Surge of student suicides pushes Las Vegas schools to reopen – NYT

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New York Times carries a report about the impact of Covid-19 on the student life and how the pandemic has led to possibly an increase of student suicides in and around Las Vegas. The challenge for leaders is about how to balance between the mental health wellness and the Covid-19 related health issues. The report states that the ‘spate of student suicides in and around Las Vegas has pushed the Clark County district, the nation’s fifth largest, toward bringing students back as quickly as possible.

The report states that firmly linking teen suicides to school closings is difficult, but rising mental health emergencies and suicide rates point to the toll the pandemic lockdown is taking.

It adds that “since schools shut their doors in March, an early-warning system that monitors students’ mental health episodes has sent more than 3,100 alerts to district officials, raising alarms about suicidal thoughts, possible self-harm or cries for care. By December, 18 students had taken their own lives.”

New York Times reports that this month, the school board gave the green light to phase in the return of some elementary school grades and groups of struggling students even as greater Las Vegas continues to post huge numbers of coronavirus cases and deaths.

Superintendents across the nation are weighing the benefit of in-person education against the cost of public health, watching teachers and staff become sick and, in some cases, die, but also seeing the psychological and academic toll that school closings are having on children nearly a year in. The risk of student suicides has quietly stirred many district leaders, leading some, like the state superintendent in Arizona, to cite that fear in public pleas to help mitigate the virus’s spread.

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