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Surge in D's and F's in San Diego County schools raises questions: How to grade during pandemic

by Kristen Taketa, Deborah Sullivan Brennan

Don Dumas, U.S. history teacher at Bonita Vista High School in Sweetwater Union High School District, teaches a class from his home.

Don Dumas, a U.S. history teacher at Bonita Vista High School, has decided he will not fail students during the pandemic. Some of his students have lost an aunt, uncle or grandparent to COVID-19, he said. Others are “essential workers,” working extra hours at grocery and fast food jobs because their parents have lost income during the pandemic. Sweetwater schools are closed, with most students learning online from home, because of high COVID-19 levels in South County.

“Kids have so much to concern themselves with right now. They’re under so much stress,” Dumas said. “I’m not going to add to their feelings of inadequacy or feelings of failure by failing them in my class.”

Despite his intentions, the number of D and F grades in Sweetwater schools has ballooned, representing 28 percent of its high school grades and 32 percent of its middle school grades on recent progress reports.

By comparison, last year D’s and F’s were 20 percent of high school grades and 19 percent of middle school grades, according to district data. Sweetwater is not alone. Schools nationwide and across San Diego...(read more at The San Diego Union Tribune)

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