Washington Schools & Coronavirus: What You Should Know

Your health and well-being, and that of your families, students and our communities remains our top priority. Gov. Jay Inslee closed our schools in order to slow the spread of COVID-19, and reduce the impacts of this pandemic to people, our health care system and economy.

That is why WEA and your local are fighting for three things:

  • Your health and safety, that of your families, students and community
  • Your ability to remain economically whole as a contributing member of our local and state economy
  • Flexibility — in work assignments, work locations, and adjusting to new conditions. School may be closed, but there is still work to be done. It might look different. What you do and where you do it may change.  For anyone required to work onsite, your district must follow all the recommended safeguards and protections for individuals. Districts cannot unilaterally require that employees work onsite without working with the local union to ensure that recommended safeguards and protections are in place.

If you have questions about what is happening in your district, please contact your local president or UniServ staff. Because all of our contracts are bargained locally, any changes to working conditions must be agreed upon at the local level. Your local leaders will be best positioned with the current information.

We will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and provide updates as they become available. Check back frequently for the latest information.   

FAQs from WEA Members

Answers to your questions on the impacts COVID-19 will have on you, your profession and your school.

Larry Delaney_Message


Watch WEA President Larry Delaney's March 16 message to members.

Q. Schools are supposed to provide educational services by Monday, March 30. How is this equitable?

A. We have to remember that even though we have been working hard to improve equitable access to public education for all students, we weren't there before the pandemic hit. We must continue to make good faith efforts to reach every student, including those with disabilities, students of color and English Language Learners, while we navigate through these school closures. We must also keep in mind that it is not up to individual educators to solve this -- districts should be working with our locals to provide systemic solutions to meet the needs of all students in the best way we can with these unprecedented circumstances. OSPI has said that continuous learning should be based on common sense, compassion and communication, not compliance. We expect to hear more from the state.

More Questions & Answers

Latest News

SEBB and COBRA mailing: Members are receiving a mailing from the Health Care Authority concerning their rights to COBRA coverage. Please know that this mailing is informational only and required by law as part of the transition to SEBB. This does not mean that anyone is losing SEBB coverage. WEA was able to ensure that those who were covered on Feb. 29 will continue to have SEBB employer benefits through the shutdowns.

Lunas_MessageA kindergartner sends heart-warming appreciation to the educators she's missing. Watch video.

InsleeMar23AddressOn March 23, Gov. Jay Inslee issues "Stay-at-Home" order. Watch the governor's address to the state.

On March 18, Gov. Jay Inslee orders temporary stop to evictions, other help in response to coronavirus. Watch video.

Member Stories

What is happening in your areas of the state? Send us pictures and anecdotes, so we can share your hard work and dedication to Washington students and their families through these difficult times. Follow us on instagram, @wa_education, on twitter @washingtonea, and on Facebook @WashingtonEducation to see more stories like these.

Julie Delaney watching fourth grader Vincent and familyVincent (a fourth grader from Arlington) and his family sing Pioneer Elementary School’s Friday song, Count on Me by Bruno Mars, because he says he missed his choir concert. Watching Vincent is Arlington EA teacher Julie Delaney who says she was slightly freaked out with the idea of teaching her kindergartners online, but after working with her team and enjoying the enthusiasm of her students at her first online class meeting, she is figuring out the whole new online learning and thinking about what she’ll be doing with students next week. Also pictured is Toby the Delaney’s dog. Read Julie's story here

Gwen Riles HighlineGwen Riles, a Teamster and paraeducator in Highline, is smiling through her mask because she and her colleagues are supporting Highline Education Association members by distributing laptop computers to students at New Start High School, an alternative school in White Center, a part of the Highline School District.

While Highline EA members begin teaching online this week, Riles says, they have signed out 65 laptops and six hotspots to support their students at her school.

Read more member stories here.

Certification Issues

Update: Paraeducator Fundamental Course of Study

The Professional Educator Standards Board has released new guidance for the state’s Paraeducator Certificate program, given this year's school closures. All school districts now have until the end of next school year to provide all four days of training on the Fundamental Course of Study. 

Districts that chose to offer the complete FCS training this year will be reimbursed for the additional training days at a rate of $218 per completed day of training per paraeducator.

The Professional Educator Standards Board will hold  a webinar at 10 a.m. Tuesday, March 31, to share updates and answer questions about the paraeducator certificate program. Register here. For those unable to attend, the webinar will be recorded and posted to on the PESB YouTube page.

Please note that in-person training requirements are not being waived. Seven of the 28 hours of FCS training must be conducted in person, but the deadline is not until the end of the 2020-21 school year. The remaining 21 hours of FCS training can, if the district chooses, be completed online.

Learn more.

Teacher certificate expiration date extended for one year

The Professional Educator Standards Board (PESB) has extended the validity period on educator certificates expiring June 30, 2020 for one additional year. Read more.

Flexibility in educator prep programs

College and university teacher preparation programs are being granted flexibility in regards to how students can complete their coursework and program requirements. Read more.


Wellness & Self Care

Working from home can be stressful, especially in uncertain times like these. You are focused on still teaching students from a distance, keeping yourself and others close to you safe, and for some, this time can be isolating. Here are some ways to stay connected and healthy. Read more.

  • Have you had your daily serving of wellness? Read more.
  • Resources for parents and guardians. 

Resources and General Links for WEA Members and Families

WEA leadership and staff are working tirelessly to advocate for both educators and students during this time of uncertainty. That includes being in regular communication with the Governor’s office, the state Schools Superintendent’s Office and other state agencies to both receive new information from state leaders that we can share with you, and pushing those leaders for clearer guidance aimed at protecting students and educators.

Your Association is working to push districts to make every educator fully whole during the school closures. We will continue to work at the district-level to try and secure agreements for all public education employees to receive pay during the shutdown, and we will also continue to urge the Governor’s office to issue statewide guidance instructing districts to do so.

This page will continue to be updated as more information becomes available. Please send questions to WEA@washingtonea.org.

Additional information