Students return to class with new rules
Students in the Santa Barbara Unified School District begin a five-day-per-week, in-person school year today. The district is also offering an independent study option, as mandated by the California Department of Public Health.
CDPH also requires that teachers and students wear masks indoors.
Last week, the district met with its board to discuss district-wide COVID-19 surveillance testing.
SB Unified’s goal is to begin antigen testing next week. All students will swab their own noses with the direction of an instructional video.
“Even our six year olds will be able to do this,” Assistant Superintendent of Student Services Dr. Frann Wageneck said.
Each school will have a staff of three to five that will collect the swabs and process the results within 20 minutes. Parents will be able to see the results online that day.
Staff will call parents when a positive case is detected. Then, to rule out false positives, a molecular test will be sent to a lab.
Vaccinated individuals will not need weekly tests, but the district will test everyone the first week to collect a baseline.
As of Sunday, 37% of Santa Barbara County residents between the ages of 12 and 15 are fully vaccinated.
Public district staff throughout the state are required to be vaccinated or receive regular tests — a policy adopted by SB Unified prior to the statewide mandate.
Dr. Wageneck reported that 70% of SB Unified staff members confirmed proof of vaccination prior to the board meeting and expects more soon.
A group of parents and community members protested the meeting last week, criticizing the district’s testing and vaccination requirements.
Cold Spring School in Montecito also opens today for classes. The single-school district was one of the first in the county to reopen last school year.
Goleta Union, Ballard Elementary and Buellton Union school districts return Wednesday.
Montecito Union School, Hope Elementary School District, and Vista de las Cruces School begin the new school year Thursday.
Lompoc Unified School District held its first day of classes Monday.
Last week, Santa Ynez Valley Union High School District, Los Olivos Elementary, Santa Maria Joint Union High School District and Santa Maria Bonita School District returned Thursday.
Classes began at Orcutt Union School District on Friday.
Carpinteria Unified School District is working on teacher development this week and welcoming students Monday.