Bargaining Update

Summary: The district and Seattle Education Association have reached a tentative agreement for the 2021-22 school year.

SPS and SEA Reach Tentative COVID Health and Safety Agreement

Seattle Education Association (SEA) and Seattle Public Schools (SPS) have reached a tentative agreement to support layered COVID-19 health and safety strategies to protect our schools and communities.

The agreement provides families and staff with transparency around the safety measures agreed to for the 2021-22 school year.

These strategies include required masking, improved ventilation and air quality, cleaning and disinfecting, physical distancing, hand washing, staying home when sick, contact tracing, and responding to symptoms and cases of COVID.  

The agreement exceeds state health recommendations. Included in the agreement:

  • Increased family education around staying home when sick, including communications in multiple languages;
  • Clear alignment on safety measures throughout the district through active building safety teams;
  • High-quality airflow and HVAC upgrade commitments to ensure air quality exceeds accepted standards, including additional mitigation in rooms with higher transmission risk including the designated healthcare room, band, and choir.
  • Masking requirements for students that address safety throughout the school day.

“SEA educators look forward to welcoming our students back to buildings with this additional peace of mind,” said Uti Hawkins, vice president of Seattle Education Association. “This agreement transparently shows that every student in every building will experience the same level of COVID protection, regardless of their zip code.”

The agreement increases safety measures from the 2020-21 health and safety agreement, improves clarity and transparency, and reflects and exceeds the latest public health guidance. Both parties are committed to staying current with evolving public health and scientific findings around COVID and the emerging Delta variant. We will return to the table as needed to adopt new strategies designed to keep our communities safe.

More information will be distributed to families by email and on the SPS website.

“A big thank you goes out to the two bargaining teams,” said Interim Superintendent Brent Jones. “This agreement represents the commitment to the health and safety of our students and staff, and the focus on giving our students an excellent education. We have the best educators on the planet and we’re all ready to give our very best to 180 Days of Excellence for the upcoming school year”

This tentative agreement is subject to approval by both SEA members and the Seattle School Board.

Bargaining Update

Posted: August 14, 2021

Seattle Public Schools is committed to ensuring a strong, student-focused 2021-22 school year as we plan for a full-time, in-person return on Sept. 1, 2021. As part of this commitment, we are prioritizing the health and safety of our school communities and the continuity of learning for all students.  

For the past two weeks SPS has been bargaining the 2021-22 health protocols in good faith with Seattle Education Association (SEA), which include an agreed plan to implement new guidance from the Washington Department of Health (DOH). We are generally aligned in our approach and close to a final agreement.  

Unfortunately, Seattle Education Association has made clear they won’t agree to any requirements in the 2021-22 MOU that mandate classroom teachers to post class work and related learning supports for students and families to access online. This refusal is significant because this type of communication  is necessary  to support ongoing learning for any student in these uncertain times, including those students absent from class for health-related illness or required quarantine because of COVID-19 exposure.  Families need our teachers to share instructional information in a predictable and accessible format.SEA has incorrectly stated that this will place new and undue burdens on teachers. We disagree – this only clarifies existing expectations of teachers, continues practices from the past year and there is sufficient time in teachers’ paid workday to provide these needed resources to students and families. 

Seattle Public Schools is simply proposing that classroom teachers continue the following practices implemented during the 2020-21 school year, including:  

  • Post learning expectations to a district-supported learning management system (e.g., Schoology or SeeSaw) on a weekly basis. This would include the week’s learning objectives, required activities, assignments, links to any available online resources, and assessments along with associated due dates.  
  • Continue to supplement with other modes of family communication including emails, newsletters, and hard copy learning packets to keep students, parents, and caregivers informed and connected.  
  • Continue to utilize multilingual technology tools to support consistent and predictable communication with linguistically diverse families.  

These continued practices will help provide learning consistency and predictability for all students across 104 schools and there is adequate time built into teacher schedules to readily accomplish these critical tasks, which are already routinely performed by many of our educators. The district is not asking classroom teachers to create new or additional asynchronous materials, new or different lessons, or to record and post live teaching lessons.  

Special education teachers already prepare individual education programs (IEP) for students they serve and are in regular contact with families regarding student IEP goals. As such, special education teachers will continue to monitor goal progress and will not be expected to post learning information weekly.  

SPS families and students have asked for consistency and predictability as we return to in-person learning this fall. This requires that clear expectations in support of student learning are included in our 2021-22 agreement with SEA and our educators.  

To ensure full transparency with our families, students, and staff, the 2021-22 MOU proposed by SPS is attached below.  We will continue to work closely with SEA towards an agreement that supports the health and safety of our community and the learning needs of our students. SPS Response to SEA Draft Language