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Las Vegas-area school district pushes to reopen after 18 student suicides since pandemic's start

The school district is planning to reopen by early March.

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Clark County teacher talks remotely with her seventh grade class
Clark County teacher talks remotely with her seventh grade class.
(Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Updated: January 27, 2021 - 6:11pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

Nevada's Clark County School District is hastily moving to in-person learning after 18 student-age suicides over nine months.

"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," Jesus Jara, the district superintendent, told The New York Times. "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." 

The limited reopening plan for the district was approved by the board of trustees in mid-January.

Jara says late February or early March is a "good target" for getting students back in the classroom, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

The school district has been conducting all classes remotely for roughly the past nine months.

The Las Vegas-area district serves 320,000 students in 360 schools, making it the nation's fifth largest.

Officials said the youngest among the recent suicides was a 9-year-old.

School officials have already put several initiatives in place, with the suicide rate for students having doubled since 2019. 

School-distributed iPads monitor student activity and search history and notifies officials if mental health issues or suicide thoughts are detected. Face-to-face counseling has been offered, and teachers have been trained to spot trauma signs.

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