuse and neglect, and community resources; and
WHEREAS, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, school social workers are essential now more than ever in meeting the needs of students and families; and
WHEREAS, school social workers play a key role in promoting and advocating for equitable access and treatment of students, giving voice to issues of diversity, and addressing structural inequities; and
WHEREAS, we are grateful to honor and recognize the contributions of school social workers, as well as promote the awareness of the vital role school social workers play in the social, emotional, and academic development of our Commonwealth’s children; and
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ralph S. Northam, do hereby recognize March 7-13, 2021, as VIRGINIA SCHOOL SOCIAL WORK WEEK in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.