On December 17, the SPS School Board directed staff to begin implementing plans for a phased increase of in-person instruction for students enrolled in Special Education Intensive Service Pathways beginning second semester and no later than March 1 and for preschool, kindergarten, and first-grade students on March 1.
Central office staff have been preparing for many months. Health and safety protocols have been implemented, Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) is in place, and the district has prepared for student transportation and meals.
An increase of in-person instruction also requires we negotiate new working conditions with Seattle Education Association. Unfortunately, we don’t yet have an agreement with SEA. To begin phasing in students on March 1, we needed an agreement by Monday, February 22. Without an agreement, the in-person return date has been delayed until at least March 8.
Staff continue to prioritize the phased return of students in Special Education Intensive Service Pathways first, followed by students in PreK-1 grade.
A special Board Meeting will be held on February 25 from 4-5:30 p.m. to discuss next steps and take action on the OSPI required Washington School’s 2020-21 Reopening Progress Report Template. Families and staff are encouraged to watch or listen to the board work session. (See the agenda here.) The meeting will be broadcast on television or can be viewed on the SPS TV YouTube channel. To listen by phone, dial 206-800-4125 and use Conference ID 931 417 102#.
District staff are committed to continuing negotiations in good faith. SPS has requested mediation support from the Public Employment Relations Commission to help facilitate a timely resolution. PERC is impartial and will help the district and the union explore solutions that lead to a mutual agreement. At this time, Seattle Education Association has declined mediation services.
You can review the most current bargaining update, the district’s proposal to SEA, including a racial equity analysis, on the Bargaining webpage.
The union’s updates, meantime, are here. More recent than those posts is this video update from bargaining-team members. (added) SEA also has just responded to the SPS statement with a Twitter thread, saying in part, “The District’s inability to implement needed health and safety protocols is delaying return to in-person learning.”