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Seattle teachers union: Plan for resuming classes in person is ‘reckless’

A student leaves the Thurgood Marshal Elementary school. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

The Seattle teachers union issued a statement this week, expressing its opposition to resuming in-person classes this fall.

State superintendent says parents are divided on reopening schools

The Seattle Education Association (SEA) — composed of 6,000 members — stated Monday that it “is not comfortable being reckless with the safety of our students,” calling on the district to negotiate with them on a remote learning strategy instead.

“We love and miss our students and cannot wait until the day when it will be truly safe to return to our school buildings and to see our students again in person,” SEA President Jennifer Matter said. “However, with transmission rates trending up, it is not safe yet to return to school buildings. We care about our students and families so much that we refuse to put them in harm’s way.”

This comes while many parents across Washington have expressed hesitance at sending their kids back into classrooms, especially while COVID-19 cases continue to rise.

According to State Superintendent Chris Reykdal, some parents are definitive in their answers: They want their children back in school, or they don’t want them wearing a face covering. Others see cases spiking again and don’t believe it’s safe to open schools up in eight weeks.

“We always said, based on physical distancing requirements, probably not every kid, every day. Districts just literally cannot meet that mandate every day,” Reykdal told the Dori Monson Show earlier this week. “But it’s shifting a little.”

Will Washington schools reopen? The decision might be yours to make

That’s led to some creative alternatives, including one from members of the Seattle School Board, who recently released a proposal for outdoor learning, based on research suggesting that the virus does not spread as prominently in outdoor settings. That proposal would include “at least two hours per day, four days a week” for K-12 students, paired with remote and online instruction for the remainder of the school day.

The current working plan from Seattle Public Schools would institute a hybrid model of in-person and virtual learning.

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