High school seniors in the Sweetwater Union High School District are being invited to finish out their last school year on campus.
The school board approved the proposal Monday night, which allows seniors to return for in-person learning.
In late February, the district approved bringing back 10% of students for in-person learning, including those with disabilities and those struggling with distance learning. Then, Governor Gavin Newsom incentivized districts to reopen schools sooner rather than later. To qualify for the $12.7 million in state funding the district is potentially eligible for, it had to bring back one full grade level, in addition to the 10% of students the district had already committed to bringing back.
“I'm really glad it's the seniors,,” said Annie Dickson a senior at Mar Vista High. "Personally, I'm really glad it's us."
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Another senior, Illiana Lopez, said distance learning has been difficult.
“I want to be able to actually learn,” Lopez said.
Senior Spencer Fisher said she will not return for in-person learning because she has become accustomed the online model.
“I’ve spent the last year and a half trying to adjust to doing online learning," Fisher said. " I think if I went back, my grades would probably drop.”
Gabriel Mendoza said he, too, did not plan on returning to campus.
“I’d rather wait a little bit more, let the vaccine do its work for a few more months, see if we can bring down those tiers,” Mendoza told NBC 7.
The district is still reviewing results from its parent survey to see how many seniors will decide to come back for in-person instruction.
In order to bring back more students, the district had to bring back more teachers and employees on campus as well. Teachers who volunteered to come back early on April 5 will be offered incentive pay, a one-time increase of 7% of their gross monthly salary -- and child care options at no cost. The incentive pay is being offered to all employee unions with workers in the district.
The district has not yet determined how much the bonuses will cost but said the money will come out of state’s incentive funding