We understand the desire to get students back to in-person learning—many of us are parents of SPS students too and as educators we miss seeing our students in person. SEA’s bargaining team is working tirelessly to reach an agreement with SPS as quickly as we can, but we’re unwilling to cut corners on safety precautions in order to meet arbitrary deadlines. We take the charge seriously to address racial inequity and accountability to ensure both the mental and physical wellbeing of our school communities during this transition. SPS can speed the process by agreeing to necessary COVID protections and working with us for the safety of our students, staff, and community.
Educators currently in-person with students continue to raise concerns about the lack of necessary PPE and failure to follow health and safety protocols. The District’s inability to implement needed health and safety protocols is delaying return to in-person learning.
We are making progress. While we appreciate SPS’ suggestion that we bring in a PERC mediator, we know that the issue is not that we need mediation but that the district needs to work with us to continue moving forward.
SEA educators are dedicated to our students’ and our community’s health and safety. CDC guidance is clear that key protection measures need to be in place, including masking, social distancing, cohorting, adequate airflow, and more. In bargaining, SEA has proposed putting the specific implementation of these protocols in writing to ensure accountability. Adequate protection measures are possible to mitigate the risk of COVID transmission and our bargaining with SPS is focused on ensuring every available protection is in place.
On Monday, SPS communicated with families the delay to in-person learning. Given there are two parties at the table, SPS and Seattle Education Association (SEA), we wanted to also share SEA’s response: