SEATTLE, WA — Last Wednesday, Seattle became the first major public school district in the U.S. to shut down all its public schools until April 24th. Officials taking more drastic measures in preventing the spread of coronavirus, since most of the U.S. deaths due to disease came from Washington.
The district-wide shutdown includes 104 schools with over 53,000 students.
“We have reached a tipping point where the spread of this virus demands we take action,” said Gov. Jay Inslee.
Some Filipino teachers in Seattle said they were bracing for the worst.
“It felt like at this point there was this like eerie kind of mood where we had a feeling that we were going to shut down at some point because you know, this virus is going to spread,” said Karl Gapuz, fifth-grade reading teacher.
“I think it’s creating a lot of like emotions, especially for our students and our families. And I can definitely feel the fear and anxiety around our staff and the students and families,” said kindergarten teacher Marites Perez.
Despite the district preparing the schools for the shutdown for almost two weeks, the teachers said they had about an hour to prepare assignments and lessons for their students when the announcement was made on Wednesday.
“We packed up our kids, we sent them home some books, some extra worksheets which we prepared days ahead and we’re glad we did that. And um, yeah, I sad that there’s a huge disruptions in class. However, I am relieved that we’re going to do this for now, to slow down because I think it’s everyone’s job and responsibility to slow down the spread of the virus.”
The Seattle Public School District would not be offering online education. And while the students were given take-home learning materials for the time being, officials said the learning gap would need to be filled eventually.