by Ari Robin McKenna
This week, the Seattle Public School (SPS) District and the Seattle Education Association (SEA) resumed bargaining about when the return to in-person education for pre-K to first grade — as well as students enrolled in moderate to intensive special education service pathways — will happen and what it will look like. In a pandemic month that also featured a failed coup and the inauguration of our country’s first Black, Asian, and female vice president, SPS has already seen a school board member abruptly resign and the staff of a South End elementary school announce that they will refuse to return to in-person learning until it’s safe for their community to do so. With pressure mounting to reopen SPS as soon as possible and bargaining already strained, there is mounting evidence that suggests white families stand to benefit more and that their communities will face fewer impacts from a return to in-person learning.
In a Facebook message posted on Jan. 7, SPS board representative Eden Mack announced her resignation. Mack, who represents District 4 (which includes the neighborhoods of Magnolia, Queen Anne, and Southern Ballard) mentioned a “dysfunctional culture” and also stated, “The massive gap between the true cost of providing basic education in an urban school district and what the State provides is not imaginary.” Mack then went on to ask the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) of the state of Washington for an “intervention.”
Continue reading As Seattle Public Schools Negotiates Some In-Person Classes Resuming, Equity Questions Loom
by Ronnie Estoque
Clea Patriarca Alverio-Hume, 57, served as the medical records director at Queen Anne Healthcare, a skilled nursing facility, and she also worked for Swedish Medical Center where she was the lead admission coordinating assistant at the Transfer and Operations Center.
On May 21, 2020, Alverio-Hume developed a harsh cough. Initially, it was attributed to her allergies due to the cottonwood trees that were shedding at the time. Her allergy medicines and inhalers were filled, but they didn’t seem to help much according to her husband, David Hume. Four days later, Alverio-Hume went to a clinic to get tested as she had a minor fever and was vomiting. Her cough had gotten severely worse.
“I ended up calling the paramedics that Tuesday evening because she was having difficulty breathing,” her husband said.
Continue reading Filipino Health Care Workers and Their Battle Against COVID-19
by the Staff of Dearborn Park International School
In response to the recent unilateral announcement by Seattle Public Schools (SPS) that they intend to reopen pre-K/kindergarten/first grade for in-person instruction beginning in March, the staff of Dearborn Park International Elementary School came together for a series of conversations to share our thoughts and concerns about this proposal. The conversations involved the majority of the staff — dozens of staff members over multiple days and included classroom teachers from every grade as well as specialists, instructional assistants, secretaries, and other staff.
We were especially concerned that SPS has not been clear in their communications to families and staff. The decision to reopen schools is not yet official and will have to be negotiated with the Seattle Education Association (SEA) first — there currently is no actual plan in place that would meet the needs of the impacted schools.
Continue reading South End Public School Staff to District: Don’t Reopen Without Vaccines
by Elizabeth Turnbull
While COVID-19 cases have increased in King County since the beginning of the month overall, South King County, one of the most diverse parts of the Seattle area, has recorded disproportionate numbers of cases.
Whereas 3.2% of all tests in King County come back positive for the novel coronavirus, simply looking at the map of positive tests in the county on King County’s Daily COVID-19 Outbreak Summary webpage (you must choose the “Geography tab” in the dashboard to view the map) will show you that these numbers increase the more you travel south. For example, overall positivity rates in Auburn stand at 8.4% and of individuals tested at the Auburn testing site at 2701 C Sreet Southwest, 12.8% of tests have come back positive since Sept. 1, according to a Seattle Times article.
Continue reading Why Is South King County Dealing With Higher Numbers of COVID-19 Cases Compared to Rest of County?
by Jadenne Cabahug
Edna Cortez has worked as a registered nurse at Seattle Children’s Hospital for the past 30 years — and she received a commemorative pin to mark the occasion. Cortez wears another pin these days during the pandemic: she places a button with a picture of her face on top of her scrub hat to help her young patients feel less afraid.
She usually keeps her face covered while working, like all nurses do during the pandemic. Cortez has to wear full personal protective equipment (PPE), including masks, goggles, face shields, and gowns. Not everyone has access to the same equipment, or the right kind.
Cortez is among the state’s essential workers — in health care and other professions — who have been put at higher risk from COVID-19 and other environmental health factors in 2020.
Continue reading Essential Workers — Including Those in Health Care — Hit Hard by COVID-19 and Environmental Health Threats