"This pandemic has been hard on a lot of people, students especially,” said Jared Revlett, public information officer with Owensboro Public Schools. “Their entire world has been flipped upside down."
Students already at risk for suicide, excited about returning to the class, are now back in isolation as school districts move the start of the year online.
"They really need the social interaction part,” said parent Amy Blain. “It has not been good for their mental health since March, just to be so isolated."
To help provide relief, the Kentucky Department of Education’s Commissioner Student Advisory Council advised districts during a virtual meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 11th that students get extra mental health counseling.
"And suicide is unfortunately a very real problem across the county,” Revlett said. “Not just here in Kentucky. That's why we've put such an emphasis on making sure we have these services available to our families."
Owensboro Public Schools actually hired their first ever district mental health coordinator, Summer Bell, back in March, two weeks before the shutdown.
And since then, she has been keeping in touch with students and she’ll continue to do so as students are at home -- over Google classroom.
"But also, after speaking with the Lt. Governor of Kentucky and the Kentucky Department of Education, they said, ‘It’s actually OK to have some small groups of students in a building at a time,’” Revlett said. “So, there may even be an option to bring students in and sit down face to face with a counselor."