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Elementary school students are heading back to in person learning after eighteen students in Clark County, Nevada, took their own lives in the last nine months of 2020, according to The New York Times.
The fears of more tragedies are outweighing the concerns of spreading the coronavirus as the youngest student to kill themselves was nine years old.
Dr. Anthony Fauci has called for schools to be open if possible, reiterating that there are ways for them to do so safely.
The government mandated shutdowns have had a devastating effect on students' mental health, grades and attendance. Health and education experts around the world have struggled with the best way to protect students, faculty and families, especially those in the at risk category, while balancing student’s need for education and socialization.
Student’s academics have also suffered. According to The Hill, "In Virginia's largest school district, the number of F's nearly doubled among middle school and high school students." School districts across the country have experimented with different solutions, none of which have proved an adequate substitution for in person instruction.
Clark County superintendent Jesus Jara told The Times, "When we started to see the uptick in children taking their lives, we knew it wasn't just the COVID numbers we need to look at anymore."
"We have to find a way to put our hands on our kids, to see them, to look at them. They've got to start seeing some movement, some hope."
Jara added that the 18 suicides in 9 months was double the number of suicides recorded in the school district in 2019.
As of November 23, 2020 suicide rates among Seattle youth rose almost 30 percent. In 2019, youth suicides accounted for 8.33 percent of the county's suicides, now youth suicide comprises 38.46 percent of the total suicides.
Beth Daranciang, former Child Death Review coordinator for King County, WA, told The Post Millennial in November 2020 that "Youth suicide is rare in larger cities and much more likely in suburbs, small towns and rural areas where kids can be more isolated. I also noticed that places where there were youth homicides, there were few youth suicides. Seattle having multiple youth suicides in one year is definitely unusual." When asked what she believed was contributing to the rise in the rates Darancing said "Kids are hit hardest by the isolation."
A survey, released by Parents Together, found that the majority of kids surveyed, 70 percent, "reported feeling sad, overwhelmed and worried. Nearly half the parents, 44 percent, are saying that their kids are struggling with mental wellness since the start of the pandemic."
In July 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield said that suicides and drug overdoses had surpassed the death rate for COVID-19 among high school students.