Seattle Public Schools will return to full-time in-person learning this fall

SEATTLE — Students in Seattle will return to the classroom this fall for full-time in-person learning.

Interim Superintendent Brent Jones announced on Thursday that there will be a full reopening of schools for the 2021-2022 school year.

“It’s imperative that we create the best conditions for our students and I believe that’s in-person learning,” Jones said.

“In-person school is what we do best and is best for our students. My staff know how to successfully open school across 104 sites and that is exactly what we plan to do in September,” Jones said.

In March, Gov. Jay Inslee signed an emergency proclamation requiring K-12 schools to offer hybrid in-person learning for all students.

Seattle Public Schools is the state’s largest district. The district welcomed back students to the classroom in April. This marked nearly a full school year of remote learning.

Jones said the district will be working with health officials and following their guidance.

“Those things that are mandatory, we’ll adhere to those, but we don’t have a full picture of what it’ll look like in the fall,” he said. “We need to work with families, we need to work with communities, we need to work with teachers.”

The district has informed the teachers’ union of their plan.

SPS released this statement from Jones after Thursday’s announcement.

“Dear SPS Community,

Thank you for welcoming me back to SPS as the interim superintendent. As a former district leader, Franklin High School graduate, and current SPS parent, it truly feels like coming home.

My first priority is to finish this school year strong and to prepare for a full reopening of schools this fall. In-person school is what we do best and is best for our students. My staff know how to successfully open school across 104 sites and that is exactly what we plan to do in September, while continuing to follow public health and state guidelines.

We all learned a lot and have significantly grown this last year. When we come back in fall, we will come back stronger and more student focused. From classrooms to the central office, our staff will be working to offer students the very best - high-quality and engaging instruction, welcoming classrooms, and safe and healthy learning environments.

To thrive, students will need supports beyond academics, so student well-being is a guiding priority as we plan. Student mental health has suffered during the pandemic. Using federal emergency funds, SPS will be investing in additional mental health services, trauma-informed practice, and working with families and staff to create a culture of care as we make a full return to school buildings. I am also committed to providing robust wellness supports for staff. It is important that our entire SPS community is healthy – mentally, spiritually, and physically.

Student learning depends on strong partnerships between families and our educators. Next school year, staff will be focused on supporting growth along each student’s individual learning path in collaboration with parents and caregivers. We will invest in enhanced academic supports, community partnerships, and extended learning opportunities to support these efforts.

As we return, we can’t forget the lessons we have learned over this last year. The new and innovative instructional practices gained will continue. Staff will strengthen these skills, leveraging technology to provide access and enhanced learning opportunities for students. Some students found great success in our virtual classrooms; in response we will continue to provide a remote learning option. Other students found freedom from racism, bullying, and harassment while learning at home. I am committed to making sure our in-person classrooms are safe and affirming for all students.

Most importantly, the needs and perspectives of our students will drive our fall planning and return.

I look forward to sharing more information and engaging with you and our students in the coming weeks. I am full of optimism and excitement for next school year – I hope you are too.

Be well,

Superintendent Brent Jones”