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Seattle school district and teachers agree on in-person learning plan for elementary students

Kindergarten through 5th-grade students in Seattle Public Schools will have the option for hybrid in-person learning starting April 5.

Seattle Public Schools (SPS) reached a tentative agreement with the Seattle Education Association (SEA) for a hybrid return to in-person learning for pre-kindergarten through 5th-grade students. 

Negotiations between SPS and SEA are ongoing to bring back grades 6-12 for hybrid in-person learning. The state's deadline for all Washington students to have the option for classroom instruction is April 19. 

According to a joint statement from SPS and SEA, "The tentative agreement includes our joint commitment to bring all pre-kindergarten and elementary special education intensive services pathways students back into classrooms first on March 29. SEA and SPS recognize the unique challenges that remote learning has presented these students. All other elementary students whose families choose the in-person instructional model and secondary special education intensive pathway students will start on April 5."

The statement continues, "Additionally, to allow students more days of in-person interaction with classmates, the parties agreed on a hybrid (in-person part-time and remote part-time) instructional model where students would attend either morning or afternoon in-person class four days a week, with remote teaching and learning on Wednesdays. All Families will also have the option of a 100% remote model."

SPS said Kindergarten to 5th-grade families will receive an "Intent to Enroll Survey" later this week, with an opportunity to select the hybrid in-person learning model or stay fully remote. 

"Bargaining continues as SEA and SPS now focus on coming to an agreement to bring middle and high school students back to classrooms," Tuesday's statement said. 

Last week, Gov. Jay Inslee announced all Washington students must be offered some form of in-person learning by April 19. For kindergarten through sixth-grade students, that deadline is April 5. All older students must have an in-person learning option by April 19. 

RELATED: Washington students must be offered in-person learning by April 19, Inslee says

By April 19, all districts must meet at least 30% of average weekly instructional hours as on-campus learning for all students. 

No student can be offered fewer than two, partial days of in-person learning.

School districts will be asked to exceed the 30% minimum in-person instructional hours and must reach the maximum capacity and frequency of in-person instruction that can be provided when all health and safety recommendations are met.

The order also asks the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction to use some of the money from the American Rescue Plan Act to be used for funding mental health services for students while directing the Department of Health and Health Care Authority to work on recommendations on how to support behavioral health needs of children.

RELATED: Inslee cites mental health as a reason for students to return to Washington classrooms

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