Seattle students rally for stronger COVID-19 safety protocols at schools

SEATTLE — About 100 Seattle students gathered outside the Seattle Public Schools district headquarters Friday seeking stronger safety protocols after increasing COVID-19 cases and safety threats recently shut some schools.

Students want Seattle schools to be more transparent about the number of COVID-19 cases it would take to close a school, The Seattle Times reported.

They’re asking for more mental health resources for students, teachers and the community. And they would like the district to provide a safe space for students and educators after traumatic instances occur.

“Students don’t feel safe in school. Students feel like our voices aren’t being heard,” said Rena Mateja, a senior at Cleveland High and a member of the NAACP Youth Council.

Students also want Gov. Jay Inslee to change a state requirement that there be 180 days of in-person instruction per school year. Students want more remote learning options and are asking for a meeting with Inslee.

Seattle School Board President Brandon Hersey, who attended the rally, told the newspaper in an interview that he is willing to try to set up an interview with the governor. He said it’s important that Inslee hear directly from students.

Classes were canceled for at least six schools in the district this week, and at least nine schools have shifted to remote learning as the omicron variant of COVID-19 surges.

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