During the Nov. 16 board meeting, the Santa Barbara Unified School District Board of Education was presented Covid-19 Report #31 which contains the latest data on the county’s positive covid cases within the school district. Data includes new positive covid cases, vaccinated vs. unvaccinated percentages for both staff and employees, vaccination rates broken down by ages, as well as state and national headlines for Covid-19.
Public commenters were almost entirely in opposition to the vaccination mandate, with some voicing concerns about what they called “experimenting on children.”
The Santa Barbara Unified School District has mandated that all their employees be vaccinated or face being placed on unpaid leave by Dec. 17. There is no testing option available to those who choose not to be vaccinated and the only exception is for those who are approved for either a medical or religious exemption.
As of Nov. 9, the case rate was at 9.8 per 100,000. The goal is for the case rate to reach less than 6 per 100,000. Once the numbers drop below 6 per 100,000 the indoor mask mandate can be lifted. However, the mask mandate for schools has been ordered by the state of California and not by county public health.
In the 50 and over age group, in excess of 80-85 percent have been vaccinated. In the 12-15 age group more than 40% have been fully vaccinated and more than 60% have been partially vaccinated. Out of more than 7,700 students tested, the positivity rate is at .9%.
The vaccination rates for employees are high, with 96% of employees vaccinated. Only 4 percent, or 69 individuals, remain unvaccinated. Those 69 individuals have either received approved exemptions or are under review for exemptions.
Random testing of unvaccinated students began on Nov. 8 and almost 65 percent of secondary students have consented to testing. While vaccination cards are being turned in daily, more than 50 percent of students have not yet turned in a vaccination card.