SEATTLE — The school bell didn't ring on Monday, but the sight of empty classrooms certainly rang alarms for Edward Madrid.
"I was a little surprised," said the Kimball Elementary fourth grade parent as he picked up some course work at the Beacon Hill school.
The Seattle School District made the decision to cancel classes at both the elementary and Franklin High School for one day because of staffing and student shortages related to COVID-19. Quarantine periods have been a complicating factor at every school across the state, and second guessing about the best course of action.
Lake Washington High School went to remote learning for about a week as it deal with similar issues.
It will not be 2020 all over again, but the road ahead will likely be bumpy, according to Washington State Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal.
"We've got a challenging three or four weeks coming," he said Friday.
Reykdal acknowledged some short-term closures may be necessary. But, he said, with 90% of state school employees vaccinated and virologists projecting an omicron variant peak in late January or early February, a state mandate is not expected.
"It seems inevitable that some schools are going to close," said Washington Education Association President Larry Delaney on Monday. Adding that his membership is most concerned about having a remote plan to navigate the wave. "The biggest concern I'm hearing from our leaders and educators across the state is not knowing what the plan is toward shifting to remote instruction."
For now, Madrid said his family can handle the day-to-day uncertainty.
"For me, this is the new normal, something we're going to have to deal with and expect," he said.