Seattle school district, teachers union reach tentative deal on COVID mandates

Aug 20, 2021, 11:01 AM | Updated: 11:16 am
schools, fall, reopening, classes, Seattle...
A student leaves the Thurgood Marshal Elementary school. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

The union representing teachers in Seattle Public Schools has reached an agreement with the district over new mask and COVID vaccine mandates.

Gov. Inslee mandates vaccines for all educators and staff

The union, the Seattle Education Association, says they came to terms on transparency around the safety measures agreed to for the 2021-22 school year, and how families, teachers, and students will be informed about COVID-19 cases, as well as things like ventilation, mask wearing, and air quality.

The tentative agreement is subject to approval by both SEA members and the Board of Directors of Seattle Public Schools.

The agreement, which exceeds state health recommendations, includes:

  • Increased family education around staying home when sick, including communications in multiple languages;
  • Clear alignment on safety measures throughout the district through active building safety teams;
  • High-quality airflow and HVAC upgrade commitments to ensure air quality exceeds accepted standards, including additional mitigation in rooms with higher transmission
    risk (e.g., designated healthcare room; band room; choir room);
  • Masking requirements for students that address safety throughout the school day.

“SEA educators look forward to welcoming our students back to buildings with this additional peace of mind,” said Uti Hawkins, vice president of the SEA. “This agreement transparently shows that every student in every building will experience the same level of COVID protection, regardless of their zip code.”

Gov. Inslee: ‘No reason to abandon a career’ over COVID vaccine mandate

Bargaining teams will return to the table, as needed, to adopt new strategies designed to keep communities safe. More information will be distributed to families by email and on the SPS website.

The KIRO Radio Newsdesk contributed to this report.

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Seattle school district, teachers union reach tentative deal on COVID mandates