SEATTLE — COVID cases are rising in many Western Washington schools, making parents and teachers more vigilant and leading a couple of schools to bring back mask requirements or move to remote learning.
“At this point, my kids wear masks, we wash our hands and we’re just trying to make it to June,” said Kathryn Loeffler, who has two children in South Shore PreK-8 in Seattle.
TheSeattle Public Schools COVID dashboard showed a substantial jump in cases last week, 517 more than the week before.
Masks are no longer mandatory districtwide, though school officials say there have been a handful of individual classrooms where masks have been required because of an exposure.
Bremerton High School on Thursday switched to two days of online learning because of a staff shortage.
Teachers have been out sick, including with COVID.
Dimmitt Middle School in the Renton district had enough cases that masks are required again.
“This is the hardest year on record. We thought online learning was hard. We weren’t really prepared for the difficulties of this year,” said Julianna Dauble, a teacher who serves as president of the Renton Education Association.
Dauble said staff shortages mean teachers continue to lose planning periods to cover for colleagues.
“It’s gotten better since January and February, but day-to-day it’s still really a struggle in any of our buildings,” she said.
She said both students and teachers are also suffering the mental health effects of the pandemic.
“We have quite a number of teachers who are going on leave for PTSD, mental health issues, we have quite a number of teachers not coming back, they’re resigning,” Dauble said.
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