Trenton – The Senate today passed legislation sponsored by Senator Joe Lagana that would require school districts, charter schools, or renaissance schools that employ a school psychologist and offer in-person school psychology services to allow students to attend counseling sessions or meetings of any kind for counseling purposes through virtual or remote means.
Under the bill, students who are unable to attend in-person sessions, for whatever reason, would be offered the chance to have access to a school psychologist or to receive other psychological services through virtual or remote counseling sessions. A student would not be able to participate in remote sessions if the school psychologist determined that the student would be better served by in-person counseling.
“Mental health treatment or intervention for our students has undergone major changes since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the biggest changes has been the sweeping transition to telehealth delivery that has been effective for both young people and adults alike,” said Senator Lagana (D-Bergen/Passaic). “This bill will make sure students who are receiving mental health services will not have those services disrupted if they are not able to attend in person.”
Telemental health services can help minimize any disruptions to a student’s mental health care due to school closures or student absences. Additionally, remote psychological services allow a student to receive services in a more private, familiar environment, reducing the impact of stigma associated with mental illness that otherwise may prevent a student from seeking treatment.
Under the bill, a student would not be required to attend a school counseling session or meeting with a school psychologist remotely, and would be permitted to continue attending sessions in-person. Per the bill, a “school psychologist” would refer to a person who holds a New Jersey standard educational services certificate with a school psychologist endorsement.
The bill, S-2692, passed the Senate by a vote of 36-0.