A Nevada school system may soon fast-track reopening for in-class learning amid a spike in suicides during pandemic closures. Per the New York Times, the Clark County school district intends to bring some elementary age students back to the classroom, as well as "groups of struggling students" after a rise in suicides coinciding with Covid lockdowns.
Between March, when schools first shuttered, and December, 18 students in the sprawling district that encompasses Las Vegas had reportedly taken their own lives. The Las Vegas Sun reported in November that more students were lost to suicide in the first semester of this school year than in the entire school year previous.
"We are not only in the midst of a health crisis, but we are being challenged with a mental health crisis and an academic crisis," Clark County School District Superintendent Jesus Jara said at the time.
Though the state may be coming off a post-holiday spike, the numbers remain high. As part of a plan proposed in November to transition to a hybrid instructional model, the Clark County school board this month voted unanimously to approve Jara's recommendation that schools invite individual or small groups of students back to campus on a voluntary basis to participate in social-emotional wellness support and intervention as well as academic screenings, interventions and small-group instruction.
"I believe that the plan proposed provides the first steps in returning our students and educators to the classroom," Jara said in the statement.
This article originally appeared on Newser: Pandemic Suicides Push School System to Reopen