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caption: Seattle Public School Superintendent Denise Juneau sits with Chief Human Resources Officer Clover Codd on stage during a public meeting on Thursday, February 13, 2020 at Garfield High School in Seattle.
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Seattle Public School Superintendent Denise Juneau sits with Chief Human Resources Officer Clover Codd on stage during a public meeting on Thursday, February 13, 2020 at Garfield High School in Seattle.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Seattle Schools should be all online in fall, superintendent recommends

The school board will vote on whether to return students to school, or keep them remote next month.

In a surprising reversal on Wednesday, Superintendent Denise Juneau said that Seattle schools should not resume in-person learning this fall -- or until the threat of the coronavirus has passed enough for students to return to school.

Read the news release from Seattle Public Schools below.

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Remote learning letter from Seattle Public Schools

Seattle schools had said earlier that students would likely return to school a few days a week. The teachers union, the Seattle Education Association, pushed back on that thinking, saying the district had not consulted with its educators.

The school board will vote on what the fall will look like at is August 12 meeting.

"The current trajectory of infection in King County and the most recent data and information from public health makes it clear that resuming school in-person this fall is impossible," Juneau said in a statement.

Juneau's recommendation received a stamp of approval from the teachers union. In the press release, union President Jennifer Matter said, "Returning in a remote learning model means our students, staff, and community can stay safe."

Whether to return to school in person has been hugely controversial lately, with President Trump arguing that students should return, and teachers, for the most part, arguing against.

Scientists, too, debate this. While the start of school signals an increase in viral illnesses, it appears that young children under the age of 10 very rarely pass along infection to adults.

In a report titled, "The Child is Not to Blame" in the journal Pediatrics, researchers found that children rarely pass along the virus. In Wuhan, China, researchers found that just one child was responsible for passing the virus to an adult.

The Pediatrics article notes that, although information is limited, coronavirus has not spread much in schools, citing a case in France, where a 9-year-old boy exposed over 80 classmates, but none got sick. A similar situation in Australia had similar results.