The Seattle Public Schools Board of Directors last week approved a resolution that directs SPS to begin the process of bringing approximately 9,000 students back into school buildings and classrooms.

The plan, first recommended to the board by Superintendent Denise Juneau and staff at a Dec. 5 board retreat, will initially resume in-person instruction for preschool through first-grade students and students enrolled in moderate to intensive special education service pathways (focus, moderate/intensive, social emotional learning, distinct, medically fragile, bridges, preschool — Developmental/Seattle Pre-School Program, and continue serving individual students who have had an Individualized Education Program team determine in-person services for resource and access service pathways.

“I’m very pleased that our school board today made the decision to move forward on bringing preK-first-grade students and students enrolled in moderate to intensive special education services pathways back into our classrooms,” Juneau said. “Our entire staff will be getting a lot of work done over the next couple of months to make sure we are ready to greet students in-person.”

Some highlights of Resolution No. 2020/21-4.1:

In-person for students who are preschool through first grade;

In-person for students enrolled in Special Education Moderate to Intensive service Pathways: Focus; Moderate Intensive; Social Emotional Learning; Distinct; Medically Fragile; Bridges; Preschool (Developmental/Seattle Pre-School Program); individual students whose Individualized Education Program team has determined in-person services necessary;

Up to five days per week;

Beginning on March 1, 2021 for PreK-1 and begin bringing back students enrolled in moderate to intensive service pathways before or on March 1;

Preparation for bringing back additional students:

SPS staff will begin configuring 75 elementary and K-8 schools to support a 1:15 teacher- student ratio;

Expansion of Special Education services in secondary schools;

Bargaining new working conditions with the Seattle Education Association;

Hiring additional bus drivers and custodial staff;

Resumption of in-person nutrition services as necessary.

In January, SPS will be conducting a survey of families to enroll students for the in-person model and determine how many will opt to continue with remote learning.

The district will continue to monitor COVID-19 transmission rates and follow guidance from key public health agencies, including the Washington State Department of Health and Public Health — Seattle & King County.

SPS board action comes after Washington Gove. Jay Inslee and the Washington State Department of Health announced revised guidelines for schools as they consider reopening for in-person instruction.

For more detailed information on the resolution, please see the SPS website, seattleschools.org. For more information about the Washington State Department of Health guidelines, please see the DOH website, www.doh.wa.gov.