Seattle Education Association | South Seattle Emerald

by Ari Robin McKenna

On Friday, February 26, Seattle Public School District (SPS) leaders announced for the second time a suspected return date for a segment of its student body – although there was no agreement with the union that represents teachers and other staff, the Seattle Education Association (SEA).

On December 5, 2020, SPS Superintendent Denise Juneau screamed the SEA when it announced a recommendation that K-1 students and moderate to intensive special education students should return in person on March 1. Later in the month, the Seattle School Board unanimously voted in favor of Juneau’s ambitious reopening date, and negotiating teams began in earnest to sort out the many details involved in reaching a deal with the syndicate. Meanwhile, a vocal minority of Seattle parents have pressured the union to accept the date as a matter of course.

Then, around 5 p.m. on Friday February 26, the last day of school before the scheduled March 1 reopening date, teachers were again called into question when the headline on SPS’s website read: Pathways and Preschool Students return in person on March 11. This time around, the school board voted (with Brandon Hersey the only dissenting vote) to classify staff members who work with these returning students as essential workers.

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