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All Washington school districts now on track to resume in-person learning by deadline

Students hold signs as they take part in a rally to encourage wider opening of in-person learning. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

All Washington school districts are now set to offer at least some in-person learning to middle and high school students by next Monday.

Seattle teacher’s union votes to bring students back to class

The Washington Education Association says the districts have worked out agreements with their teachers’ unions to meet Gov. Jay Inslee’s April 19 deadline.

But that doesn’t mean we’re on a fast track to life as usual as the pandemic continues.

“You know we all want to get back to normal, but no matter what, school will not look fully normal this fall,” WEA spokesperson Julie Popper told KIRO Radio. “Students are going to be wearing masks for a long time. How we do recess and how students have lunch is going to look different for a long time.”

In fact, with faster spreading variants of COVID-19 on the rise statewide, and many more people yet to vaccinate, “there are things about fall we don’t even know yet.”

And remember, to get students back to in-person learning even part-time, each district has had to negotiate and come to an agreement with its teachers’ union on pandemic safety protocols.

Popper says that if districts have to change those rules in order to bring all students back for full time in-person learning, they’d have to go back to the bargaining table.

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

For example, “the memorandum of understanding with Seattle Public Schools is specific about six foot distancing, so for that to change, it would need another negotiation.”

She stresses that every school district is different.

According to state data, at least 77 districts in our state are already offering traditional in-person learning.

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