Monroe School District agrees to delay in-person learning amid bargaining with teacher's union

The Monroe School District Board of Directors agreed to delay in-person learning for first grade students to Tuesday, November 17th, district officials announced late Saturday.

After several days of discussions with the teacher's union, the district stated in a release late on Saturday they agreed to delay incorporating students back to the classroom by one day. A district spokesperson confirmed with Q13 News on Sunday after the governor's latest restrictions, MSD will continue with the learning model, and will safely incorporate students back into the classrooms, moving to stage three of their learning model.

According to the district's website, stage three is classified under hybrid learning, as 1st graders will incorporate an AA/BB learning model. The model includes two days of in-person learning, three days of remote learning. Other students will remain in distance learning. 

The change comes amid Gov. Inslee's new state restrictions announced Sunday morning, which will take effect just before midnight on Monday, with additional restriction measures in place for many businesses. Inslee's new restrictions, however, do not affect hybrid learning already set in place for K-12th grade students. 

Earlier on Saturday, the Monroe Education Association members voted against the district's initial expansion for in-person instruction. 

First-grade students were scheduled to return to campuses on Monday. The students were to alternate distance learning and classroom instruction, but the MEA announced in a press release that its members rejected the district’s plan.

“The district released a premature plan to parents knowing that it violated the district’s own contract and that it was asking teachers to violate our contract as well,” MEA President Robyn Hayashi said in a press release.

“We are declining to do that, especially with the dramatic increase in pandemic infections occurring right now.”The union’s vote comes days after the district revealed dozens of kindergarteners and several staff members were told by county health officials to quarantine after a potential exposure to COVID-19.

After the MEA’s announcement, a district spokesperson told Q13 News on Saturday, “At this time the School Board has not taken any action. The Monroe School District will continue to meet with the Monroe Education Association throughout the weekend.”

Amid Friday's vote, Kindergartners and some special needs students will continue attending classes at school.