CORONAVIRUS: Chief Sealth International High School closed Friday due to ‘sickout’ over safety concerns

Every day this week, Seattle Public Schools has closed at least one school somewhere in the district because of a staffing shortage. So far, none have been in West Seattle. That’s changing for tomorrow (Friday, January 14th), when Chief Sealth International High School will be closed – no remote learning, just a full closure. Before the announcement – which attributes the closure to a “surge in staff sick-leave requests” – we received a letter that teachers say they sent the administration earlier in the day about what the teacher who forwarded it referred to as a planned “sickout”:

RE: COVID Conditions Collective Action

At a membership meeting on Wednesday, January 12, 2022, educators met to discuss safety concerns regarding the spread of COVID-19/Omicron in our school and community.

As a result of the meeting, members agreed the following conditions are necessary to maintain a safe, in-person learning environment:

1. N95 or KN95 masks required and made available for all staff and students
2. Mandatory weekly, on-site testing for staff and students
3. Resolve staffing shortages so staff are not asked to cover unfilled positions during their planning periods
4. District-wide mental health resources, or the funding thereof, will be made available for students, staff, and the community

If the resources are not available for these conditions to be met, we propose a shift to remote learning until those conditions can be established or until the current surge is resolved.

Chief Sealth teachers say the plan received 75 percent approval at their meeting. We had asked the district for comment on the demands, but haven’t received a reply as of this evening. We also checked with the Seattle Education Association, which says it hasn’t been organizing a district-wide action – these are school-by-school actions. SEA says it is still talking with the district about further COVID-19 safety measures; spokesperson Julie Popper tells WSB, “SEA is in ongoing discussions with SPS about safety in the buildings, both for COVID safety and for staffing safety.”

ADDED 11:40 PM: One of the Sealth teachers we’ve heard from elaborates, “We sympathize with the challenges that this presents families and students but this was the only way that we, as a staff, felt that the district would listen to our concerns regarding safety. We did not take this action lightly but felt we had little recourse.” So far as of late tonight, this is the only closure announced in our area; elsewhere in the district, outside West Seattle/South Park, SPS has announced one other closure (Cleveland HS) and four schools going all-remote (Broadview-Thomson K-8, Olympic Hills Elementary, Mercer International MS, Meany MS) as of Friday.

77 Replies to "CORONAVIRUS: Chief Sealth International High School closed Friday due to 'sickout' over safety concerns"

  • Smoosh January 13, 2022 (8:28 pm)

    A demand to resolve staffing shortages in a sickout action, checks out.As a nurse I think my job is to nurse.  As for teachers it’s not clear what they think their job is.

    • Anne January 13, 2022 (9:23 pm)

      What a demeaning statement-they think their job is to teach our children -in as safe an environment as possible. I don’t think SPS  is ensuring that. 

      • m January 13, 2022 (10:50 pm)

        So if your hospital is operating in an unsafe manner, you just carry on working and say nothing? Yikes.

        • J January 13, 2022 (11:25 pm)

          Hospitals are inherently unsafe environments in this current context. That’s why healthcare workers are heroes. This has been the distinguishing factor between these two realms since the beginning of the pandemic. (Pro-union person speaking here, in general.) 

          • M January 14, 2022 (8:37 am)

            J – So if your hospital’s Covid ward has everyone walking around with no masks, you just keep working and say nothing? Because hospitals are “inherently unsafe”? Or do you speak up and ask that masks be provided?

        • Smoosh January 14, 2022 (9:22 am)

          So if the hospital is not existing in a state of utopia then all the nurses just stay home……… of course not, that’s why people trust us.  Did you know that hospitals are dangerous, especially for nurses even prepandemic?  We use our labor power but we also don’t forget that we serve an actual role in society outside of representing the interests of our bargaining unit.  Teachers should try that on for size, they of course don’t have to because they are different than nurses and rather than use the fact that society relies on their service to function properly they literally use that to their advantage and use their leverage as a gun to the heads of society.  Guess what, things can always be better everywhere and the only way that happens is if stakeholders find a way to make that happen without screwing everyone else over along the way.

    • Teacher January 13, 2022 (9:58 pm)

      Actually no. Nurses have also taken similar measures, including strikes, to protest unsafe  or unfair working conditions.

      • Smoosh January 14, 2022 (8:42 am)

        You would be shocked as to what my profession has endured out of a sense of duty to the community.  If nurses had the same amount of commitment to the greater good as teachers there would be a whole lot more dead people from this than there already is. We make our demands while still showing up to work,  if you think schools are dangerous but hospitals aren’t well have I got a story for you……

        • M January 14, 2022 (12:13 pm)

          Smoosh – This isn’t a pissing contest to see who is more heroic. Congrats on being a hero but this story is about teachers trying to find leverage to force SPS to provide better masks. If they succeed, they will probably make your nurse job a little easier. I’m grateful to the teachers for looking out for the health of our students.

    • Curtis January 14, 2022 (9:52 am)

      Thank you Smoosh.  Agreed, what kind of world would we have if Doctors and Nurses just walked off the job.  That is what the Seattle Education Association is orchestrating here.  A power play using our kids as pawns to be sacrificed.

    • Sea January 14, 2022 (9:46 pm)

      A big difference is that nurses at least those in the ICU space have received incredible bonus pay throughout the pandemic. And hospitals have the option to hire travel nurses to supplement their staff. School districts aren’t given those same resources or support for ppe. Travel nurses are making something like $5,000 a week. What’s a sub make? 

  • Chief Sealth Parent January 13, 2022 (8:46 pm)

    Frustrating!   As a healthcare worker, if my patients show up, I have to show up.  I don’t have the option of deciding when/when I don’t go to work, still getting paid if I don’t show up.   I feel for everyone that is having to work in a public service job during this pandemic but I also feel for the students who are showing up to school everyday but have teachers deciding to interrupt their education.  

    • Anne January 13, 2022 (9:20 pm)

      You don’t think teachers health is important?  The way SPS has handled the surge in Omicron that happened during the holidays is ridiculous- their only one day testing -insufficient. They should have delayed the start of school for one week-during which could have offered testing every day to allow for more to get tested. The people that teach our children -may be vulnerable-have families ,many  who  are vulnerable -they deserve to work in as safe an environment as possible. 

    • Elementary Teacher January 13, 2022 (9:23 pm)

      You may be unaware that not all kids are showing up for school. There are hundreds of children across the district who cannot go to school due to covid protocol including having covid,  being a close contact with somebody who has covid, quarantine mandates, concern for family members who cannot get vaccinated, lack of access to covid testing. The majority of these students that are out are students of color. Are you comfortable with the fact that hundreds of students are sitting at home without access to education when everybody could be learning remotely for the time being? Furthermore there is not one kn95 mask to be found in my school. Would it be fair to ask all nurses to go to work and perform all medical care if all of the doctors were out sick? For the record, teachers do not get paid when the school district cancels school.

    • KP January 13, 2022 (9:50 pm)

      Confusion on what’s wrong with people caring about their health? As a healthcare worker, I’m sure you have more PPE than these teachers do, so yes of course you don’t have a problem going into work. That’s not the case for teachers. And let’s not pretend how expensive PPE can cost, which I’m sure your job provides. 

    • AMD January 14, 2022 (7:59 am)

      As a health care worker, you may not have the option to do your job remotely.  Techers do.  Asking them to give up rest periods, cover the work of others, and expose themselves to additional health risks without proper PPE when there is a way forward that allows them to do their jobs without ANY of these issues speaks to the complete disregard the district has for their workers.  

  • Keme January 13, 2022 (9:13 pm)

    Proud of teachers for demanding the district make good on its promises!

  • COVID January 13, 2022 (9:17 pm)

    Teachers aren’t getting paid to NOT go to work. They just want to teach remotely for a couple weeks while their staff and students recover and the worst of omicron passes. Schools are not safe right now – can you get 1000 14-18 year-olds to ALL wear proper masks appropriately at all times?  

    • Smoosh January 14, 2022 (8:49 am)

      The last time you guys pushed for a two week shut down you forced it to last almost 2 years.  No one trusts you.Also saying it’s unsafe in the schools is disingenuous.  The vaccines are safe and available and prevent severe illness and death.  If we have to shut down schools for the people who chose not to get vaccinated then we might as well just give up and begin the Battle Royale. 

  • CSIHS mom January 13, 2022 (9:22 pm)

    Adjusted for student population, Sealth has fewer cases than a lot of schools, including WSHS. I have supported every teacher strike/walkout/etc over the past 20 years, but I simply can’t support this one.

  • KP January 13, 2022 (9:44 pm)

    Glad they took matters into their own hands! It’s scary to teach in-person. Especially when not everyone wants to vaccinate their kids. Hope they get what they’re wanting! 

  • Mariem January 13, 2022 (9:47 pm)

    All seem reasonable except item 3. I can imagine that’s going to take a long time to resolve so if that is demanded in order to come to the classroom looks like their won’t be school for a long time. 

  • Joe Schultz Sealth teacher January 13, 2022 (9:49 pm)

    We had over 500 students out yesterday, so is it fair for students that can’t show up to not get an education? The district hasn’t provided the materials or frankly, the leadership, for us to educate safely. This surge was predictable after Thanksgiving, given what was happening in S. Africa but SPS failed to prepare. A lack of imagination. Also, the district knew by 2pm that there were too many absences to cover but waited until 8pm to announce it. 

    • John Smith January 13, 2022 (10:06 pm)

      Joe Schultz, you mentioned S. Africa. Did you know that their experience is  that the Omicron variant is similar (in serious illnesses or deaths) to the flu? Yes, the Omicron variant is much more infectious, but the important things are illness or death, not the number of infections.

      • John Smith January 13, 2022 (10:48 pm)

        I should have written that “the Omicron variant is much more infectious than the Delta variant.”

      • Teacher January 13, 2022 (10:51 pm)

        Teachers can’t teach if they have the flu either so your point doesn’t really make sense.

        • John Smith January 14, 2022 (12:13 am)

          Teacher wrote: “Teachers can’t teach if they have the flu either so your point doesn’t really make sense.” We don’t panic about the normal/annual effects of the flu, though.

      • Joe Schultz Sealth teacher January 13, 2022 (10:56 pm)

        Thanks for the heads up. Do you have any sources? 

        • John Smith January 14, 2022 (12:06 am)

          Joe Schultz, just do an Internet search: maybe (without the quotation marks) “south africa omicron like flu”

          • Chief Sealth Parent January 14, 2022 (9:29 am)

            John Smith, even if the South Africa Omicron is like the flu and not as bad as Delta people are still suffering from Long Covid. Should teachers risk that? Also, many teachers have young families who cannot be vaccinated. I guess you think it is okay to just go ahead and bring the virus home to their families? 

      • Walter January 14, 2022 (5:38 am)

        The demographics of South Africa are quite different from the US. Their nation is much younger overall and has substantially fewer people over age 65. You’re comparing apples and oranges. 

      • Solo Lobo January 14, 2022 (7:06 am)

        In King County, Covid hospitalizations and deaths are up 100% (last 14 days over the prior 14 days). See KC Covid Dashboard. So Omicron may be like the flu for a lot of people, but not for everyone. 

    • Wes R January 15, 2022 (5:03 pm)

      As a former student of CSIHS And Joe schultz. I find it very incompetent that SPS Decided to not keep Remote learning an option in the second year. Sps should have been able to prepare over the 2020 summer to have the materials necessary for teacher keep remote learning going forward it seems likes sps is using its buget in the wrong places stay safe all you hard  working teachers out their.

      • Smoosh January 19, 2022 (9:16 pm)

        You may need to familiarize yourself with what the state allows the districts to do before you yell at people for not doing things they aren’t allowed to do (and for good reason!). 

  • Brian January 13, 2022 (10:10 pm)

    Hell yes. Collective action gets the goods. Solidarity forever baby. 

  • Mike January 13, 2022 (10:37 pm)

    I think SPD, SFD, King County Sheriff AND all staff at Harborview should have a “sick out”.  I’m sure everyone will understand.

  • Shufflerunner January 13, 2022 (10:40 pm)

    Number 3 is a big one. There was another school this week that due to Covid did not have enough staff to keep kids physically safe. Special education kids, who have the same right to an education as everyone else, were put in unsafe conditions because too many tier 2 and 3 staff were sick. The district shrugged it off because there were still enough classroom teachers to not meet their arbitrary criteria for going remote. When staff tells you conditions are unsafe just listen to them, especially if you’re not going to show up and see for yourself. This is a political play by the superintendent. He said in person and is trying to stick to it. 

  • Michael Hock January 13, 2022 (10:50 pm)

    Whole lotta people in here who think teachers should offer their lives to the altar of capital so they don’t have to deal with their kids in the house…

    • J January 13, 2022 (11:40 pm)

      Have you unexpectedly had to be absent from work multiple weeks in a row, without vacation time to use? Do you have a job that doesn’t give you any vacation time? Do you have kids? Do you care for anyone but yourself, daily? Do you understand that cutting loose the youth of the nation without the safety net of the government or any other support could literally cause societal collapse? Those up in arms about schools being open are right—they are not daycare. They are actually far more crucial to our society functioning for that reason and many others. If I didn’t have kids to take care of now, I’d proudly be a scab in this scenario. Someone needs to step up and be a hero, like nurses and everyone else at risk who does the job in a time of crisis without blinking. 

      • Tim January 14, 2022 (6:28 am)

        J-  Teachers also have children to care for, and no vacation time. If some schools are home and some not, they have the same child care issues. Nobody wants this virus or the rippling effects. Sealth staff have pointed out huge numbers of students who were already at home but not receiving an education. If the district can make schools safer so more students can get an equitable education, then they should, or they should go remote.Pathfinder now has one grade at home for five days, sure to high absenteeism, retired quarantines and spiking positive cases. Even with masks, in school testing, lots of students getting boosted, and distancing it appears to be spreading. Hopefully five days of learning at home will pause the spread enough. And the students who were already staying home will now get a fair shake.

      • Get real January 14, 2022 (6:38 am)

        We’ve been in a pandemic for 2 years. Absences are not unexpected. My answer to all of your questions is yes and I still support the teachers in SPS. 

      • Rick January 14, 2022 (9:00 am)

        What’s “vacation time”? (Self employed)

    • This is dumb January 13, 2022 (11:46 pm)

      “The altar of capital?” I think you must mean other workers—retail, grocery, restaurants, facilities, construction etc. People want kids in schools for a whole range of reasons—so they can work, yes— and last I checked most of us (the other 99%) are working so we can survive not so we can amass a pile of capital—we are not the owners of the means of production. So kids can learn. Yes, remote learning doesn’t work and our youth are already behind their peers when it comes to literacy, math and even social skills! Your response is to dismiss these very real societal needs with hyperbole about the perceived threat of a milder version of an illness teachers and kids in kindergarten and up are (or can be) vaccinated against.  

      • Brian January 14, 2022 (1:12 am)

        If you try just a little bit, you can imagine better things. Give it a shot. 

    • Mel January 14, 2022 (5:13 am)

      Lame comment. What about parents who are first responders? Sure in this instance it’s a high school but if elementary schools close, my spouse and I cannot go to work. And therefore there’s one less (in my household-I know plenty of households with two parents on the front lines) first responder out there to deal with everything covid related, among other issues. My spouse has plenty of complaints about their job and they’ve been on the front lines this entire pandemic. But if they don’t show up, who will? People around here seem to back the teachers regardless but why does it feel like they get more sympathy than anyone else? What about our grocery store workers who are still out there? There are so many examples of people having to work through these rough times. We can’t all just walk out. 

    • Smoosh January 14, 2022 (9:04 am)

      Come off it.  Lives are not on the line.  There is an effective vaccine.  I care for COVID people for a living and since last March the only people who end up in my ICU are unvaccinated or have immune suppression or some other very extenuating circumstances.The more the pro teacher folks scream about their lives being under threat the more the general public should question their motives.

    • Mariem January 14, 2022 (11:13 am)

      This is just not factual. 

  • SPSWatcher January 14, 2022 (12:20 am)

    I stand with these brave teachers. I hope more join them. 

  • B Smith January 14, 2022 (2:27 am)

    These teachers and staff are fully vaccinated and even boosted yet still terrified of the virus? The only ones hurt by remote learning are the kids and that’s sad. Mental health issues among adolescents is on the rise and especially with the lack of socializing that remote learning brings. Teachers are being selfish and not basing their decisions off of the science and data available to all. Shame on these teachers and staff for encouraging the district to return to remote learning which has far more downsides than positives. Have they not learned their lesson yet about this? Put your masks on, get in the classroom and teach as you’re paid to do. Many have no choice to work remotely and especially teachers shouldn’t have that choice with the low risk the virus is to fully vaccinated individuals. 

  • Deflated January 14, 2022 (6:36 am)

    I hold a health care license and have worked in several health care settings. I am now a special educator working in K-2 classrooms. You cannot compare nurses to teachers. Nurses go into health care with intention and knowingly choose the risk. There is no arguing that their job is risky nor that a lot of facilities are short staffed right now. The nature of the job is to care for the sick. That is NOT the nature of education. Teachers somehow are just expected to wear every hat as the need pops up. It’s not the same thing. Teachers are not provided PPE. Schools are not staffed like hospitals. Schools are not cleaned and stocked like hospitals. Public schools that are not Title I are operating with coverage that is barebones and stretched too thin BEFORE impacted by Covid. You think that teachers should be teaching with the flu? That teachers schools risk their life and their families’ lives because teachers have always been expected to pick up the pieces? Sad sad sad. 

  • Lina January 14, 2022 (7:02 am)

    Teachers are in an incredibly difficult situation right now.  Like many of us, in our jobs-whatever the role and in life right now.  This time is hard, can’t we have some compassion for a profession trying to advocate for safer conditions?  Some posts in this comment thread are really disheartening and show little understanding or care for teachers or school communities. The comments of “well, I can’t just bail on my job so teachers shouldn’t either…” miss the point that there are huge structural issues in North America with our education system, heath care system and beyond that need to be addressed.  If you are working in unsafe conditions, and you don’t have recourse or a way to lobby for change – that’s not the fault of teachers.  Stop throwing your situation in their faces.  Schools are not adequately funded or resourced – long before this pandemic – to really give the teaching profession what it needs to thrive.  The pandemic exposed all sorts of faults and inequity throughout society, this is just one.  Teachers should not have to be the sacrificial lambs because society can’t pull itself together to make the situation safer for them.  They too have families to go home to, and kids that need education and social interaction at school.  If you’ve got something heartless to say in a comment, please check yourself and think of a teacher in your life, they are human beings.

    • OneTimeCharley January 14, 2022 (9:13 am)

      Thank you Lina. Well stated!

    • Nick N January 14, 2022 (9:33 am)

      I think the frustrating thing is the power struggle and the lack of power parents/kids currently  have.  It’s one thing for workers to strike and stop making widgets. It’s a clear equal power struggle between the worker and management. It’s another thing when that widget is a kid/family and that kid/family has no negotiating power in the conflict and is used as a bargaining tool for another side. Clearly, SPS like the federal government dropped the ball on this outbreak. Clearly, teachers have been asked to wear every hat imaginable over the last 3 years. Clearly, students and family’s have been used as pawns by SPS and the teachers union hasn’t really done any teachers a favor. I guess this too shall pass but power dynamics need to change. 

  • Buddy January 14, 2022 (7:38 am)

    Teachers are only given so many sick days and after their sick days are used up the number of days they are out sick is taken out of their paychecks depending upon how much they earn per day! Just like other jobs teachers are only given so many sick days.  And teachers like other people who have jobs also go to work when they are sick because they don’t have anymore sick days and have bills to pay.  Like most individuals teachers also have children and many teachers don’t even live close to where they live. Many teachers also have a second job to help pay their monthly bills. I know of a teacher who had heart surgery and came back to work and was bitten by one of their special education students.  

  • Mj January 14, 2022 (9:18 am)

    Students mental health needs to be factored into the equation.  Vaccines work, all staff and teachers are required to be vaccinated with few exceptions and all the students are eligible to be.  It’s time to move forward not backwards.  

    • Mariem January 14, 2022 (11:15 am)


    • Jim January 14, 2022 (1:17 pm)

      Teachers also have mental health needs and issues since they are dealing with your child if they are in school and are dealing with students who have not been in person for about one year and just started in person learning this school year. Try dealing with a classroom of young kids during Covid. Everyone in this society is suffering and will continue to learn to deal with this Covid for the rest of their lives 

    • For the collective January 14, 2022 (2:56 pm)


  • Curtis January 14, 2022 (9:43 am)

    Seattle Education Association, which says it hasn’t been organizing a district-wide action – these are school-by-school actions.”   So they aren’t organizing a district-wide action, meaning all the schools at the same time.  But they ARE organizing a revolving sickout.  We were led to believe that the closures had been an organic reaction to real sickness.  But in fact absences are being coordinated by the unionThis is a union power play.  Kudos to the teacher’s who did not get manipulated by the Union into cooperating with this harmful illegal work stoppage.  Our children are pawns to suffer to the union’s interests.

  • Silverback January 14, 2022 (9:56 am)

     Brave move, but you do realize that none of the school  employees risk anything by this action, they will still get paid for their contracted teaching days, they will not miss a penny.  Yes, the school year will be extended by a day, but that is it.

  • WSteacher January 14, 2022 (10:17 am)

    A kid tested positive in my class yesterday. He was in my face a lot, as he can’t keep distance. I went home after school in tears. I threw up and didn’t sleep at all last night. I came in to teach today though and get tested at school. The kid who was sitting next him, well, his parents won’t be testing him. He sits next to a kid with immunocompromised parents. I can’t say anything. I am seriously so done with our selfish society. If you have something to say about whether educators deserve to be treated as human beings, the door is wide open for you all when we quit. Volunteer to sub. You’re not qualified? Doesn’t matter…we can now just warehouse kids in the gym with any adult and call it education. Buy teachers and students proper PPE since the district is gaslighting our need for KN95 masks. Get your kid tested, especially if they are a close contact! Think about the fact that we live in a society and there are other people besides you.

    • SeattleParent January 14, 2022 (11:21 am)

      Here, here!  If teaching is such an easy job, why is there such a shortage?  Why can’t we get subs into the building?  Why do most new teachers who paid for their own education to be awarded the certificate so they could apply for the job) quit before their 3 year in the job?

    • sj January 14, 2022 (2:48 pm)

      Good lord, West Seattle – some of these comments!

      I’m so sorry WSteacher – I know encouragement isn’t going to fix the situation, but there is support in the community too.  I can only imagine what it feels like read some of these posts.

      Thank you for taking action, CSIHS teachers. I trust your decision here.

  • M E A T F I S T January 14, 2022 (10:31 am)

    There are people here who need to be reminded that teachers are people, and their health and well-being is important. 

  • Sealth Teacher January 14, 2022 (10:39 am)

    I’m not sure what you picture when you think about a High School classroom, but unless you are currently a teacher or IA, you are wrong.  When other businesses have staff shortages, they cut back on services or hours.  When schools have staff shortages, the folks that remain are responsible for making up the difference.  For  quite a while I’ve had at least 1/3 of my students from every class absent because of covid exposures or positivity.  What can I do for them with my non-existent spare time so they can keep learning?  I’ve had a handful of students in every class refusing to wear their  masks properly since September with no recourse and no way to protect my other students from this safety risk.  Every day I walk through an overcrowded hallway with cavalier and careless students wrestling, jumping, frolicking (adorable really) with no masks on and no semblance of social distancing.  At a school we are talking about ~1000 adolescents in one building all day.  We ran out of pcr tests and kn95 masks quite a while ago.  Our administrators and health services folks are so busy with the things required to manage covid, they have had to let many duties that keep our school functioning safely go by the wayside.  I have the necessary personal resources that I can take care of myself.  My personal safety is not why I have participated in this action.  The mitigation that you have been told about is not happening (except for the staff being vaccinated- go us!).

    • AMD January 14, 2022 (1:18 pm)

      Thank you for your perspective, and I’m sorry you have to come here and read these things people are writing about you guys.  I hope you get the support you need from the district (and parents, and maybe even students) sooner than later.

    • flimflam January 14, 2022 (3:38 pm)

      Serious question, Sealth Teacher – there aren’t consequences for improper mask use? 

      • A teacher in WS January 14, 2022 (8:49 pm)

        @flimflam There are no repercussions for students who outright refuse to wear masks or who wear them improperly (e.g. covered mouth but uncovered nose; covered chin but uncovered mouth and nose). 

  • RLV January 14, 2022 (11:58 am)

    They’ve got us fighting with each other, instead of looking up and seeing that people in charge (superintendents, bosses, leaders) are the ones making this unbearable, that have the power and budgets to improve safety.  They just need to be reminded and forced to use those things to keep us all safe.

    Everyone has the right to be safe in their workplaces.  Teachers are not babysitters, but human beings who work to teach kids and get then ready for the future however they can. Medical professionals deserve protection and rest, and have been finding ways to make their workplaces safer – and yes, that has included sick-outs and walk-outs in some places. 

    No matter where you work: If your boss is making you work in unsafe conditions, that means that you need to find a way to fight that, instead of insisting that others need to work in unsafe conditions, too.  

    There are resources in all of these industries to make things safer, but we NEED to work together in our workplaces to hold leaders accountable, and make them use their power to increase safety.  They won’t do it out of the goodness of their hearts, because it will impact the business financials.  You have to stick together and make them see that you ARE the bottom line, your work and existence.  

    Please take a minute, take a breath, and remember that this is awful for everyone involved. Don’t spend precious energy making it worse for people who are in just as terrible, if not worse situations than you are.  Be kind to each other. And direct your energy at persuading the actual people who have the power and finances to keep us all working and safe.  

  • Mr. Cooper January 14, 2022 (1:22 pm)

    Thank god for private schools. SPS is and always has been such a mess.

    • Brian January 14, 2022 (4:37 pm)

      Is god subsidizing private school tuition these days? Nice!

  • Lagartija Nick January 14, 2022 (5:54 pm)

    Just read an article in The Stranger that students across the SPS system are planning walkouts and protests over unsafe conditions as well. To those of you demanding teachers shut up and go to work, will you listen to your children?

    • John Smith January 14, 2022 (11:22 pm)

      Lagartija Nick, I respectfully suggest that you do an Internet search for: recent omicron study

  • Nan January 14, 2022 (11:04 pm)

    It’s odd that given that the feds gave each school about a million dollar to mitigate Covid, where did the money go? Why schools haven’t implement random twice weekly testing and distribute N95/KN95 mask last year.

    Why hasn’t there been a plan in place to consider summer school session when infection rate is down? There are effective ways to counter the difficulties of teaching in the time of Covid that other countries and school districts have used, yet Seattle schools’ only solution is to shut school down on Fridays and go remote. Why not go hybrid?

    To the people who have to work in person, I am in the same boat. It’s frustrating and yes, my patience is thin and I have no time for excuses. My kids have regressed academically and socially with virtue learning. I’m basically homeschooling my kids in the evenings and on weekends. I’m lucky that my youngest is 12 and has an older sibling who can keep an eye on things while I go to work. I know other parents who aren’t so lucky and things are dangerously tenuous in their homes. I never once thought of schools as daycare and despair when I hear people call it that. It’s meant to insult the students and their families. It’s also insulting the teachers. I am grateful for teachers who try to keep the classrooms open and workers like nurses, respiratory therapists, store clerks, mechanics, postal clerks who show up to work. These workers wear many hats too. My mailman tells me he has checked up on several elderly people since they live alone during the snowstorm and hard freeze. I think when times are hard, people do their best to do their job, and make some sacrifices without succumbing to hysteria and martyrdom to keep society functioning and open. Once you start to close  doors, others will follow.

  • westello January 15, 2022 (11:47 am)

    I think it useless to compare nursing with teaching. But I can tell you that SPS is not funded enough for either nurses OR mental health counselors.  For the largest school district in the state, the state funds 9 nurses. Of course, SPS has many more that they have to fund. I ask people to consider how you would feel if you didn’t get your normal breaks in the day, not even to use the restroom which is a basic human function. That you had to pick up the slack for the many other teachers/staff not at school for multiple days. That principals and other staff are contact tracing instead of doing normal work. And again, this is NOT just teachers saying this. There was 100+ student walkout at JSCEE on Friday. The high school kids have said, over and over, they want N95 masks because Omicron is so contagious. They have said, for years now, they NEED mental health services. (I will note every high school now has a student health center with a mental health counselor. But trying being any kind of counselor as one person with over 1,000 students in the high school.) The district is trying to beat the teachers to the punch by closing schools because then they don’t have to pay teachers for that day. I do understand that parents have to work but are we all really okay with a particularly contagious disease infecting hundreds of kids who then go out into the public and infect others, especially those at home? Omicron is going to starting dying back at the end of January; all the evidence from elsewhere shows that. If SPS was smart, they would all shut down until then with a guarantee of coming back in two weeks. Lastly, as taxpayers, I believe SPS and every other school district should have to publish EXACTLY what they have done with all the federal mitigation dollars.

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