Seattle Public Schools announced they will be pushing back the start date for resuming in-person learning after failure to reach a negotiation regarding COVID-19 safety precautions with the Seattle teachers union.
In-person learning for pre-school, kindergarten, first grade, and special education was set to resume March 1 but has now been delayed until March 8. In-person instruction will not resume until negotiations have been reached.
Since the beginning of December, Seattle Public Schools have been in negotiations with the Seattle Education Association (SEA) which represents district's teachers, classified staff and instructional assistants.
According to the Seattle School District, staff have been preparing buildings for students and teachers to return to in-person learning once Seattle Public Schools started talking of plans to reopen schools in phases back in December.
"Buildings are ready with personal protective equipment (PPE); health and safety protocols are in place; plans for student transportation and meals are in place," the district said in its statement.
But even with new safety measures in place for a safe return to the classroom, they don’t live up to the unions demands.
"Educators currently in-person with students continue to raise concerns about the lack of necessary PPE and failure to follow health and safety protocols," said the SEA in a statement Monday. "The district’s inability to implement needed health and safety protocols is delaying return to in-person learning."
Seattle Education Association says that they have worked tirelessly with Seattle Public Schools to reach a negotiation but "we're unwilling to cut corners on safety precautions in order to meet arbitrary deadlines."
Just last week, Washington State Democrat Governor Jay Inslee signed a bill that would eliminate schools without a set plan to reopen in-person learning from receiving COVID-19 funds, King 5 reported.