BACK TO SCHOOL: District update Thursday, as partial resumption of in-person learning nears

In less than four weeks, Seattle Public Schools plans to offer in-person classes for preschoolers, kindergarteners, first-graders, and special-education students on intensive pathways. How many will show up? The district surveyed families last month; we asked about results of that survey today, but the district says they’re not available yet. Meantime, district leaders plan to livestream an update on in-person planning this Thursday (February 4th) at 5:15 pm (you can watch here). And they’ve put together a video showing, among other things, the way classrooms will be reconfigured:

Just to our south, Highline Public Schools also plans to resume some in-person learning March 1st, with a plan covering more grades, eventually adding 2nd through 5th graders within a month

30 Replies to "BACK TO SCHOOL: District update Thursday, as partial resumption of in-person learning nears"

  • Anne February 2, 2021 (8:55 pm)

    So plan is to start in person school without teachers getting vaccine first?  

    • Smittytheclown February 3, 2021 (6:03 am)

      Multiple peer reviewed studies show that – if done properly – transmission rates are extremely low.  I would assume any employee with underlying conditions or over 65 will be accommodated. Data and science have ruled up to now and should continue to do so.

    • flimflam February 3, 2021 (6:38 am)

      maybe any of the older ones should be prioritized, but other than that, are they somehow floating, elevated over the commoners working at grocery stores, restaurants who encounter far more different people every day – maskless, indoors at restaurants even?

    • Brian February 3, 2021 (8:36 am)

      It appears that way and boy does it seem like a bad idea. 

    • Average person February 3, 2021 (9:08 am)

      Like grocery workers, daycare providers, health care professionals, police officers, postal workers, etc…?   Seems like it’s about time.

      • Brian February 3, 2021 (9:33 am)

        Just because it’s the reality in which we live doesn’t make it right. The state has failed its citizens repeatedly for months and no help is coming. 

      • Anne February 3, 2021 (10:44 am)

        Everyone you mentioned should get the vaccine-but if we want our kids back in school NOW -don’t we want those that teach them to be as safe as possible-especially with more contagious variants showing up?  

      • wsres February 3, 2021 (11:16 am)

        those essential workers worked when numbers were low and now all but grocery store workers have the vaccine. it has been fair for no one, but teachers are already working with our students and I am not sending my kids back until teachers are vaccinated and maybe not until kids are vaccinated.

    • School choice in Seattle February 3, 2021 (10:39 am)

      So the plan is a phased approach which you can learn more about by reading the information on the District website (see link).  For each phase “students can return for in-person instruction in a phased approach. Families can choose to remain in a remote learning model.”  In other words, school choice comes to Seattle!      For each phase the District will have to bargain with the labor partners who often see things differently from a safety and risk tolerance point of view.  It is not unusual for the individual labor union to have an all or nothing approach for their members, whether the individual members like it or not.  I believe Seattle Public Schools has 7 different labor partners.  I don’t know if they can start school if only two of the labor partners agree (e.g., you can have teachers but we won’t fix the plumbing).

    • zark00 February 5, 2021 (12:29 am)

      It’s weird when people compare teachers to grocery workers as a way to argue that teachers should ALSO be forced to be exposed to covid.  We’ve completely thrown grocery workers under the bus, and now the stores are even suing to avoid paying them hazard pay.  And the argument is, because we did that, teachers should also be forced to work or what? be fired? what’s the plan there?  Covid’s just really bringing out the best in us isn’t it.

  • Parent February 2, 2021 (11:20 pm)

    The survey was a straight yes/no question. One question. Seems like if there were a desire to share those results, they could be made available. 

  • GHill February 3, 2021 (12:29 am)

    This was presented last week for SPS.Return to in-person school survey numbers presented for special education:Special education students in intensive pathways, 1824 total families surveyed, 36.7% in-person, 35.3% remote, 28% no response. Students of color and SFFEJ: 31.2% in-person, 34.1% remote, 34.7% no response

    • WSB February 3, 2021 (12:34 am)

      Interesting, the district media-relations lead said he had asked about the numbers before I asked and he was told they weren’t available. Was that an intradistrict document? I spent some time yesterday fishing around agendas, the weekly superintendent memo, and other places where news sometimes hides…

      • GHill February 3, 2021 (12:42 am)

        No, this was presented by SPS to the community.

      • Dubs February 3, 2021 (6:54 am)

        The results of the survey are available. The question asked of families was for full days 5x per week not for the hybrid proposal in the link above. The hybrid will have your child at school 2 days per week then then 3 on their own without instruction logging into Seesaw or doing packets all day.

        • WSB February 3, 2021 (12:27 pm)


    • Abby February 3, 2021 (1:57 pm)

      They have the results, I don’t know why they won’t share them. My principal has the results for our school, but he hasn’t shared them with me yet. I wish they would be more transparent. I am a kindergarten teacher and it’s really hard to plan with no communication or plan from the district. It’s causing a lot of stress and anxiety. 

  • Rara February 3, 2021 (8:22 am)

    I’m glad they have a plan. My boys really want to go back to school. Part time would even be great. Mine are in high school so that may be awhile. It would be lovely if my seniors got to walk. 

    • Brian February 3, 2021 (11:15 am)

      This is a good point… I don’t know if COVID has had attributable effects on adolescent ambulatory paralysis but, personally, I’m not interested using my own kids as test subjects in that grand experiment. 

      • wsres February 3, 2021 (3:44 pm)


  • Mj February 3, 2021 (9:21 am)

    Daycares and preschools are open and operating safely!  It’s past time that the Public Schools get opened up for elementary students that can easily be bubbled. 

    And in a City that talks about social equity and fairness not getting the elementary kids back into School is very unjust.  

    • Brian February 3, 2021 (9:34 am)

      Strange because my brother has been sending his kid to a Bright Horizons daycare facility and it has had to close down three or four times for over a week at a time because of COVID outbreaks. Doesn’t really strike me as safe. 

    • JJ February 3, 2021 (9:46 am)

      Without regular testing it is wrong to assume they are operating safely. They could be safe, or just as easily they could be silent reservoirs of disease.

    • yapobix February 3, 2021 (9:59 am)

      Mostly safely, but there are exceptions.  We sent our 3 year old to a private daycare and it has now been shut down twice (for at least a week or two for deep cleaning) in the past 3 months for COVID outbreaks.  Staff, children, and families have all tested positive in that time. Our household tested positive in November when the first outbreak happened there, and since we don’t go anywhere or socialize, the daycare is the only source we can think of (unless we caught it at the supermarket or something). Many families have pulled their children for now, including us.

    • Whitney February 3, 2021 (10:08 am)

      Daycares and preschools operate with much smaller class sizes than our public schools. School is still happening, however, the child care function schools have provided in addition to education is currently not capable of happening safely. Especially when we prioritize gyms and restaurants over education. 

    • wsres February 3, 2021 (3:46 pm)

      outbreaks for child care and schools may not always be counted because kids are less likely to have symptoms and they pass it to their families, and so the outbreak looks like it was transmitted in the home, and not at the school. the data is skewed.

  • Concerned February 3, 2021 (10:23 am)

    My child is a special education child here in the public school system and we are a high risk household and absolutely not wanting to return in person. I think it’s 50/50 and half want to return and half would like to stay at home for teachers and students. I think they should make the accommodations for those who want to return and let the rest stay home with online schooling. I want my child back at school as much as any of you who wish to return, but only when it’s safe and to our comfort. This is working out for us and we are as safe as possible here at home and we are in no rush for a return in person. I’m thinking we will completely quit the public schools if we aren’t allowed remote learning as an option for all of or a good half of next year for those who wish to continue in remote. I’m all for those who wish to return to be allowed and let the rest continue at home if that’s what they wish to do. For some and of all ages this illness is just a cold or flu for a few days or a week and for many others it’s a death and costing many lives to be lost and is not something I’m willing to take the chance on.
    No one should be made to participate in anything that’s not of comfort during this pandemic and that goes for all school workers as well as students and families. I keep hearing and reading about the vaccine and I also understand many teachers aren’t ready to take the vaccine of which we are all still learning about and not sure about it’s safety or long term effects. I’d like a vaccine for myself and my child, but I’m unsure about rushing out to get one and my child isn’t of the age to get a vaccine at this time. New more contagious strains out there and rushing to open everything up is a bad idea, but for those of you not at risk, feel free to live your lives and let the others who are most at risk to continue to do what’s best for their situation.we haven’t hardly left the house in a year, but that’s working for us, we don’t like it. I can’t wait for this pandemic to end but until then we will continue to not add to the spread or unknowingly cause others to end up sick or possibly die. 

  • John February 3, 2021 (10:55 am)

    And still no talk about any hybrid system? I understand people’s anxiety, yet I believe there can be a smart way of doing this that mitigates exposure. My kids “go” to school in Seattle but I work in a school district that has gone hybrid since day one and has operated well with no closures. Let’s get our kids back in school.

  • Friend February 3, 2021 (12:01 pm)

    My school age kid attends a child care program at a Seattle Public school building. School lunch is provided there.  The program notifies parents when there is a positive covid test in community but the care hasn’t shut down.  Staff aren’t teachers nor do they help with school work. Seems like a partial return could be modeled after these existing programs currently operating in public school facilities? Optional of course. 

Sorry, comment time is over.