Seattle school district, teachers' union reach tentative agreement for 6-12 grade in-person learning

Seattle Public Schools and the Seattle Education Association reached a tentative agreement for returning 6th through 12th graders to classrooms. 

In a joint statement from SPS and SEA on Thursday, the return to in-person learning on April 5th will start for Special Education Intensive Service Pathways students first. All other secondary students will return starting April 19th.

Under the tentative agreement, educators will provide four full days of instruction for all students. All guidelines will meet Gov. Jay Inslee's education guidelines.

This comes after months of negotiations of returning students back to classrooms during the COVID-19 pandemic. Last week, the teachers' union approved the return of nearly 7,000 elementary students back to classrooms starting April 5th.

In the morning, students - regardless of their learning model - will have synchronous remote classes for four days a week.

"SEA remained focused on ensuring every student had options that met their individual physical, social, and emotional needs," said Uti Hawkins, vice president of the Seattle Education Association. "It is critical we support learning with options as our school communities navigate this pandemic. We are committed to ensuring equitable systems of support for those students that stay remote and those students who opt for in-person instruction."

Middle and high school students in the afternoon will have both remote and in-person small group and individual instruction and support. Students that select the in-person instruction model will attend two half-day classes per week. Intensive service pathway students will have four half days of in-person instruction for the afternoons. 

K-8 schools will determine if secondary students receive in-person instruction in the morning and afternoon and Wednesday will continue to be remote learning.

"On Monday, elementary students served in Special Education Intensive Service Pathways and preschool students across our district had the opportunity to reunite with classmates and teachers in-person. I joined families and staff in celebrating the return of these students. This past year has undoubtedly been difficult, but the joy and learning I witnessed in classrooms this week gives me immense hope as more students return to buildings," said Superintendent Denise Juneau.

The tentative agreement moves forward to wait approval by SEA members and the Seattle school board. 

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