Four Santa Barbara County schools have received an official waiver to reopen for in-person learning as early as Tuesday.
As announced Friday by Dr. Henning Ansorg, public health officer for the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department, the schools that received approval from the State of California and county Public Health Department to resume on-campus classroom instruction are Laguna Blanca School, The Knox School of Santa Barbara, The Howard School in Carpinteria, and The Waldorf School of Santa Barbara.
Laguna Blanca is set to open remotely Tuesday for students in seventh to 12th grade. The school’s waiver was approved for early kindergarten to sixth-grade students for in-person instruction. Students in EK to fourth grade will begin in-person classes Friday, while grades five and six will begin Sept. 14, according to the school’s website.
“Robust, consistent, and meaningful schedules have been designed for both learning scenarios, and we are dedicated to creating a sense of belonging and connection for all students and staff. We know it is crucial for the well-being of our students and staff to feel connected to a supportive community whether on campus or at home,” the website reads.
Knox School will reopen its campus to kindergarten through sixth-grade students Sept. 14.
“We are thrilled to be approved for this reopening waiver as the students really need to get back to the classroom for so many reasons. Accomplishing reopening the school safely has been a priority,” Dr. Angela Tanner, founder and director of The Knox School, said in a news release. “Our students began their school year in our Knox@Home remote learning program while our administration and faculty worked diligently to prepare for having them back on campus.”
The school’s facilities have been expanded in size for all classes, which includes the use of additional and outdoor classrooms, Dr. Tanner said, adding that the school’s planning for safety measures has been “meticulous.”
“Our school’s small size has proved to be a strength in this situation, as we are able to adhere to the guidelines set forth by the County and the CDC,” Dr. Tanner said.
Students in seventh and eighth grade will continue to learn remotely.
Anita Betancourt, executive assistant for The Howard School, told the News-Press that the school is finalizing its classroom setup to comply with the current COVID-19 guidelines. The school plans to start in mid-September, she said.
The Waldorf School applied and received approval to resume in-person instruction for first to sixth grade. The projected enrollment for those grades is 56 students, according to the school’s website.
The school welcomed back 25 students in its pre-kindergarten and kindergarten program on Aug. 20. It is unclear when the school would officially resume in-person learning.
As of Friday, the county Public Health Department received a total of 20 school waivers, Dr. Ansorg said.
In addition to the approved applications, waivers from four other Santa Barbara County schools have been submitted to the state Department of Public Health for review, and could be approved in the coming days, Dr. Ansorg said Friday.
The county Public Health Department is reviewing the remaining 12 waiver applications.