Seattle teachers approve deal for older students returning to classrooms

A decision approved by Seattle’s teachers means at least 10,000 middle- and high-school students can return to class for the first time in more than a year due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The Seattle Times reports that after months of negotiations, the Seattle Education Association, which represents 7,000 Seattle Public Schools employees, has ratified an agreement to bring older students back to in-person learning on Monday.

About 81% of SEA members approved the agreement Wednesday, according to a spokesperson for the Washington Education Association.

In an effort to meet Gov. Jay Inslee’s deadline to provide in-person instruction for secondary students by April 19, the district rushed to pull together a draft of a hybrid learning model.

About 80% of more than 26,000 families of secondary students responded to a district survey about in-person learning, SPS spokesperson Tim Robinson said. Of those, about half opted for in-person learning, while 17% hadn’t responded as of Thursday morning.

Families have until April 23 to change their minds by calling the school — after that, they’ll need to go through a formal appeals process, he said.

Under the hybrid instructional schedule, middle and high school students will get the bulk of their live instruction in the morning online, and the afternoons would be for teachers to reinforce the material and answer questions from students — keeping the same general shape as the remote-only schedule.

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