Seattle Public Schools to bring back some students for in-person learning in March

SEATTLE — Seattle Public Schools confirmed Friday that it will bring special education, pre-K and head start students to the classroom starting the second week of March, giving parents the option of sticking with remote learning if they desire.

However, the district is negotiating with the teachers union on when all other grades will return for in-person learning.

District leaders sent a letter to educators and staff providing the in-class instruction, informing them that they should plan on working in buildings and arrive for training on March 8.

Officials said students would begin returning to the classroom in a phased-in approach on March 11.

“Throughout the pandemic, the School Board and staff have committed to providing a high-quality education, no matter the circumstances or learning environment,” said SPS Board President Chandra Hampson. “We are thankful for our incredible educators who have worked tirelessly to provide strong instruction in this new remote environment. While remote education has presented challenges for many of our students, students requiring intensive special education services and our youngest learners have been disproportionately impacted by remote learning.”

Superintendent Denise Juneau said, “Working with our partner union, SEA, will continue, but because we haven’t reached an agreement yet, we have to begin to take the steps to bring educators back for our students. I applaud the board’s courageous action to designate as essential these instructional services for some of our special education students and our youngest learners in preschool and Head Start.”

The district said it has prepared all school buildings for the return of in-person learning with all the necessary safety equipment, ventilation upgrades, social distancing and more for when all students return.

Classes will have 15 students or less and they will be in a cohort throughout the day for their return.