Educational groups react to Inslee’s in-person learning proclamation

Mar 12, 2021, 5:37 PM | Updated: 5:40 pm
school bus...
(MyNorthwest photo)
(MyNorthwest photo)

Educational groups are having mixed reactions to Governor Inslee’s proclamation requiring all public schools to offer in-person learning options by April 19.

The Washington Education Association — the state teachers union — said in a statement that the order does not take into account districts that do not yet have the proper safety measures in place.

“Local unions are actively bargaining with districts to ensure the return to buildings is as safe as possible,” the statement reads. “Shortcutting those safety processes is not in the best interest of our students, staff, or communities.”

The union said that in-person learning is the best way to go, but only when it can be done safely. It noted that most school districts in the state have already begun bringing back students in some capacity.

Meanwhile, the Washington Association of School Administrators told KIRO Radio it has promoted getting kids back in the classroom for months.

“Our position has been consistent in terms of pushing for getting kids back into school as soon as possible — obviously with student safety and staff safety being paramount,” WASA Executive Director Joel Aune said.

While WASA is in support of the spirit of the governor’s order, Aune said the organization is a little wary of some of the wording. He noted that certain requirements, such as the rule that at least 30% of a student’s time must be spent in the classroom, “will create some significant challenges for schools and school districts.”

Still, he said, “We’re encouraged by the governor’s interest and what appears to be a growing commitment on his part to getting students back in school.”

Although going back April 19 will leave not even leave two months of the school year for most districts, Aune said that even those last six or eight weeks will make a huge difference in getting students ready for the next year ahead.

“Schools that are getting students back in now, this is going to help schools and school districts be just that much better positioned for September,” he said.

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Educational groups react to Inslee’s in-person learning proclamation