CORONAVIRUS: 1,489 new cases in weekly Seattle Public Schools update; district responds to teachers’ safety requests

We were going to hold off on our entire weekly local pandemic roundup until tomorrow because of the holiday. Then we discovered that despite the holiday, Seattle Public Schools has posted its weekly dashboard update. (King County Public Health won’t have new numbers until tomorrow, so that’s when we’ll update the other local stats.) Districtwide, the cumulative SPS case total for this school year is now 3,590, 1,489 more than a week earlier. Here’s the local school-by-school breakout (as always, these totals also are cumulative):

Chief Sealth International High School – 77, up 44
Madison Middle School – 51, up 30
West Seattle High School – 44, up 5
West Seattle Elementary – 43, up 29
Arbor Heights Elementary – 40, up 18
Denny International Middle School – 40, up 8
Sanislo Elementary – 36, up 19
Louisa Boren STEM K-8 – 32, up 9
Pathfinder K-8 – 31, up 14
Genesee Hill Elementary – 31, up 14
Concord International (Elementary) – 28, up 13
Roxhill Elementary – 28, up 13
Fairmount Park Elementary – 27, up 9
Gatewood Elementary – 25, up 6
Alki Elementary – 23, up 4
Lafayette Elementary – 20, up 9
Highland Park Elementary – 15, up 1
BRIDGES @ Roxhill – 2, up 1

No schools in West Seattle have gone fully remote, though some classes have – the district doesn’t publicly announce changes for part of a school’s population, but we were forwarded a letter indicating that some classes at Pathfinder K-8 are all-remote right now until next Monday at the earliest.

Also tonight, the district has just published on its website what it titles “Response to SEA” (the educators’ union Seattle Education Association), in response to a new list of union requests. Those requests are similar to what we published last Thursday night after the Friday sickout closure of Chief Sealth International High School was announced. The requests include providing high-quality masks to all students and staff; the district says it will start distributing those to staff tomorrow, and that they’re on order for students. But otherwise, the two sides remain apart.

33 Replies to "CORONAVIRUS: 1,489 new cases in weekly Seattle Public Schools update; district responds to teachers' safety requests"

  • Andros January 18, 2022 (4:31 am)

    T his seems to indicate that we he numbers doubled in one week. Does SPS have any sort of contingency for this?  Seems like a disaster of epic proportions. 

  • Sasquatch January 18, 2022 (6:42 am)

    Those numbers represent reported cases and are likely lower than they should be. Also, just before the weekend The district told teachers we have to do contact tracing. Their contact tracing team is overwhelmed. 

  • Bandana January 18, 2022 (7:10 am)

    The jump in positive cases is troubling. Chief Sealth had 44 new cases. I can understand why the students walked out last week.

  • S. January 18, 2022 (8:36 am)

    It would be nice to see the map weighted by number of students instead of just number of infected. I’d really like to see higher rates of infection be darker on the map instead of just a larger number.

  • K January 18, 2022 (8:56 am)

    As a parent of one of these covid-positive students, I can assure you that it really wasn’t that bad.  Before people get the pitchforks out at me….I’m all for masking, vaccinating, taking precautions where we can, etc…..but PLEASE keep the schools open if at all possible.  My child was mildly sick for 2 days and it was over.  It was easier than 95% of the colds he’s had.  In the context of omicron and a mostly vaccinated population, this is something we can handle.  Of course if someone has extenuating circumstances, I am sensitive to that.  

    • Mel January 18, 2022 (12:19 pm)

      Exactly! As a mom who’s also pro mask/vaccines, people need to wake up. Omicron (generally speaking) is very mild. It was for my family. Fauci himself said most people should plan on getting it. Why is everyone panicked? Follow the science people!

      • Ly January 18, 2022 (5:17 pm)

        Because not everyone is like your child and not everyone has the same conditions like your family does. Just because you don’t see it or live it, please don’t assume everyone else will get it mildly.

        • K January 18, 2022 (6:52 pm)

          I understand that there will be a range of symptom severity, but what I’m asking is….hypothetically, if everyone is vaccinated (rates are in the 90+ % for west Seattle), and everyone is masking…what more do you want people to do?  Do you really want everything to shut down and everyone to stay in their homes?  All I’m saying is that as a society, you do your best….and in the context of schools and omicron (which is what this article is about), we as a society can handle this. There will be disruptions, and that’s expected and ok. There will ALWAYS be risks.  Sadly, we risk our kids getting shot at school, but we still send them to school.  We risk getting into a car or bus accident on the way to school, but we still send them.  Education and human interaction is SO important.  I just want the schools to stay open if at all possible.  

          • Ly January 18, 2022 (9:18 pm)

            My response wasn’t meant for you. It was for Mel who asked why people seemed a bit panicked and told people to follow the science. I’m not advocating for the schools to close. Nowhere in my statement did I mention that.

      • Mojo January 18, 2022 (5:18 pm)

        Increased cases (ie number of +tests) does not mean a lot of sick people, it means a lot of positive tests, many in likely asymptomatic people. Lots of other essential workers continue to work, but likely are just not doing as much testing. Why are teachers different? 

    • Also k January 18, 2022 (4:14 pm)

      It’s not about what happens to your child if/when they get it, it’s about who they spread it to and what happens to THOSE people.  Teachers are not all young and will not all experience mild COVID.  Some people will still get long COVID, even with Omicron, even after vaccination.  There’s emerging evidence that a COVID infection in young people puts them at significant risk of developing diabetes afterward.  The list goes on.  Please be sensitive to the extenuating circumstances of people NOW, when there’s a chance to stop spreading the disease around to them.

      • K January 18, 2022 (5:35 pm)

        Short of everyone staying inside their houses forever and never going out into public, we can’t do any more than we already are…so what do you suggest?  My zip code in west Seattle is something like 94% vaccinated.  People mask even when outside.  What else should we do to protect those who are vulnerable?  Living comes with risks to everyone.  We can not hide forever.  What kind of life would that be?

        • Parent January 18, 2022 (8:19 pm)

          I’m happy to hear your child was ok.

          Perhaps you don’t see any acceptable solutions between unprecedented spread and “everyone staying inside their houses forever and never going out into public,” but there are many of us who have avoided the disease so far and for whom it carries a great risk.  Please consider our wellbeing as we present ideas not to inconvenience you but to keep ourselves and others safe. 

          • K January 19, 2022 (1:15 pm)

            I absolutely see an acceptable solution between those two options- I am all for vaccinations and masks when/where it is logical.   I have considered everyone’s wellbeing from the get-go.  I am a research technician that never stopped going into work.  I have been handling covid samples since long before a vaccine was available, because I wanted to do my part.  My point is that there comes a point where we’ve done all we can, and STILL the virus will prevail.  That’s what viruses do.  We need to carry on living the best we can.   We can get our vaccines every 6-12 months, continue to learn how best to treat people who need it, and carry on living.  

    • Tim January 18, 2022 (4:31 pm)

      I am glad your child has a mild case. As a teacher, I have seen some positives are asymptomatic, but a few are really rotten, much worse than a cold. As to your other point, yes, it sure seems like the spread is at schools. Kiss close to each other are getting sick within a day of each other.

    • T January 19, 2022 (7:10 pm)

      That’s great and all that your family fared so well with COVID.  Today, I was in a fender-bender without a seatbelt, and was just fine.  How about you guys stop wearing seatbelts as well…All joking aside, not everyone’s circumstances (or health) are as great as your family.  Some of these students are part of families with vulnerable members or with younger siblings who cannot yet be vaccinated? How about thinking of us, and the older teachers who are more vulnerable for severe breakthrough cases. As inconvenienced as it may be to you and many families (including my own), schools need to go remote to help slow down the spread in the community.

      • Smoosh January 19, 2022 (8:53 pm)

        Hospitalizations for children remains less than 1 per 100,000 (lower than for car accidents). Either keep the schools open or ban driving. 

        • Math Teacher January 20, 2022 (1:41 pm)

          @Smoosh – You may be comparing DAILY covid rates to ANNUAL  traffic rates.   Covid hospitalizations among children are low, but not as low as you are saying . New covid hospitalizations for children are currently 2.3 EACH DAY per 100,000 children.  If that rate continued for 100 days (unlikely), it would mean one of every 500 US children required hospitalization.  

  • Math Teacher January 18, 2022 (9:19 am)

    At my school, we have had quite a few “medically excused” students who have stayed home several days with yucky covid-like symptoms, but never getting tested, and thus never being added to the official count. I wouldn’t get a sick child out of bed just to get tested.

  • Concerned January 18, 2022 (9:40 am)

    I would like to see/know the number of cases per classroom. Is there evidence of spread within the classes.  Maybe community  members want to share this info. If so we should be aware of this. 

    • K January 18, 2022 (12:33 pm)

      At my child’s elementary school, there has been no evidence of spread within the school.  Not a single close-contact of a child has become positive themselves, and there has been no more than 2 cases in a classroom- again, those haven’t been deemed close contacts of each other. 

      • Ly January 18, 2022 (9:23 pm)

        And at Alki Elementary I know of at least one child who tested positive because her classmate was covid positive. Just because there is no data supporting that locally within your school does not mean it is not spreading within the classrooms. I’m pretty sure SPS won’t close though, as they never did seem to have a contingency plan for numbers of infections like these. So you don’t have to worry I don’t think.

  • Thomas January 18, 2022 (10:31 am)

    These increases seem to be tracking the increases in other populations and other locations. Doubling in a single week is the omicron growth pattern most everywhere, exactly as expected based on what we saw in the UK or other countries that noticed it first. It doesn’t seem like West Seattle is actually unusual at all. 

  • Alki mom January 18, 2022 (2:00 pm)

    I would like my child’s school is remain open in-person. The jump in cases was likely  due to community spread. King County dashboard, I see a huge spike the last couple of weeks but cases appear to be going down a bit. N95, KN95 and KF94 masks are available for purchase online.  We upgraded our face masks from cloth masks/surgical masks to KF94. It is possible that wearing a good mask has helped to prevent us from getting Covid/cold the last couple of years.

  • Mj January 18, 2022 (3:55 pm)

    Covid and remote learning has resulted in a marked decline in student Test Scores, reference Seattle Times 01.18.2022.  Keeping school’s open is critical!

    • WS Res January 18, 2022 (7:38 pm)

      People’s lives matter more than test scores.

      • Smoosh January 19, 2022 (8:56 pm)

        Yes so it’s wonderful everyone has access to a free and effective vaccine that basically takes death and severe illness completely out of the equation. The only folks who are dying from this are those who have refused vaccination and that is on them at this point. 

  • Math Teacher January 18, 2022 (6:38 pm)

    Keeping schools open requires that you have teachers, administrators, and other staff not be out sick. Even if most Omicron is “mild”, asking teachers to teach through it would be ridiculous. If you’re sick, you stay home.  If the principal is sick, she stays home. If too many staff are out sick, you can’t have school. 

    • smh January 18, 2022 (9:26 pm)

      It seems like all these parents who cannot bear the thought of a school going remote a couple of weeks because they don’t want to handle their kids at home with them but insist teachers push on while being ill. Poor teachers already stretched so thin. Gawd. I feel bad for the teachers.

      • Mel January 19, 2022 (3:43 pm)

        What an unsympathetic comment. Many of us parents who want our kids in school ARE front line workers who can’t just miss work because our kids are home. You wouldn’t have police, health care, fire, grocery store workers, etc. There are many of us who don’t have the luxury to stay home. Why do people not seem to get that?

      • Smoosh January 19, 2022 (8:57 pm)

        Weird how you feel bad for overstretched teachers but imply parents are at home on easy street until their kids show up to ruin the party.

        We parents have seen what the closures did to our kids while others partied on. Kids need each other. They need as much instruction as possible.

  • NL January 18, 2022 (7:31 pm)

    I work at a West Seattle school, and can tell you that our positive numbers are much higher than what is reported in the dashboard. Systems for counting cases and contact tracing have collapsed at the district level. There almost certainly is spread happening within classrooms, but we will likely never know for sure because community spread is also very high.  

  • D January 18, 2022 (9:06 pm)

    West seattle students ages 5 to 12 are not 90% vaccinated. Its more like 25%. My childs class is now being taught by a childcare provider. Spread is happening between classes. They share bathrooms. They eat lunch together. They are not distanced 3 feet in the classrooms. They are not tested regularly. The tests are only 75% accurate. Half of the kids at city p!aygrounds dont wear masks. People are wearing masks under their noses inside convenience stores or not at all in admiral and alki. Kids should be remote until mid-february.

Sorry, comment time is over.