Renton teachers reach agreement with school district

RENTON, Wash. — Teachers in the Renton Education Association reached an agreement with the school district Tuesday night to return to the classroom Wednesday.

Earlier in the day, they voted not to return to in-person teaching, despite certain preschool, kindergarten, and special education teachers being called back to the classroom.

“The school district saw how serious we are about health and safety and it moved them to adopt a higher standard,” said Mary Jo McLaughlin, Renton Education Association president. “The new agreement includes additional mitigation measures that give all of us safer working and learning conditions.”

The teacher’s union said the district failed to address the safety concerns from school nurses, special education teachers and staff considered to be high-risk. They say health and safety should come first before more students enter school buildings.

But the district said the union had already approved an agreement that said teachers would return on Wednesday.

REA teachers said they will continue to hold classes remotely, but the district said on its website that it is prepared to have substitute teachers teach classes in person to kindergarten students Wednesday.

“Nothing is more important to us than the well-being of our students, community and our educators are excited to greet their students tomorrow.” remarked McLaughlin. “We are so proud that our action moved the dial to get us as close as we can to a safe re-opening for our students, staff, and community.”

Read more about the teachers union’s agreement to return kindergarteners to in-person learning at this link.