Seattle schools set new start date for some special-education students and preschoolers

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Dahlia Bazzaz

Seattle Times reporter

The start of in-person tuition for some special needs and preschoolers in Seattle has been postponed to March 29 instead of Thursday, according to a publication by the Seattle Public Schools and the union that represents their educators.

The announcement comes after strong union opposition to the district’s move to call 700 educators back to buildings this week to teach students before an agreement is reached on expanding face-to-face teaching. These educators were due to report to their buildings on Monday to prepare their classrooms for study, but a campaign by the union – the Seattle Education Association – urged them to stay away.

“SPS and SEA agreed that school staff could benefit from additional time to prepare to provide the safest and fairest personal learning environments in every SPS building,” the press release said.

A security check of some district buildings by union and district officials, an independent HVAC systems contractor, and the state Labor and Industry Department found no major problems, according to the press release.

The two parties are still working on an agreement to provide personal services to around 10,000 students, including kindergarten teachers and first graders. The timeline is the first to have been shared by management and workers for any type of in-person tuition since the pandemic began.

It is unclear when the negotiations will be concluded.