Seattle Public Schools outlines safety measures, parent concerned it’s not enough

SEATTLE — Seattle Public Schools officials said they have a plan to keep COVID-19 out of the classroom.

It comes just a week before the start of the school year.

During a virtual town hall on Tuesday, SPS administrators shared their plan to keep students safe, which they’re calling a “layered strategy.” It means combining and implementing a variety of safeguards, such as requiring staff vaccinations, constant air purification and requiring masks.

One parent is concerned the plan does not go far enough, however.

Laurel Taylor has two students in Seattle Public Schools, a district she said she adores, but is currently concerned about the upcoming school year.

Taylor said she was planning on sending her fourth-grader into the classroom, but now says she’s making her decision with science and data, and is planning on keeping her unvaccinated elementary school student home.

“Basically, (the delta variant) changed the game here,” said KIRO 7 reporter Kevin Ko.

“It absolutely did, and I’m seeing the case counts going a direction we don’t like. I’m seeing the transmissibility is so much, and I’m also seeing the district is acting as if they don’t need all of the precautions that they had last spring,” said Taylor.

Taylor says she’s privileged to have the option to home-school, but she knows other parents don’t have the means to do the same.

That’s why she’s pushing for a temporary remote learning model to be available.

SPS is offering a virtual learning option, but without any guarantees the students would be able to go back to in-person learning if COVID-19 cases begin dropping.

District officials have repeated their willingness to be flexible, and said they will make changes as needed to make sure students and staff are kept safe.

But Taylor is not confident the safety measures will be enough.

“Expecting elementary school kids to keep their masks on all the time? I’ve been to Target. I see that adults are not able to keep their masks on all the time,” she said.