This won’t surprise you, but Seattle Public Schools says it felt the need to make an official announcement that remote learning will continue at least through the end of the current school year’s first semester. From Superintendent Denise Juneau:
We are close to the two-month mark for this school year and while we continue to adjust to this new way of remote learning, we’ve received many questions about when SPS students will be able to return for in-person classes in our buildings. Currently, we’ve prioritized only a small number of students who receive special education services for in-person instruction.
We appreciate and hear your concerns and questions. Seattle Public Schools will remain remote with limited in-person instruction through January 28, the first semester of school. This approach is in response to an increase of COVID-19 cases in King County and after consultation with Seattle Education Association, Seattle Council PTSA, and the Principals’ Association of Seattle Schools.
There is also no guarantee that we will be able to increase in-person instruction next semester. There are many factors that need to be considered, as we closely monitor King County COVID-19 transmission rates as well as disproportionate impacts on communities of color.
The week of October 12, a Re-Entry Leadership Team including the Superintendent, representatives from Seattle Education Association, Principals’ Association of Seattle Schools, Seattle Council PTSA, students, and the School Board reconvened to talk about next steps. This team will meet regularly to discuss in-person learning recommendations, including prioritized students, return criteria and benchmarks, model flexibility, and options for families who aren’t ready to return in-person this school year.
Transparency and making sure families and staff have opportunities for input will be crucial as the School Board makes challenging decisions.
A public work session on in-person learning will be held November 30, 4 – 5:30 p.m. The SPS community is invited to watch online via SPSTV on YouTube, or on television (Comcast channels 26 and 319, Wave channels 26 and 695, and Century Link channels 8008 and 8508).
We are hoping to provide some certainty in this uncertain time by making this announcement today and commit to keeping you informed and included as more decisions are made going forward. Opportunities to provide feedback directly to staff and the School Board will be shared in the next couple weeks.
In-person learning ended on March 11th; the district announced at the time that schools would close for at least 14 days. Across the country, some districts that reopened schools have closed them again, like Boston.