The board of the Santa Barbara Unified School District meets at 6:30 Tuesday with a full agenda. The largest discussion point is the return to in-person learning.
Friday, during a special meeting of the board, returning board members Laura Capps and Wendy Sims-Moten took the oath of office alongside newly elected member Virginia Alvarez.
As previously decided by the board, schools will reopen for hybrid learning when Santa Barbara County reaches the red, or “substantial,” tier.
During the Dec. 1 meeting, the board did not officially take action on a waiver to open elementary schools in the purple tier, as public health officials decided just prior that they wouldn’t review applications.
Susan Klein-Rothschild, Santa Barbara County Public Health Department deputy director, will present an update on the county’s case rate.
The rate must be below 14 cases per 100,000 population for SBCPHD to review reopening waivers. The case rate as of Saturday was 14.4.
In an email to the News-Press Thursday, Superintendent Hilda Maldonado expressed that district administrators were ready to open campuses for hybrid learning.
“As soon as it is deemed safe and is permitted by county Public Health — and in consultation with our school board — Santa Barbara Unified is ready to move forward with in-person, hybrid learning, and has all appropriate plans ready to go,” she said.
According to the board presentation posted in advance of the meeting, 25% of families preferred distance learning to hybrid for the January-June semester.
In an October poll, 15% of families voted not to return for hybrid learning when responding to the question: “Are you comfortable with your student returning to campus for two days a week when
SB Unified reopens for hybrid in-person learning?”
Attendance, transfers and student success will be discussed by administrators. Fewer D and F grades are given, but more students have three or more D and Fs than last year.
“We believe that the best learning takes place in person, in a classroom environment, where teachers can make personal connections with each and every student,” Superintendent Maldonado said in an email.
Dr. John Becchio, assistant superintendent of human resources, will give a hiring update. In order to reopen for hybrid learning, more personnel are needed.
The presentation indicates that the district has filled 10 out of 20 paraprofessional positions, all the floater custodian positions, five out of 11 playground supervisor roles and 29 out of 40 substitute teacher positions.
The next meeting of the board is scheduled for Jan. 5.