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Seattle superintendent proposes in-person classes for some students in March

Seattle Public Schools' superintendent recommended some students return to in-person classes by March 1, 2021.

SEATTLE — Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Denise Juneau recommended the district re-open in-person learning for pre-K through second grade as soon as March 1. 

Juneau made the recommendation to the school board on Dec. 5, according to District spokesperson Tim Robinson.

Any move to bring students back into the classroom would need to be voted on by the school board. Details for the plan recommended by Juneau have not been made public. 

As coronavirus cases continue to climb, the school board has said students will remain remote until at least Jan. 28. 

A small number of SPS special education students have received specialized in-person instruction. 

Seattle Education Association (SEA) President Jennifer Matter said the union was "blindsided" by the announcement. 

In a statement on Facebook, Matter wrote, "The Superintendent's recommendation, made behind closed doors and without input from educators or families, is another example of top-down decision-making which does not inspire confidence in their ability to collaborate with educators and families which is critical to ensure that when we return to in-person learning, it is done safely and equitably." 

Matter wrote she'd like to see the district work with SEA to collaborate on a plan moving forward. 

Robinson said the current plan is to begin ramping up preparations during the first week of January. It's estimated it will take two months to get all the components in place to bring students back to the classroom. 

That includes the Education Association approving a new memorandum of understanding (MOU). Bargaining will have to be done again to modify the previous MOU reached in August determining which families wish to send students back to school, which teachers want to or can return, and "all the operational aspects" that includes supplies and safety measures.