Thousands are being paid in bonus to prevent teachers from leaving their jobs

Schools across the United States have begun offering thousands in COVID-19 “retention bonuses” to teachers as an incentive to stay afloat throughout the school year, as record numbers leave the profession amid the pandemic.

Many schools are using pandemic relief funds, or local funds, to pay teachers’ bonuses, either as a one-time payment, or bonuses given throughout the academic year to address teacher shortages—some earlier. Already before COVID-19 is a nationwide concern.

Teacher shortages have been reported in many states, as teachers have been laid off or retired due to repeated online teaching in schools during the pandemic.

Several North Carolina school districts have introduced retention bonuses for teachers.

The Randolph County Public School System is offering each district employee a $5,000 bonus, a resolution adopted by the school board on October 25 last year.

Onslow County Schools said it would invest $6 million to provide approximately $3,600 in two retention bonus payments.

And Charlotte-Mecklenburg School Is handing out $2,500 for full-time employees, split into two for part-time employees—one last month, and the rest in September.

Other school districts in the state offering teachers COVID-19 retention bonuses include Heywood County Schools, Catawba County Schools, Davidson County Schools and Johnson County Public Schools.

In nearby South Carolina, Rock Hill School sent retention bonuses on December 21 to teachers appointed before November 30, 2021. Full-time certified employees working above 30 hours per week were awarded a $2,000 bonus, while part-time certified employees received $1,000, and part-time classified employees were awarded $500.

Elsewhere, the Detroit Public Schools Community District, which includes the city of Detroit, announced a COVID-19 retention bonus as part of its Fall 2021 reopening plan,

“Teachers will receive additional compensation ($500 per quarter) if they are teaching in mixed mode,” it says.

This week the school district announced changes to distance learning from January 14 amid a surge in COVID-19 cases.

Meanwhile, teachers in Dallas who live during the school year have been told they will be paid the bonus in three installments – in September, December and May 2023, with the corresponding amount corresponding to teacher rankings.

Nationwide, headmasters, superintendents and counselors are filling in schools as options as COVID-19 cases, largely driven by Omicron edition, are in schools already hit by staffing shortages.

Large school districts, including Atlanta, Detroit and Milwaukee, have been forced to temporarily switch to distance learning due to the COVID-19 breakout and teacher shortages.

Teachers described working during the pandemic as “tiring” in interviews with the Associated Press.

“A friend of mine told me, ‘You know, three weeks ago we were again closing our doors because of the school shooting, and now we’re opening the window to COVID. “It’s really too much,” said Meghan Hatch-Geary, an English teacher who works at Woodland Regional High School in Connecticut.

“This year, trying to be everything, trying to be everything to everyone, all the time is more and more exhausting.”

Becky Pringle, president of the National Education Association, told Newswire that an increase in COVID-19 infections after the holiday season has further exacerbated the staff shortage.

“All these added burdens and stress on top of being worried about getting sick, on top of being stressed like all of us after a two-year pandemic…,” Pringle said.

The stock photo shows an elementary student wearing a face mask to a female teacher. Some teachers are being offered thousands in COVID retention bonuses as schools seek to prevent staff shortages.
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