SPS to relax physical distancing in schools starting Monday

Seattle Public Schools will relax physical distancing requirements for students in schools starting next Monday.

On March 14, the state’s largest school district dropped the mask requirement for students and staff, but urged people to get vaccinated against COVID-19, quarantine when needed and physically distance "to the greatest extent possible."

SPS will ease up on the physical distancing side of those guidelines on April 25, in accordance with Department of Health recommendations.

The district says relaxing these requirements will allow them to "return to many of the instructional practices that are best for student success, such as participating in small groups." The specifics of what is changing, such as what classes or activities fall under ‘instructional practices,’ or how much less students must physically distance, were not stated.

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Classes end for the year in June, and until then, SPS says they will continue to:

  • Identify and respond to cases
  • Provide vaccine, booster access
  • Run protected health care rooms
  • Provide COVID-19 testing and face masks
  • Keep up increased air ventilation and air quality testing

As SPS prepares to roll back these safety measures, they have also announced new testing programs for groups and classrooms. Parents are encouraged to pre-consent to on-demand testing through the end of the year; if a student gets exposed, the district can quickly test classmates and staff to ensure there is no spread.

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There is no timeframe on when physical distancing requirements will be fully lifted.