TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Sunnyside Unified School District is reporting a likely drop in the number of high school graduates this year because of the pandemic.
The news comes after alarming reports of failing grades in districts across the country.
The pandemic took its toll, making falling behind much easier to do.
More students disengaged in remote mode -- morale took a hit.
An Education Week survey shows half of students nationwide were less motivated.
So it's no surprise to Superintendent Steve Holmes that more seniors may not receive diplomas next week.
Holmes said, "Probably about 20 percent more than we normally have."
At Sunnyside High School, 100 out of 400 students are at risk of not graduating right now a week before the school year ends.
Holmes said that's 20 more seniors than last year. He calls them "bubble" students.
"Students that are at the very edge of graduation, but need to do a lot of things over the course of this week," he said.
This year's seniors, he said, may not be the standard definition of bubble students.
They may have lost too much academic ground during the pandemic.
"In other words," said Holmes, "there's always this last minute, this can make up this assignment or we'll work on the final and teachers have been great and flexible and working with our students, but I'm definitely seeing more students than we've had in the past."
That might extend their school year a few more months.
"Probably a lot more graduating in the summer than we normally would have," he explained.
Holmes is still holding out hope that on graduation night they will have the typical number of seniors receiving their diplomas.
"I'll be optimistic they'll pull it out," he said.
The final count will not be known until graduation day when the final grades are issued.
Seniors at Desert View High School graduate on Tuesday and on Wednesday at Sunnyside High School.