Photo by Fusion Medical Animation on Unsplash

S.C. school closures impacting student mental health

South Carolina health experts say the ongoing surge in COVID-19 cases due to the infectious omicron variant is impacting the mental health of many students, especially due to rising rates of school closures, which have forced many children to transition back to virtual learning. 

More than 230 schools in the state have gone fully virtual for at least one day due to COVID precautions since the start of 2022, leaving over 100,000 locked out of the classroom. There have also been more than 400,000 students and school staff quarantined.

Medical professionals at state hospitals have reported an increase in the number of young children — as young as 5 years old — coming into emergency departments for anxiety, stress and suicidal thoughts. Others report that the trend begun well before the onset of the pandemic, and COVID only served to exacerbate a growing issue.

Latest COVID-19 data

South Carolina health officials reported 5,716 total new cases of COVID-19 Jan. 31, with 4,681 confirmed. A total of 35 new deaths, 28 of which were confirmed, were also reported.

Over the weekend, DHEC reported 15,944 new confirmed cases, with 9,708 confirmed Saturday and 6,236 confirmed Sunday.

With 39,638 tests reported Monday, 19.7% were positive.

Percentage of S.C. residents age 12+ with at least one vaccine: 66.5%
Percentage of S.C. residents age 12+ who have completed vaccination: 57.2%
Percentage of S.C. residents age 5-11 with at least one vaccine: 17.1%
Percentage of S.C. residents age 5-11 who have completed vaccination: 11.7%

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