LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The Clark County School District (CCSD) reports one new suicide since the beginning of 2021.
That comes on top of reports that showed 18 suicides since schools closed as the pandemic began to hit the Las Vegas valley in March, 2019. Six students died by suicide between March 16 and June 30. Another 12 students took their own lives between July 1 and Dec. 31.
The combined 19 suicides are more than double the nine suicides the district had the entire previous year.
Education and government officials have been concerned about students’ mental health through the isolation from socializing that has continued through the pandemic.
A recent report summarizing statistics during distance learning — students doing their work over the Internet with no normal classroom interaction — showed that grades also have been affected. CCSD reports a 90% rise in the number of F grades given out over the past year. Notably, about 11% of students who received an F in the fall of 2020 earned all As and Bs in the fall of 2019.
The report showed grades for Black, Hispanic and Native American students were affected more than grades for white and Asian students.
CCSD has committed to bringing small groups back to classrooms for educational and other purposes. The Board of Trustees approved a Memorandum of Agreement this month with the Clark County Education Association (CCEA) requiring teachers in grades pre-kindergarten through 3 to return on campus when the district transitions to a hybrid model, but there is no set timeline.
The agreement also states the district will try to accommodate teachers, primarily in high-risk groups, who want to continue teleworking.
There is no timeline for a full return to classroom learning.
On Dec. 10, CCSD decided to spend $761,000 to use the Panorama platform using CARES Act funding. The Panorama platform provides help in monitoring the wellbeing of students and staff through surveys. The district had implemented Panorama in a pilot program at 12 schools.
Panorama requires a yearly renewal, and the district will have to budget for the cost if it continues to use the service.