LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- At the latest Clark County School District Board of Trustees meeting Thursday night, parents and students once again echoed calls to return students to full-time in-person instruction before the end of the school year.
Dozens of families rallied outside the Las Vegas Academy of the Arts before the meeting took place. When public comment at the meeting started, parents and students echoed a similar message: distance learning has led to mental health crisis among students, citing a spike in student suicides, and full-time in-person instruction should be implemented before the end of the school year for all grades.
One parent said her son lost a friend to suicide in the past week.
"These kids need social interaction," that parent said, "It's so much more than just education and they're so lonely and missing out."
Dr. Jordan Larson is a father of five who is also a local pediatrician who works in emergency care. He's also calling for a full-time return because he said he is seeing at least one child per shift that has either attempted or contemplated suicide, as well seeing younger people trying drugs and alcohol.
"This week I've worked two shifts totaling 18 hours," Larson said, "In those 18 hours I've seen about 30 children. Of those 30 children, five of them were mental health related. One of them was acutely intoxicated with drugs and alcohol, two had taken pills to end their own lives, and the other two had Googled ways to commit suicide on their school laptops and were brought in by police."
Many students returned to classrooms this week for the first time since March 2020, as middle and high school grades fully transitioned to hybrid learning. Students in Pre-K through 5th grades transitioned to full-time in-person instruction this week as well.
The Clark County School District sent FOX5 this statement about transitioning before the end of the school year, which was not formally discussed at the meeting:
The Clark County School District continues to provide students with a rich and rigorous education. Within the last month we have brought back elementary grade students for face-to-face instruction 5 days a week, as well as providing middle and high school students with the opportunity to take part in hybrid instruction as we continue to deal with a global pandemic as a community. We remain committed to all students and will continue providing our families with the choice to remain in full-time distance education.