Courtesy Element 5 via Unsplash
Courtesy Element 5 via Unsplash

Seattle Public Schools officials announced Monday afternoon it is delaying the start of in-person instruction to allow the education association and district more time to bargain.

According to the announcement, the return of in-school instruction for preschool, kindergarten and first-grade students, as well as children enrolled in special education intensive service pathways, will be postponed by at least a week. The initial start date was slated for March 1. That date has been extended to March 8.

SPS is continuing to bargain with Seattle Education Association, the labor union representing SPS teachers, classified staff and instructional assistants, on new working conditions necessitated by in-person instruction.

The SPS Board of Directors will conduct a special work session from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Thursday to discuss the next steps for the plan. The board will also take action on the Washington Schools 2020-21 Reopening Progress Report Template required by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction.

The meeting will be broadcast on television or can be viewed on the SPS TV YouTube channel. To listen by phone, dial 206-800-4125 and use Conference ID 931 417 102#.

According to the announcement, SPS has requested mediation support from the Public Employment Relations Commission to facilitate a timely resolution. At this time, SEA has declined mediation services.

The most current bargaining update, which outlines the district’s proposal to SEA, including a racial equity analysis, can be found on the SPS bargaining webpage.