FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) – A bill aimed at allowing Kentucky students to receive excused absences from school for mental health reasons won approval from the House Education Committee on Tuesday.

The measure, which gained bipartisan support, goes to the full House next.

Under the bill, each Kentucky school district’s student attendance policy would have to include provisions for excused absences due to a student’s mental or behavioral health status.

Republican Rep. Bobby McCool and Democratic Rep. Lisa Willner are the bill’s lead sponsors. McCool said the bill makes no changes regarding the number of excused absences allowed.

The bill sponsors allowed three students to discuss the bill’s importance at the committee hearing.

The students discussed the stress the COVID-19 pandemic has caused. Students had to adjust from months of at-home learning to being back at school and surrounded by classmates, they said.

The legislation signals that mental health is as important as physical health and would encourage students to talk about mental health issues and get the help they need, they said.