Students return to in-person classes in Hays CISD, district focuses on students’ mental health

HAYS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — About 9,000 students will return to in-person classes Monday in Hays CISD, which is 46% of the student body, while the rest will remain at home taking virtual classes.

Last year, we told you about the ‘100% Hays initiative’ which was established to make sure no student is left behind. It looks to address students who might need mental health support.

“They have a coach or a director who can be an adult advocate for that child so in smaller groups we find if there are critical needs,” said Hays CISD Superintendent Dr. Eric Wright. “Kids feel more comfortable speaking to those particular adults, and because they have a close knit family of peers, they are more apt to be more a part of all things in school, and it typically increases student achievement.”

But with the pandemic, some of those activities have moved online and personal interactions have changed from in-person to on screen.

It can be hard for teachers to identify students who might be experiencing mental health issues, but as the school year looks different so does their approach to addressing students in need.

“We have teachers that have gone to houses and have done drive-bys and also they are checking in via Zoom,” Dr. Wright said. “And constantly making contact so they can try to maintain those relationships.”

Hays CISD also has what is called the Hays Hope Line. Any student can reach out to report any issues they might see, and the district also have counselors standing by to help at anytime. The district also has an employee assistance program where faculty and staff can reach out to speak with counselors as well.

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