REOPENING: Seattle Public Schools asks families to watch for survey next week

When Seattle Public Schools leaders decided two weeks ago to resume in-person learning March 1st for PreK through 1st graders and some special-education students, they said a survey would go out to affected families in early January. This afternoon the district sent this announcement advising those families to watch their inboxes next Tuesday:

Seattle Public Schools will send an important survey next week to families with students in preschool, kindergarten, first grade and moderate to intensive special education service pathways in order to determine how many students from those groups will be returning to in-person learning in SPS schools in March 2021.

The survey, which will be sent to families on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021, is the primary way for the district to ascertain how many families from the specific groups want to return to in-person learning.

The survey must be returned to SPS by Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021. It will then be followed by direct communication from each student’s school. The response goal is 100 percent participation in the survey.

SPS is currently in the remote learning framework that the SPS Board of Directors approved prior to the start of the 2020-2021 school year.
As previously announced by Superintendent Denise Juneau, SPS will resume in-person learning on March 1, 2021, for the following four groups of students:

• Preschool;
• Kindergarten;
• 1st Grade;
• Students enrolled in special education moderate to intensive service pathways. On Dec. 17, the school board approved the resolution to begin the phased in return of students.

The survey will be emailed, but families will also receive robocalls and texts. Among other things, survey responses will help SPS figure out:

• How many in-person teachers will be needed;
• How much classroom space will be needed;
• The appropriate amount of PPE for students and staff;
• Necessary bus and other modes of transportation needed for students;
• Necessary adjustments by SPS Nutrition Services to provide in-person meal service;
• How many remote teachers will be necessary for students choosing to remain remote for the rest of the school year.

The SPS website has more info on the in-person-learning plan.

20 Replies to "REOPENING: Seattle Public Schools asks families to watch for survey next week"

  • Neighbor December 30, 2020 (5:24 pm)

    Thanks, WSB.  I’m trying to understand the logistics, with some students continuing online school, and some in person (if the union agrees to it). Will classrooms be restructured?  Some teachers will continue to teach online, while others move to classrooms, so will students then have different teachers and different classmates? Surely teachers aren’t going to be expected to teach in person and online simultaneously!? 

    • SPS Teacher December 30, 2020 (6:17 pm)

      The logistics have not been figured out yet. The district has not communicated with teachers at all. All of this has to be negotiated with the union. 

    • Lillet December 30, 2020 (6:37 pm)

      Parent of a 4th grader at Hope Lutheran here, Our teacher successfully manages 15 students in person at the same time 4 students remotely learn online five days a week. This has been the best experience my 9 year-old has had in class since kindergarten (in Seattle Public School). They’ve been full-time in class since September with no cases of Covid. This is not to say some positive cases in other classes haven’t happened, but it can be done with little to no term health issues. Kudos to Mrs Kuhn and the entire administration at Hope. Children can safely and indeed need to be leaning in-person. Our children are falling woefully behind other states learning in-person, not to mention the psycho-social effects and physical fitness that is suffering due to this shutdown model. Open up SPS! Stop bowing to the teacher’s union and start putting children first as you claim to do!

      • Anne December 30, 2020 (7:05 pm)

        Love Hope Lutheran-kids & grandkids all went there – but there is a difference in managing 15 students at the same time in a private school with a smaller enrollment -as opposed to a much larger public school. I agree though- open up SPS as soon as safely possible-first all teachers &  school employees must be vaccinated- (both doses ) 

      • WSHS Student December 30, 2020 (7:05 pm)

        Agree!  My cousins live in Florida and have been in school since October.  There are states with in person school and states open 100% and they are thriving.  

      • Private vs Public December 30, 2020 (9:53 pm)

        Lillet, There is a big difference between public and private schools. 20 4th graders vs 26 that SPS teachers can have. How many SpEd, Ell, Med fragile, homeless, immune compromised students in the private school? And same with teachers. Many are not comfortable going back! We all know it isn’t best for anyone to be home this long and learning/working online. Bussing is an issue, what if a child is symptomatic when the bus driver gets there? Do they leave the student and hope a parent is home to pick up? Do they sit there with students on the bus and others waiting to get picked up until someone comes for that child? Should bus drivers and secretaries have the responsibility of checking for symptoms and determining who goes home? What about MS/HS students who move from class to class? A school would be shut down so quickly as soon as one student was positive. What about the lunchroom where 200 students eat at several different lunch periods? There is one sink with two hand washing stations for 600+ students. There are too many issues that the district has not communicated about. There needs to be a clear plan! Why does Wa state have low numbers, because the governor made and is sticking to an unpopular decision about shutting things down! 

      • Wsres December 30, 2020 (10:37 pm)

        Lillet, my sister is a teacher in a different district and she is having to do the same thing. She is working so hard and is working over her holiday break to create content for the online schooling and worried she may get covid from her in-person students. Your child’s teacher may be successful but she may also be burning her candle at both ends and doing far more than any teacher should be expected to. I talk to my sister weekly and she has been in tears more than once hoping she is doing the best for her students and hoping she doesn’t bring the virus home to her family. It is nuts that we expect in person schooling when our kids cannot get vaccinated until possibly this Summer.

  • David December 30, 2020 (7:54 pm)

    For those insisting that the rest of the country is fine after opening schools etc, here’s a link to the day-by-day statistics from Johns Hopkins:
    Click “US” on the left, then wait for the daily-case graph to load in the bottom right.
    If you can’t be bothered to look, that’s your prerogative. But the truth, which you can see for yourself, is that COVID is spreading 5-7 times as fast as it was when we shut everything down. The only difference is that our govt and media have decided we shouldn’t care any more. (And apparently no one can be bothered to look up the publicly-available information.)

  • Leanne K Hust December 30, 2020 (10:40 pm)

    Is a survey going out to staff?

  • Public school teacher December 31, 2020 (12:42 am)

    Browsing on the Hope website, it does look like there have been cases in the school  (however low as of mid-December), with  most grades being virtual to start 2021.  Seems like what  Lillet has said is  more of a complaint about the complexity of a large public school district, than a small private one, esp is this the best experience her child has had in 5 elementary school years. Comparing a single school to an entire school district, esp one as large and diverse as SPS, is a wrong comparison.The pandemic exposes the weak systems our country has and has had for far too long.  Schools can open, safely, if only the community infection levels are  low. Rather than doing our part, we blame teachers (ie. union).  The blame should be on all of us: for not keeping cases lower.  Far too many teachers on national forums are scared about getting infected, esp the ones in schools that are in person. They talk openly about it on Instagram or FB groups.  The vaccine is so close and making sure teachers can be vaccinated is the right next step. 

  • Brynn December 31, 2020 (2:53 am)

    i would like it to be known that this isn’t the first time the district has made decisions without consulting with the union. It has been their tactic to make press releases like the return to school by march 1st without telling the union at all. It is a nasty technique and i hope it fails. Why would we go back when the pandemic is taking more lives than ever before?

    • G December 31, 2020 (7:55 am)

      My child will absolutely not be going back this school year and perhaps not the beginning of next school year either. No Teacher should have to ever work in fear of getting sick or worse. Checking for symptoms does no good when a child or one of the adults at the school can be sick this morning but not coming down with symptoms until later this evening. 

      • LY December 31, 2020 (9:59 am)

        Agree with you G. I don’t get this whole sending kids back and risking teachers lives. Why March 1st? Why havent the teachers been surveyed about this? Feels like some PR stunt.I also think the whole thing about checking for symptoms and letting them pass if there are no visible symptoms is silly. Of course it’s good to check but it’s widely known now you can still infect others while asymptomatic. Friends of mine had covid and didn’t even have fevers during the entire illness.

    • Anne December 31, 2020 (8:11 am)

      Exactly -the first step to opening has got to be making sure teachers & school workers are fully vaccinated. Period.

    • flimflam December 31, 2020 (9:34 am)

      tell that to grocery workers…

      • Brynn December 31, 2020 (11:16 am)

        We all should be fighting for the rights of frontline workers. That’s the importance of unions and why corporations have squashed them. Anyone who has to work frontline should be receiving hazard pay and should have fully funded PPE. This is a failing of our government officials and corporations who own them. 

      • Anne December 31, 2020 (11:30 am)

        I feel exactly the same for grocery workers-they should be vaccinated NOW!  I am so very appreciative & grateful to them-as they’ve had to work -exposed to so many, many folks daily-from the start. 

      • Heather January 2, 2021 (11:01 pm)

        And health care workers and firefighters and Police… Why are teachers so special in this? We’re in a pandemic, we all have to take mitigated risks and returning to school is not a big one. Teachers and the union need to be more open to the data supporting the reopening of schools and the harm being caused to our children.   

  • Guest December 31, 2020 (3:10 pm)

    Teresa Thayer Snyder: What Shall We Do About the Children After the Pandemic

    By dianeravitchDecember 12, 2020 //193Teresa Thayer Snyder was superintendent of the Voorheesville district in upstate New York. She wrote this wise and insightful essay on her Facebook page. A friend sent it to me.Dear Friends and Colleagues:I am writing today about the children of this pandemic. After a lifetime of working among the young, I feel compelled to address the concerns that are being expressed by so many of my peers about the deficits the children will demonstrate when they finally return to school. My goodness, what a disconcerting thing to be concerned about in the face of a pandemic which is affecting millions of people around the country and the world. It speaks to one of my biggest fears for the children when they return. In our determination to “catch them up,” I fear that we will lose who they are and what they have learned during this unprecedented era. What on earth are we trying to catch them up on? The models no longer apply, the benchmarks are no longer valid, the trend analyses have been interrupted. We must not forget that those arbitrary measures were established by people, not ordained by God. We can make those invalid measures as obsolete as a crank up telephone! They simply do not apply. When the children return to school, they will have returned with a new history that we will need to help them identify and make sense of. When the children return to school, we will need to listen to them. Let their stories be told. They have endured a year that has no parallel in modern times. There is no assessment that applies to who they are or what they have learned. Remember, their brains did not go into hibernation during this year. Their brains may not have been focused on traditional school material, but they did not stop either. Their brains may have been focused on where their next meal is coming from, or how to care for a younger sibling, or how to deal with missing grandma, or how it feels to have to surrender a beloved pet, or how to deal with death. Our job is to welcome them back and help them write that history.I sincerely plead with my colleagues, to surrender the artificial constructs that measure achievement and greet the children where they are, not where we think they “should be.” Greet them with art supplies and writing materials, and music and dance and so many other avenues to help them express what has happened to them in their lives during this horrific year. Greet them with stories and books that will help them make sense of an upside-down world. They missed you. They did not miss the test prep. They did not miss the worksheets. They did not miss the reading groups. They did not miss the homework. They missed you.Resist the pressure from whatever ‘powers that be’ who are in a hurry to “fix” kids and make up for the “lost” time. The time was not lost, it was invested in surviving an historic period of time in their lives—in our lives. The children do not need to be fixed. They are not broken. They need to be heard. They need be given as many tools as we can provide to nurture resilience and help them adjust to a post pandemic world.Being a teacher is an essential connection between what is and what can be. Please, let what can be demonstrate that our children have so much to share about the world they live in and in helping them make sense of what, for all of us has been unimaginable. This will help them– and us– achieve a lot more than can be measured by any assessment tool ever devised. Peace to all who work with the children!

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  • LJ January 1, 2021 (11:33 am)

    I definitely applaud all the grocery workers who have worked diligently throughout the whole pandemic to keep us supplied with food. There is, however, a difference with teachers.  Teachers are exposed to large groups of students for the whole day, whereas grocery workers have brief contact periods with shoppers. There is more potential for infection with prolonged exposure.

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