PENDLETON – Getting students back in their classrooms is cause for celebration, but it’s also bringing the problems posed by distance learning to the fore. As expected, students are behind in their classwork, but InterMountain Education Service District Superintendent Mark Mulvihill says behavioral problems are also causing concern.
“Families are under a great deal of stress and kids are under a great deal of stress,” he said. “Schools are experiencing mental health challenges like we haven’t seen before.”
Mulvihill said at the elementary level, teachers are working on reminding students of basic concepts like sharing and taking turns. Things are more concerning at the secondary school level.
“We’re dealing with a lot of mental health issues with kids,” he said. “We’re seeing an increase in suicide discussions. We’re seeing an increase in self-harm.”
Mulvihill said all of its member districts are working hard to help the students. IMESD has hired a full-time suicide prevention coordinator and over the last three years, has tripled its nursing staff.