Nearly a year after the first case of COVID-19 was diagnosed in the U.S., it is evident that the pandemic is more than just a physical health crisis, especially for young people. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the proportion of children visiting hospital emergency rooms for mental health reasons has increased and remained elevated since April 2020. In addition, there is growing concern for how pandemic-related restrictions and stressors have impacted youth learning.
Concerned about the impacts of the pandemic on Nevada’s youth, the Nevada Association of Counties (NACO) asked University of Nevada, Reno Extension to help identify the current educational and mental health needs of school-aged children across the state.
Extension has a long history of conducting formal needs assessments and providing research-driven reports that identify the critical needs of each community. Building on this framework and identifying strategic partnerships, Extension collaborated with the University’s College of Education and Human Development and the Nevada Department of Education to design a stakeholder survey to learn how the pandemic has impacted preK-12 education in Nevada.
The survey was designed to obtain input from three distinct groups: parents/families, school personnel and community members. The goal was to learn what is considered most important for ensuring the academic success and health and well-being of youth, along with lessons learned in terms of education delivery during the pandemic.
Survey findings and conclusions are outlined in the following report and will be shared with parents, families, agencies and organizations across Nevada and beyond. The research team also plans to explore the survey data more thoroughly and develop additional publications to help guide decisions surrounding education, education delivery, and emotional and mental health.
The team has developed a digital Resource Guide based on identified needs from the survey. The guide can help educators and families find resources and programs to support youth learning, academics, health and well-being, including mental health, and more.
Finally, the research team will continue to collaborate with strategic partners across the state to collectively address the current and post-pandemic educational and mental health needs of Nevada’s young people.
Overall Respondents (N = 1,263)
By School District:
Individuals from different racial/ethnic backgrounds responded similarly to how the school year is going, with few differences:
40% of multi-ethnic respondents also reported the school year is going POOR or VERY POOR.
School personnel responded more positively than parents/families to both questions. Trends toward greater satisfaction from school personnel in rural school districts, compared to urban school districts continued.
The responses reflect the needs brought about by changes in instructional delivery model and stressors as a result of the pandemic, such as:
Those who were less pleased with how the school year is going and the district’s pandemic response expressed that their needs in these areas are not being met.
“I believe that all teachers are working hard connecting with all students in distance learning and at school but I believe that there needs to be more communication between teachers, students and parents in regards to zoom meetings and expected assignments in the secondary schools.” parent or family member
“Digital literacy is improving for all; parents are starting to see what their kids can/cannot do; some students are thriving in this model because there are less in-class distractions.” classroom teacher
“Not having a concrete plan and always trying to figure out what the plan is becomes very frustrating.” classroom teacher
“For General Education students who have supportive families, this may be fine, but in no way are we meeting the needs of those with significant disabilities.” classroom teacher
If you would like more details on the data collect from our survey, please use the link below to email us.
Horrillo, S; Evans, W; Gallo, J; Norze, J; Stark, C; Sanchez, J; Demchak, M; Chvilicek, S; Bray, S;, 2021, Nevada Stakeholder Perceptions of Youth Educational and Mental Health Needs During the Pandemic, Extension | University of Nevada, Reno
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