Kent students start school after nearly 2-week teachers’ strike

KENT, Wash. — After a nearly two-week-long teachers’ strike, students with the Kent School District finally started school on Thursday.

This means 25,000 students are now back in the classroom.

Outside Kent Meridian High School, parents and students dealt with the morning rush. Students KIRO 7 talked with said they are excited and are even happier to not be wearing masks or have COVID-19 restrictions.

“I’m going to be honest, I’m excited because I’m a senior and I just want to finish off my senior year good,” said Cayden Law, senior at Kent Meridian High School.

“What are you looking forward to the most?” asked KIRO 7 reporter Briseida Holguin.

“Meeting new friends,” said fourth-grader Alondra Bjornson.

After some long nights of bargaining, the Kent School District and the teachers’ union reached an agreement on Wednesday.

“There was a ton of relief when we got that tentative agreement, we’ve been out here for a while,” said Eric Anderson, English teacher at Kent Meridian High School.

Once the Kent Education Association approved the agreement, they released some highlights of the deal.

It calls for smaller class sizes, more paraeducators and more manageable caseloads for therapy and speech staffers.

Teachers will also get a 7% raise this year with at least another 1% increase for inflation funded by the state.

In all, both teachers and parents are thrilled to have kids back learning.

“Oh, it feels great. I mean it’s obviously good to have them back in school,” said Tyler Dietrich, who has three kids in the district.

“We’re so excited to be back. We’ve been missing our kids, we’ve been hearing from our kids on the picket line, they are excited to be back, the energy is really high,” said Anderson.

One thing all students are looking forward to is having a normal year, one without COVID-19 restrictions.

“Well, we don’t have to wear our masks this year, last year we did,” said Bjornson.

“Pretty great about it, since it’s gone we get to do everything, we get to breathe now,” said Chrisean Green, a freshman at Kent Meridian High School.

All kindergarten students will start school on Tuesday, Sept. 13.