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Seattle Public Schools delays March 1st start of reopening classrooms

(Image: Seattle Public Schools)

A plan from the Seattle School Board to return the city’s youngest students to the classroom won’t hit its March 1st target date.

In a message to families from Seattle Public Schools, the state’s largest district is telling parents and guardians it will take at least one additional week to work out an agreement with the teachers union. The new target date is March 8th:

An increase of in-person instruction also requires we negotiate new working conditions with Seattle Education Association. Unfortunately, we don’t yet have an agreement with SEA. To begin phasing in students on March 1, we needed an agreement by today. Without an agreement the in-person return date has been delayed until at least March 8. We know that changes like these are difficult for families and students. We are committed to keeping you informed as new information becomes available.

The district plan would begin with preschool, kindergarten, and first grade students and “a phased increase of in-person instruction for students enrolled in Special Education Intensive Service Pathways.”

The district says its central office staff have been “preparing for many months” for the return to school and “health and safety protocols have been implemented, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is in place, and the district has prepared for student transportation and meals.”

The state is also providing increased resources including expanding a system of COVID-19 testing for schools.

Seattle school kids transitioned to online only instruction last spring as the pandemic began to grow. CHS reported earlier this month on the many private schools around Capitol Hill and the Central District taking early first steps in returning their students to the classroom.

The moves come as spread of the pandemic has slowed to rates last seen in early fall and officials say there is progress reaching vulnerable communities in the first phase of the state’s vaccination plan.

CHS reported here on Seattle’s plans to reach a fall 2021 70% vaccination level officials say will allow the area to successfully emerge from the COVID-19 crisis. The massive challenge of the Washington’s “future phases” that will include a wider swath of the state’s population awaits.

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9 days ago

At some point we are going to admit we need to vaccinate the older children to get schools back up and running safely. School is no magical place.

9 days ago

Keeping schools closed is a slow motion disaster for the next generation. It has been shown in many districts that in-person school with proper precautions does not spread COVID in any significant way (in Japan, schools have rarely been closed, and most Seattle private schools are open). If clusters do form, then close the school while mitigation is done. But at least try.

8 days ago
Reply to  Crow

My colleague in Long Island says their schools have been pretty much open and they had three cases in the entire district, where his wife teaches.