VIDEO: Seattle Public Schools says most in-person learning won’t resume until after March 1st

5:40 PM: Seattle Public Schools says that the students returning to in-person learning will return in phases, with the first phase serving special-education students (in “intensive pathways”). That means the others, preschoolers through 1st-graders, won’t start until sometime after March 1st. Also from the briefing that’s under way now, the district says about 50 percent of eligible families have indicated their students will return for in-person classes. District officials are also describing the schedules – the special-education students would attend Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, while the preschoolers, kindergarteners, and 1st graders would be split into A and B groups – Mondays and Tuesdays for one, Thursdays and Fridays for the other. More details to come – families were repeatedly advised to check the district’s website, but it’s currently down again.

5:48 PM: The briefing’s over; we’ve added the recorded video above.

53 Replies to "VIDEO: Seattle Public Schools says most in-person learning won't resume until after March 1st"

  • Henri le chat February 4, 2021 (6:32 pm)

    With all that we are dealing with and have had to adapt to during this pandemic, and given we are still very much in the midst of it, I don’t understand why the rush to resume ANYTHING that includes exhaustive measures to make it happen and also increases transmission risk. Why can’t people just be patient and we can continue with current mitigation measures while vaccinations continue, and have a tentative plan to resume in person learning and other activities next Fall? I feel for teachers and staff and families that will experience additional stresses related to schools reopening this Spring. Not to mention those who become sick because of this. TOO SOON.

    (Queue someone saying ‘stay home as long as you want if you’re scared, but let others do what they want 🙄… wait for it)

    • Science Is Real February 5, 2021 (4:57 am)

      I agree, it seems as though money tends to be the factor with humans, not saving lives. They push for everything to open only to close again when they get the population re–infected. People do not understand science, patience or humanity for that matter. They want their lattes & to be served, to feel special and pampered for some reason. They have lost the ability to provide that experience to themselves, they are frustrated with their choice of mate, frustrated with their children (who many are getting to REALLY know for the first time because they normally send their kids off somewhere else all day.) Not sure what will fix this, maybe it just won’t get fixed and we have to adapt to a new world free of institutionalized slavery in all realms (including the animals), this virus is here to take us down a peg and we better have some respect for the science because if we don’t a heck of a lot more people are going to die beyond anything we’ve ever seen. Stay safe if you can, stay home if you can and I really hope some integrity, empathy & humbleness can come out of this.

      • Henri le chat February 5, 2021 (9:14 am)

        Great thoughtful comment, thanks @SIR, stay safe.

      • Pessoa February 5, 2021 (9:38 am)

        Thanks for the sanctimonious sermon, I’m surprised you didn’t manage to get some absurd analogy to 9/11 or WWII, with a “buck up” admonition.  You realize that millions of Americans are suffering, right?  Do I need to lecture you with the long, long list trauma’s that are being inflicted on the country, INCLUDING the emotional and scholastic regression of children? As far as “science” goes, it hasn’t been free of politics and ego since caveman rubbed two sticks together and discovered fire. 

    • WW February 5, 2021 (6:19 am)

      Not all of us are in as comfortable a financial situation as you seem to be enjoying.  Having kids at home can mean losing an income.

      • Henri le chat February 5, 2021 (9:20 am)

        You’re wrong in your judgements, but I will say, some people might have to swallow their pride and reach out for the assistance thats available to help get through this challenging time. For parents who have to stay home with children, you should qualify for unemployment benefits help to get through this time, to help you all get through this time safely. There will be a day when we can all more safely get back to regular life… regular work, school, restaurants, movies, etc. We are not there yet.

        • William February 5, 2021 (10:52 am)

          . For parents who have to stay home with children, you should qualify for unemployment benefits help to get through this time, to help you all get through this time safely”

          Not if you’re self employed or run your own small business. Your privilege is showing.

          • Henri le chat February 5, 2021 (2:35 pm)

            Interesting comment and judgement. I also think you might be mistaken, as its my understanding that self employed folks impacted by the pandemic – unable to work as before because they have to stay home with their children, did qualify for PUA benefits. But I could be wrong. Good luck, it’s hard time for all of us.

        • WW February 5, 2021 (3:33 pm)

          We’re still trying to get in touch with unemployment but that’s a separate conversation.  If only I could bill for the time spent on hold …I get that everyone has their own view of how things should be managed.  I’m just not a fan of the folks who go against health expert recommendations to their own benefit and my expense, whether it be maskless folks putting me at risk or others demanding above-and-beyond safety accommodations at my expense.  And don’t get me wrong, I hope teachers can be vaccinated as soon as possible.  But the disregard by some of the CDC back-to-school guidelines puts a very real financial burden on some of us. 

      • Woke Will February 5, 2021 (9:40 am)

        Exactly. Team Apocalypse is invariably, stay at home moms, “resist” bumperstickers, work at home dads, 1.8 kids and high paying jobs. If tomorrow they announced new restrictions on working from home and all high paying people who can Zoom in their jobs were thrown out of work, you’d see a speedy change in their “but follow the science!” line. My work involves working with my hands, going out in the world and working with my fellow humans. I’ve ignored the restrictions, worn a mask, stayed 6 feet away and carried on.

        Anyone tells me different I’ll ask them to pay my mortgage.

    • Malea Williams February 5, 2021 (6:58 am)

      I have a non verbal child with autism who is 6. We have worked for five years with every kind of therapist as part of early intervention. These years for special education are so important. Early intervention has been communicated to us as imparitive in the trajectory of their life long success. Special ed teachers have graduate degrees and skills I do not have. I have done my best to learn how to educate him but I’m not equipped to teach, I’m only equipped to love. Also for my child, nothing is “like riding a bike” we work on forming words, holding spoons, pt, ot, speech, aba therapy EVERY DAY or it goes away. This is just my own very personal story and what these teachers mean to me. According to leadership it is safe to go back, so we will be going back

      • Henri le chat February 5, 2021 (9:34 am)

        Thanks for sharing your personal situation and concerns for your child. I empathize with the unique challenges and needs of autistic children, and can only imagine how challenging it is for parents. I have volunteered with special needs kids and including those with autism, and understand these are very special beings. I hear the developmental concerns, and although I do not have any expertise around this, I would think the disruption in routines, changing environments, and new stresses around in person learning currently might outweigh the benefits of immediately resuming. I also would worry for them potentially being a higher risk kid with covid, because autism could have some auto immune and inflammation related connections to the body. But again, I am not an expert. I really appreciate your sharing your perspective, your concerns and challenges are valid, and I hope the experts are weighing these things we’re discussing, the risks and benefits, in deciding if there is true immediate need for some students to be back in school settings.

    • Tatyana Kochubey February 5, 2021 (1:48 pm)

      Because, they want to vaccinate as much people as possible. It’s very strange how just recently  our governor Inslee was very strictly  about closing down small businesses and restaurants and churches and schools, as right now in a big rush. It’s not about people its about money. Crazy world we live in right now. They will decide what is better for me or my kids.

  • JJ February 4, 2021 (6:40 pm)

    Hmm. I would have thought the medically fragile students would have been a priority for sheltering until vaccinated, and not a priority to return for unvaccinated in-person learning.

    • Henri le chat February 4, 2021 (8:11 pm)

      I also have qualms about this, thanks for speaking up. Some children with special needs may have more challenges with following covid protocols with in person learning, too. Perhaps it makes more sense to send the healthiest and more advantaged students back first as a test group, not those most marginalized and at risk.

  • Juan February 4, 2021 (8:03 pm)

    In regards to this article, you should specify that not all special education students are designated to go back four days a week, according to OSPI.  Access and Resources programs are typically students in gen ed classes and are not set to go back in the first phase.  Check with OSPI/SPS for details. 

    • WSB February 4, 2021 (9:18 pm)

      Apologies, in writing about this I’ve always said on first reference, the special-education students the district specifies, those in “intensive pathways,” but I neglected to do that here. Fixed.

  • ST February 4, 2021 (9:00 pm)

    Everyone has a different situation and we’re lucky our child has a good teacher who is doing her best virtually.  But, I think when you are trying to work a full time job and manage a young child through virtual school for almost a year, the question isn’t  really “what’s the rush?”   The Biden CDC (competent) said it’s safe to return.  The Gov has said it’s safe to return (he’s been very cautious about opening things up as we all know).  Plenty of private schools are at least hybrid.  I would like to see teachers prioritized with vaccines, no doubt.

  • wondering February 4, 2021 (9:48 pm)

    Hmmm, just wondering if those that say we should not get back into school have any school aged children suffering through on line learning?

    • Wsres February 4, 2021 (10:16 pm)

      Yes, I do, and my kids will not be returning to in-person school until teachers are vaccinated. And my kids are getting by. It is not ideal, but my sister teaches hybrid in another district and that does not sound much better and there is risk involved to the staff and families of students. One year of this is something that is doable for our health.

    • Brian February 4, 2021 (11:45 pm)

      Yep I have a first grader and I’m not sending him back until teachers and students are vaccinated.

    • JW February 5, 2021 (4:10 pm)

      Yep.  We do.  First grader here with a younger sibling and both parents working full time.  It’s been REALLY hard.  But, we’re going keeping our kiddo home.  There’s no need for these amazing teachers to head back with the grade levels who (arguably) are spreading the most germs.  We’re so close to the light at the end of this tunnel.  Teachers will (hopefully) soon be vaccinated and there isn’t that much time left in the school year.  Why NOW?  Why not ride out the next couple of months and start fresh in the fall.  These kids are going to go through such turmoil by having their classes shifted and their teachers reassigned.  These teachers worked HARD to develop and maintain relationships with these kids from afar.  And, now that’s going to have to start all over because the district wants to look like they’re doing something.  *eyeroll*

  • Admiral February 4, 2021 (9:48 pm)

    The district said several weeks ago they were going to bring back K-1 on March 1. I have been applying to jobs since the announcement. This morning I had a good interview and told them I am available March 1. Now I have to backtrack and be stuck at home indefinitely. Spending more of the family savings every month. 2 days of school per week doesn’t help anything. Cousins in other states have been back to school as normal since October with no issues. Even doing sports. My economic recovery is being held hostage by the SPS. And I know lots of others in the same boat. We have all made sacrifices and we have come a long way in the past year. Luckily my kids grandparents have already been vaccinated. If SPS doesn’t try they will never succeed. They can’t expect to keep planning for months and get everything 100% perfect. 

    • Lillet February 4, 2021 (10:48 pm)

      I agree, my youngest has been in person full-time at Hope since September and they have stayed open safely. My others are in public school virtually and it is a real challenge. I completely understand that the numbers are very different in private schools and that Public schools have many other constraints. That being said, I wholeheartedly agree with you that other states have been back for months and even with sports, so kids are falling behind! We are doing a disservice to our children and the next generation in so many ways. Education, physical fitness, and mental health are suffering greatly not to mention adult mental health and our economy. In all sincerity, I wonder how many of the general population will refuse to get the vaccine, even when it is widely available. I was reassured to see that the number of positive cases was down more than 100,000 cases compared to a month ago, but I do think Covid may be around indefinitely so we need to figure out how to get all students back to in-person learning. Until then, so many students are falling  through the cracks, not the least of which are the underserved, as well as families, businesses, and the economy that are being ravaged. 

      • 333 February 5, 2021 (6:58 am)

        The risk is that if I get it, my child could have only one parent instead of two. We still don’t definitively know what factors mean one will die. Not a risk I am willing to take. My family is happier alive than dead.

        • Henri le chat February 5, 2021 (9:41 am)

          Very understandable concern. Sadly, some children have become orphans because of covid.

          • Ly February 5, 2021 (10:13 am)

            Le Chat- agree with you, and the other parents who have chosen not to send their kids back. I am also concerned about the health of my partner as he is immune compromised, but unlike many others, we have the ability to WFH and a flex schedule that allows us to keep our jobs and wrangle the kid, for which we are grateful. I wish there was some kind of help that could be extended to families with special needs children or help for the fams who have to choose between putting food on the table and losing a job or having the kid stay home alone. Parents shouldn’t have to make those choices.It is heartbreaking to hear. I feel like our system has failed families in need. Want to help, but not sure where to start.

          • Le chat February 5, 2021 (6:48 pm)

            Thanks, Ly. And well said, agree with you, there are gaps in families getting the help they need, and wish this wasn’t so. Take care and stay well.

    • Sally February 5, 2021 (7:19 am)

      Hi, there are tons of teaching jobs in this area from the Renton School District, Federal Way School District, Kent School District, and many more just google teaching job and there are a variety of companies who employs teachers and pay them with benefits.  Some teachers who work in school districts work for these different companies and this occurred also before Covid-19 happened.  There are also lots of tutoring jobs available for teachers on these websites .

  • Relieved Parent February 4, 2021 (11:03 pm)

    Well- like I said… my kid was flailing in the remote learning… was spending lots of $$$ trying to get him online tutoring etc… he had zero grades to speak of… put him in Catholic school.  “In house” learning and zero issues with Covid.  He has been there for almost 2 months.  Just got his MAP test scores… basically fail, fail, fail… just what I expected… but it is at least “on point”.  If he stayed at his public “remote” learning… I think he would have passed with flying colors!  I am soooop excited for him to be learning and tested appropriately.  Again all desperate parents… think about it.   Cheaper, safer, and worth it!  Public school isn’t opening anytime soon.  Hook your kids up with “in house” safe education and see how your own personal mental health improves!

    • Buddy February 5, 2021 (3:14 pm)

      Just to let you know that the score your child gets on their MAPS test or any other district test or state test will be of zero importance in life when they are an adult. What is most important in life is that you raise a child who turns out to be a kind and caring human being.  No one is going to ask your child what was their score on a district test when they become an adult!  Also you as a parent have the right to say you don’t want your child to take the state test! There are forms on your district website for you to fill out. Many colleges accepted students who have not taken the state tests.   

  • Educator February 5, 2021 (4:07 am)

    As you all can see there are many varying opinions from parents as to who should go back if any and for how long .. on top of SPS having a strong union that is not too keen from what I see to have teachers back without vaccinations. Along with many who are now used to the remote teaching style and not too eager to return in person for varying”reasons”. My opinion is irrelevant as the variance in opinions is so vast. SPS is trying but there are unions involved and according the union SPS needs to negotiate more before making announcement. I hope for a return for these that want it ..we shall see!  

    • Brian February 5, 2021 (8:28 am)

      “SPS is trying but there are unions involved.”  Oh come on. Try to be at least a little genuine in your arguments here. This is just “unions are scary and bad!” said in another way but with zero justification beyond what you’ve been told about unions your entire life (by institutions that absolutely do not want labor to be unified in any way whatsoever).

    • Henri le chat February 5, 2021 (9:47 am)

      My sense is that we are ALL exhausted by the constant changes and adaptations. Teachers and students have had to work so hard to adapt to distance learning, and I imagine many of them would be less stressed to just continue with what they’ve adjusted to for the rest of the school year, while also being safer.

  • Flyinbird February 5, 2021 (6:50 am)

    I talked to my high school daughter last night when I read this and she said she would not feel comfortable about going back to the school to learn until this is all over with.

    • Henri le chat February 5, 2021 (9:52 am)

      How awesome to ask your kid and respect how they feel about things. Sadly this is lacking in our society. Sounds like you have a smart daughter. I hope she and other kids do not have to return before they are more comfortable, if they can continue with distance learning.

      • Flyinbird February 5, 2021 (2:53 pm)

        Thank you.

        • Le chat February 5, 2021 (6:40 pm)

          welcome :)

  • TJ February 5, 2021 (8:09 am)

    “All over with” is a subjective term since people have varying views on what that is. Getting the vaccine to the 60% of people who say they will get it should be the end, but this has been going on so long I think some people will be in a wait and see what could happen next frame of mind. Teachers should be a priority for the vaccine now, and then the schools opened up fully after. 

  • Lincoln Park Mom February 5, 2021 (8:38 am)

    It’s quite simple.  Bring kids back before teachers are vaccinated and teachers get infected by kids who may be Asymptomatic.  Teacher sick means no teacher.  Remote or otherwise.  Save the teachers!

  • Smittytheclown February 5, 2021 (9:49 am)

    It boggles my mind that when the “data and science” say it’s ok to go back (many studies, including CDC) with proper protocols people ignore it.  Should we call these people science deniers now? 

    • Brian February 5, 2021 (10:25 am)

      The big study that everyone (including the CDC) is bandying about regarding schools being safe to open ALSO assumes that in-person dining, gyms, and other public places remains closed but guess what is going to happen soon?

    • Math teacher February 5, 2021 (11:58 am)

      Ah, but that whole “with proper protocols” thing can be tough to implement.  When you read further, it’s like, sure,  its ok to go back, as long as you have a certain kind of ventilation system, no crowding in hallways or bathrooms, no access to unventilated supply rooms, no shared use of the office printer.

      Proper protocol might mean that students enter the building and classrooms one-at-a-time, 6-feet apart; no parents enter the building when dropping off kids; and there’s a staffed nursing area.  And so much more. 

      All of that is difficult, and it is the union’s job to make sure that district plans and staffing account for covering the “proper protocols” not just in the classroom, but on the school bus, in the restroom, in the office, before and after school, while the teachers have their own restroom breaks. 

      • Smittytheclown February 5, 2021 (1:57 pm)

        How are private/catholic schools doing it?  They are not coming down with covid.  

    • Henri le chat February 5, 2021 (2:57 pm)

      Please consider, there may be a difference between the science and data of more basic questions like ‘how does this virus spread’ and ‘how might we mitigate it’ and that of a more complex question such as ‘how safe is it and what are all the implications of reopening schools at this time during pandemic.’  We also have had a lot more time to understand the more basic questions. We do know some teachers have already died as a result of schools reopening, and they would be safer working from home. There are also multiple new covid variants that appear to be more contagious and serious, and I’m concerned that could impact things significantly.

  • Will S. February 5, 2021 (12:19 pm)

    For all I know, Henri le Chat is literally a cat named Henry who has declared himself well-“adapted” to Covid times. Good for you, Henri. Some of us, however, cannot go on like this.I don’t have the time to explain how terrible Henri’s personal advice is, but I can declare that Carolyn Hax and Dan Savage have nothing to fear from his competition. For the record, a person who quits working in order to stay home and care for children is generally not eligible for unemployment benefits in the State of Washington. (As of today, unemployment benefits are only as generous as Mitch McConnell can stand them.) Swallow your own pride, and see if that covers the cost of your family’s housing in Seattle.Even then, who is going to teach my kid to read, Henri? Teaching is a profession, and the overwhelming majority of parents lack the professional training (or whatever equivalent experience) necessary to effectively teach the academic skills appropriate for their children’s current stage of development. Personally, I think it’s insulting to teachers when people like Henri suggest that any adult can do it. I am humble enough to admit that I am not equipped to teach my 7-year-old to read, despite daily reading to him and all the positive encouragement I can muster. And I can tell you that, despite the effort that Seattle Public Schools has put into it, remote instruction is completely failing my kid and many (perhaps most) of his classmates.Seattle Public Schools proposed a modest plan to resume in-person school only for the kids who need it most. I wish they had done so earlier, like many neighboring school districts have. But the teachers union said no, and honestly I don’t blame them. It seems clear at this point that SPS failed to identify and address the safety concerns that teachers rightly have, and it’s not like there’s a well of trust between labor and management that SPS can now draw on.This is a challenging problem that demands creative, forward-thinking management and the strong backing of a governing board that gets it. And so SPS stands no chance.

    • SPS is as on track as other districts February 5, 2021 (3:02 pm)

      “Seattle Public Schools proposed a modest plan to resume in-person school only for the kids who need it most. I wish they had done so earlier, like many neighboring school districts have. ”  For the record, Seattle School District’s plan are about the same as the neighboring school districts: Shoreline, North Shore, Lake Washington, Bellevue, Renton, Highline, Tukwila.  None have any students back in school until after February 18 and most after March 1.  All are starting with most intensive special education needs and K or K-1 students.  Please check the districts’ web sites for additional information on their phases and dates.

    • Henri le chat February 5, 2021 (3:20 pm)

      Not ‘well adapted to the pandemic,’ but, I am determined to try best I can to make it through this, and I’m willing to make changes and sacrifices, to reach out for help, and to have more patience, if it means myself and others (including teachers!) will have a better chance to survive this year. And regarding your statement on unemployment benefits, I wasn’t speaking in terms of standard unemployment benefits, but specially PUA. It is my understanding that there were allowances for this, due to the impacts of the pandemic and school closures, etc.

      • le chat February 5, 2021 (4:26 pm)

        *specifically (not specially)

  • Pessoa February 5, 2021 (12:32 pm)

    Per the American Academy of Pediatrics,  as of last November 2020,  some 1,000,000 children had been infected with Covid-19 and 133 deaths had been reported.   Pause for a moment and absorb those numbers.    We are talking about a mortality rate of an infinitesimal  .00013, or thereabouts.   Do we grieve tremendously for those anguished parents?  You better believe it, but as rational adults  we can ALSO acknowledge the extremely low likelihood of a child developing serious complications, and the even more improbable likelihood of dying from Covid-19.   I fear we are losing perspective and being overwhelmed by irrationality and fear.  

  • ACW February 5, 2021 (2:01 pm)

    Glad to see the school district continues to pit the teachers/staff against families to make them the scapegoats of their incompetence. Also if we fully funded and prioritized education we could have the proper protocols in place.

  • Joe Schultz February 5, 2021 (4:03 pm)

    I am one of the SPS teachers who may very well be going back in March. I say may because I found out yesterday through another staff member that the district changed their plans. This was confirmed watching this video. I have yet to hear from admin or the special ed department about any of this. There is no information about what the actual protocols will be at the high school level nor the expectations for instruction. Are we teaching the classes that we currently have (which are populated by both eligible and ineligible sped students) or are we monitoring our students while they take their online classes?  My caseload students take a combination of gen ed and sped classes and their gen ed teachers won’t be back. Are we delivering SDI on top of their classes? How do we address non-compliance with safety protocols? The district has promised safety trainings but no word on anything, nor has there been any mention of what safety equipment we will be issued, when it will be fitted, etc. My classroom has two windows that don’t allow for great air circulation. Will I be in that room or in the main building? Is my IA coming back too? What about my colleagues? Are all of the sped teachers coming back to teach less than half our caseload? All of this is going to be managed by the same district that struggles to keep a webpage up for more than 2 days a week and can’t seem to keep the faculty bathroom stocked with tp. I want to go back to school and I miss my students dearly. But I don’t trust the district to make a coherent plan that keeps the community, the students, and the staff safe. The video above does nothing to bely my concerns and, frankly, amplifies them. 

    • LER February 5, 2021 (9:16 pm)

      You are exactly correct.  The district has provided no guidance.  The district wants you to reuse your PPE as well.  The district didn’t even notify the union they were delaying opening March 1. The union found out watching King 5.The union is working hard trying to work with the district and they don’t appear to be acting in good faith, nor do they really have a comprehensive plan on safely opening where students and educators will be in a safe environment.  The district is hoping to make the union look like the bad guys in the parents eyes when the union wants just as badly to get back to the classroom…. Safely. Everything you brought up is valid concerns, from classroom and air circulation to IA’s. How are interlopers handled? If a child is sick and possibly covid, who’s monitoring what? What about the school nurses? Not many and over stretched.

Sorry, comment time is over.