The Santa Barbara Unified School District board approved the reopening of elementary school campuses during its meeting Tuesday evening. Students will begin a hybrid learning schedule Monday.
The state approved Santa Barbara County schools for reopening earlier Tuesday.
Schools will welcome students in phases starting with the youngest grades.
The district sent a notice to secondary-school teachers Tuesday to return to campus March 9 in preparation for in-person learning. Junior high and high schools may reopen when the case rate declines to seven daily cases per 100,000 people. As of Tuesday, the county’s adjusted case rate was 16.9 per 100,000.
Secondary-school families will confirm their choice of in-person or distance learning this week.
In the hybrid schedule, half of the students will attend campus Monday and Thursday while the other half is in-person Tuesday and Friday.
“There will be staggered arrivals and departures but as far as the beginning of the day to the end of the day, it will be pretty similar to pre-pandemic,” Ana Escobedo, assistant superintendent of elementary education, told the board.
Parents will receive specific information regarding arrival and departure.
During the days off campus, students will work at home.
Both halves come together each morning, either in-person or through Zoom, to check in with the teacher.
Families already confirmed their choice between in-person and distance learning.
Ms. Escobedo assured the board that students can easily switch from in-person to distance learning, but transitioning from distance to in-person will be based on availability.
“There has been a lot of reorganization that has happened in order to provide parents what they need for their students,” she said, referencing the changes the district has already made to class rosters.
She said requests to switch from distance will be handled “case by case, school by school, class by class.”
Today, the district is sending letters to families that have previously received bus transportation. The letters will confirm if families still want the service provided and explain precautions.
Wednesdays, all students learn from home with online aid from paraprofessionals and other teachers.
The district’s grab-and-go lunch program will continue each day.
Karen McBride, Santa Barbara Teachers Association president, expressed concerns in a public comment.
Some teachers have students in three grade levels in their classrooms. Others have not yet received their rosters.
Superintendent Hilda Maldonado acknowledged the extra effort from teachers prior to reopening. The district is giving two extra days of pay to teachers.
The board also voted to deny the application for charter by Thoreau Community School. Board member Virginia Alvarez and board vice president Rose Muñoz voted to deny the petition, and Board President Kate Ford and board member Laura Capps voted to approve with conditions.
For more information on the charter application, see Thursday’s News-Press.