Free clinic set for Saturday at McKinley School
Schools reopened this week, with the Santa Barbara Unified School District encouraging parents and families to do all that they can to be safe for in-person learning.
The district is advising that all students 5 and older should be vaccinated and that all students 16 and older should get booster shots if they have not already done so.
Vaccinations appointments are available at most local pharmacies and clinics.
And the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department will host a free vaccination clinic 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at McKinley Elementary School, 350 Loma Alta Drive. This will include all vaccination and booster shots for everyone 5 and older.
Earlier, the district requested its staff and students take advantage of COVID-19 testing before returning to campus. Staff and students were given test kits to take home before the winter break, which includes two tests per box.
Hundreds of students showed up Sunday for testing at Earl Warren Showgrounds.
And the district is resuming surveillance testing of both vaccinated and unvaccinated staff and students.
The district is also emphasizing the importance of using well-fitting masks and is promoting the use of N95, KN95 or KN94 masks. The district has made N95 masks available for staff and blue surgical masks for elementary students.
“We remain committed to in-person school and to do so will continue to maintain safety protocols in place, including testing, quarantine and supporting vaccines for those eligible,” Superintendent Hilda Maldonado said in a news release. “We ask everyone to support us by doing their part. Please check yourself, your students and loved ones for symptoms, and if in doubt, test for COVID and stay home.”
On Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention posted some guidelines for COVID-19 prevention in K-12 schools.
“Vaccination is the leading public health prevention strategy to end the COVID-19 pandemic. Promoting vaccination can help schools safely return to in-person learning as well as extracurricular activities and sports,” according to the CDC guidelines.
The CDC is recommending indoor masking to all students, staff, teachers and visitors ages 2 and older despite vaccination status.
Locally the surge in cases has led to restrictions on visitations at Cottage Health’s hospitals and Marian Regional Medical Center in Santa Maria. And Santa Barbara Humane announced an appointments-only policy for visitors to its Goleta and Santa Maria campuses.