Teachers at Chief Sealth High School stage sick out over health concerns
Teachers at Chief Sealth International High School took a "sick day" on Friday Jan. 14 to protest safety conditions regarding the Seattle Public Schools policies and actions regarding Covid 19. Their demands include providing N95 or KN95 masks, weekly on-site testing, resolving staffing shortages and boosting funding for mental health.
If not met they propose a shift to remote learning "until those conditions can be established or until the current surge is resolved."
In a statement posted online representing teachers at Chief Sealth International High School, Sealth Science teacher Rebecca Neil said,
"I’m really grateful to be at a school that cares so much about its staff and students. Our principal and assistant principals have advocated consistently for what’s best for both staff and students. However, the system is broken and Seattle Public Schools has failed to provide necessary protections on so many levels. So much of what we are facing was preventable with strategic planning and preparation, and Seattle Public Schools district leadership failed to act.
Tomorrow, a majority of the staff at Chief Sealth is calling out sick to call attention to the negligence of the district. We want to be in school teaching in person but we want to do it in a way that is safe, sane, and grounded in both science and equitable access for our most vulnerable staff, students, and community members.
Help us stay in person safely by reaching out to the Seattle Public Schools board members and superintendent and advocating for appropriate and enforced KN95 and N95 masking, regular and accessible onsite testing, adequate staffing, and increased mental health supports."
The Principal at Sealth,Ray Garcia Morales issued a statement in response,
Chief Sealth School canceled tomorrow, Friday, Jan. 14
"Dear Chief Sealth community
We want to inform you of an important change in our school schedule that will have an impact on tomorrow’s instruction.
The decision has been made to cancel school tomorrow, Friday, Jan. 14. This is a full cancellation, and there will not be remote instruction.
The entire building will be closed tomorrow.
There will be no transportation at Chief Sealth.
There will be no athletics programming.
Meal service will be available from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Grab-and-go lunches.
Skills Center classes at Sealth will continue as normal.
The reason for this closure is because of a surge in staff sick leave requests.
Moving forward, the district is working to determine needs and SPS leaders are meeting regularly to assess the staffing situation. We will keep you informed as soon as possible.
We recognize that this change is unanticipated, but we want to share this shift as early as possible to allow maximum time for families and staff to adjust plans.
Again, we will assess each day moving forward and will share updates as we know more. Please feel free to contact me with any questions.
Ray Garcia Morales
Speaking on behalf of Seattle Public Schools Communication Specialist Tina Riss said,
"The reason for this closure is due to a high number of staff sick leave requests. When any staff member is taking sick leave, the goal is to rest and return to work healthy. We cannot ask them to work, even remotely.
In preparation for school, we evaluate health and attendance data several times a day and into the evening. Every option to keep students consistently in school and learning in-person is explored. Cancellation is a last resort, and we do our best to inform families of that decision the night before so alternate plans can be made. Notices of cancellation are made through school email, phone, social media, and on individual school websites. Because staff and student absence rates may change overnight due to illness or other circumstances, we also follow up the next day by 7 a.m. if there are changes impacting the school day.
Moving forward, the district is working to determine needs and SPS leaders are meeting regularly to assess the staffing situation."