Wake County Public School System approves one-time $500 bonus for full-time employees amid COVID-19 pandemic

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The Wake County School Board met Tuesday to swear in newly elected members and to discuss the future of in-person learning.

Nine school board seats were up for re-election in November. Eight of the nine members won re-election. The only change came with Karen Carter defeating District 9 incumbent Bill Fletcher.

A bit of good news was announced during the meeting.

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Board members approved a one-time $500 bonus for all full-time benefits earning employees. The bonus is in response to the hard work staff members have done throughout the pandemic.

The ABC Science Collaborative, which has been working with Wake County Schools and others across the state shared new research gathered from August to October.

Eleven of the 56 districts agreed to be part of it and the students were in a form of hybrid instruction for nine weeks.

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It found that children and staff are safer in schools, which are low-risk environments, compared to being out in the community, which is a moderate risk.

The low-risk holds up as long as students are following the 12 principles of staying safe set out by the collaborative.

Still, school board members are nervous.

"We don't know what 2020, 21, 22 is going to bring," Lindsay Mahaffey said. "We certainly hope for the best but if anything this year has taught us that we're not sure what that's going to look like."

I know that there are a lot of unknowns," said Chris Hegarty. "We don't know what's going to go on in the community with the virus at this point. We also don't know what the legislature might do."

WATCH: North Carolina public schools see drop in students amid COVID-19 pandemic
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More than 70,000 fewer students are attending public schools across the state.

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