DAVIDSON COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — $1,000 bonuses will be given out to all teachers and staff in Davidson County Schools as part of a COVID training bonus. 

While teachers are appreciative of the bonus, some are hoping the district’s focus remains on keeping teachers in the district. 

“We’ve definitely put in extra time and effort compared to any time that I’ve been teaching. I’ve been teaching for 17 years, and I feel like probably like five years have been compressed in the last two,” said Paul Piatkowski, a Davidson County Assoc. Of Educators and North Davidson High School english teacher.

It’s these past two years of teaching and working through a pandemic that’s caused district leaders in Davidson County to reward all their employees. 

“We used our state and federal funds to find a way to pay $1000 bonuses to all employees as well as the bonus that our teachers will receive,” Superintendent Emily Lipe said. 

But this money isn’t just compensation for teachers and staff working to minimize exposure to the virus but also for the extra time they spent learning how to do their jobs differently. 

“Delivering lunches, putting together learning packets to help in the meantime,” Lipe explained. 

“How do we reach those students if they are quarantined, and how do we create a model of instruction where they can still follow it? How do we make sure we don’t lose people in the cracks that are definitely being created because of COVID?” Piatkowski said. 

Educators are trying to keep those students who live in more rural parts of the county engaged by ensuring they have hot spots and know how to complete their work online. 

“It was extremely difficult to teach that way. Many teachers had little to no experience working with it,” Piatkowski said. 

As teachers across North Carolina continue to advocate for more pay, these bonuses come on the heels of separate $4,500 bonuses for all full-time employees and $2,250 for part-timers. 

While Piatkowski believes these examples of appreciation could solidify more college students wanting to pursue teaching as a career, he hopes the district also focuses on keeping the teachers they do have. 

“I do think that it’s important for our districts, our school boards and our county commissioners to consider retention as being very important as they think of these bonuses,” Piatkowski said. 

Originally, the bonuses were only allotted for teachers through state funds, but district leaders took money from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund to expand the bonuses for all staff members. 

That fund was created to aid in COVID-related issues and bonuses. The checks are set to be paid out in full in this month’s payroll.