The Santa Barbara Unified School District board meets at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday during a special meeting to edit the district’s plan for reopening. It will consider applying for a waiver to reopen elementary schools under the purple tier.
Previously, the board agreed to open all schools Jan. 19 for hybrid learning under the red tier. Current COVID-19 cases are increasing, and it looks unlikely the county will graduate from the purple “widespread” tier.
Dr. Peggy Dodds, a pediatrician with the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department, will present the county’s case rate and answer common questions like “What does the research tell us about young children and COVID-19?”
Dr. Lynn Fitzgibbons, an infectious disease specialist at Cottage Health, will look at the data on the Health Department’s Community Data Dashboard and discuss considerations for the district’s decisions.
Campuses have been open for small cohorts since September. During this time, cases have been recorded at the high schools.
A total of three staff members and four students have tested positive for COVID-19.
Parents will have the opportunity to change their students’ re-entry preferences Dec. 2-4. They previously identified whether they’d like their students to return to school in the hybrid plan or stay remote learners.
Board members will have to weigh the benefits of in-person, hybrid learning against the risks of returning to campus.
There are staffing concerns, as presented in previous board meetings. The district needs more paraeducators, custodians and playground attendants.
The slides on the meeting’s agenda also indicate teacher concerns regarding purple-tier reopening.
The process to get a waiver approved takes weeks, so administrators are seeking to make a contingency plan if the county won’t meet red-tier requirements in January.