Seattle's Child

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remote learning: girl at laptop

Seattle students will be learning primarily from their own homes this fall. (Photo: iStock)

Seattle schools to start 2020-21 year with remote learning

Classes will be conducted online to help prevent spread of COVID-19.

The news we’ve all been expecting finally came on Wednesday: Remote learning is here to stay — for a while, anyway.

Students in Seattle Public Schools will begin the year at home, not in school buildings.

The Seattle School Board unanimously approved the plan put forward by Superintendent Denise Juneau in which she recommended a remote-learning model, saying that the continuing unchecked spread of the coronavirus made returning to buildings potentially unsafe at this point.

Some details remain to be worked out, including the potential for organized outdoor learning.

Schools first went remote in March, as the coronavirus was first spreading. In Seattle, what began as a two-week closure soon grew to a six-week closure and then a rest-of-the-spring closure.

Optimistic early models and measures had folks believing that fall might appear more “normal,” but instead, the virus has continued to spread and officials increasingly came to believe that crowding school buildings with children, teachers and other staff was simply not a good idea.

This week’s decision by the board was foreshadowed in an Aug. 5 staff report. Among the criticisms of the abrupt switch to remote learning were that students of color risked being disproportionately left behind, along with those receiving special-education services. School officials have spent the ensuing months trying to rectify those inequalities.


More on the subject:

How you and your kindergartner can prepare for this weird year

Tips for including social emotional learning in at-home instruction


About the Author

Julie Hanson

Julie Hanson is the website editor for Seattle's Child. She is a longtime journalist, South King County resident and mom to a 13-year-old girl.